Shake-up must look beyond school walls

4th February 2011 at 00:00

One of the most obvious features of the so-called EBac is its strong family similarity to the old School Certificate that dominated secondary education from 1900 to the early 1950s.

It would be useful to remember why that was abolished and replaced with the system of Ordinary and Advanced Level GCEs that, in essence, lives on today. The subjects of the School Certificate had a required structure (English, maths, etc) and had to be taken and passed all at the same time. Also, they had to be done in a "proper" secondary school at the age of 16. But by the early 1950s there was a desire to see partial success recognised, even in a single subject, and this became available with the GCE system.

A measure of success that excludes most people from achieving "success" has to be treated with some circumspection. No one teaching today went through the School Certificate system as such and we may therefore have forgotten the flexible advantages of the GCSEGCE system for recognising and encouraging success in learning.

Russ Russell, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.

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