We don’t need GCSEs any more, says 'growing consensus’

The chaos over GCSE results this summer revealed 'how flawed our assessment system is', says Dame Alison Peacock

GCSEs 2020: Almost half of students got 'strong passes' in the three Rs

Consensus is growing over the need to scrap GCSEs and to look for an alternative, the chief executive of the Chartered College of Teaching has claimed.

Dame Alison Peacock was speaking this afternoon at the annual conference of the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT), when she said that this summer had revealed “how flawed our assessment system is”.

Highlighting ideas from the group Rethinking Assessment, which aims to radically reform the exam system, she said: “[The assessment system] has been flawed for a long time but it absolutely became clear during the summer that this was very unfair – because the way our system works means that a third of our youngsters will always fail in order that two-thirds can pass. So we need to make sure we look at this."


Opinion: Why we must scrap GCSEs: 4 ways to form a better system

Comment: Three reasons why GCSEs need to change – and three alternatives

ASCL: Why teachers need to speak up for 'the forgotten third'


Dame Alison added: “There’s a real consensus beginning to build that potentially we don’t need GCSEs any more.

Calls for reform of GCSEs

"GCSEs are high-stakes and they are no longer terminal exams. Children don’t leave school at 16 any more, so perhaps we need to look at an alternative.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said:
“Exams are the fairest way of judging a student’s performance, which is why Ofqual and the government agree they should go ahead next year.

“We are working closely with stakeholders on a comprehensive set of measures that will ensure exams can be held and students will have the best possible opportunity to do themselves justice. We will set out our plans in the coming weeks.”

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Dave Speck

Dave Speck is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Specktator100

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