Goodbye GCSEs

It’s time to say goodbye to GCSEs, says Peter Mortimore.

The GCSE should be abandoned. So argues Peter Mortimore. It has outlived its sell by date. He gives five main reasons for this view.

Firstly, too much is expected of it. Not only does it test pupils but it is used to monitor national standards.

Secondly, the exam is widely misunderstood. Whilst it is seen as a qualification that everyone can achieve, only half actually reach the worthwhile A to Cs.

Thirdly, it discourages students who know they are not going to achieve the grades – and has done nothing to destroy the relationship between economic advantage and educational success

Fourthly, it is expensive – over £600 million a year!!.

Lastly, with 76% of pupils staying in education beyond the age of 16, and government plans to keep young people out of the labour market until they are at least 18, we no longer need a school-leaving exam.

Peter Mortimore is a former director of the Institute of Education, University of London.

Surely there must be a better way of spending £600 million a year? To put all our 15/16 year old pupils through a Maths GCSE is somewhat bizarre.

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