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MP slams 'reckless' education changes

By Kate Pickles, Town Reporter Thursday 20th September 2012
Barnsley central MP Dan Jarvis

Changes to education which will see GCSEs scrapped for a different examination system have been slammed as 'reckless' by a Barnsley MP.


Dan Jarvis has written an open letter to Michael Gove criticising the GCSE English grading controversy and the secretary of state's proposed changes to the examination system in 2015.


He said the changes would damage the future prospects and achievements of children, taking education back to the 1980s.


"We need a rigorous system that encourages all pupils to achieve their full potential," he said.

"To restrict testing to only a three-hour final examination will have serious consequences and puts at risk the opportunities and attainment of thousands of children.


"The reality is, not all students perform well under the pressure of a formal examination, but many can and do achieve high grades when they have the option of coursework or continual assessment."


He said students in Barnsley, who had been affected by the downgrading of English exams, had been failed.


"This year, in Barnsley, over 45 per cent of students achieved 5 A*-C's, including English and Maths but a further 7.7 per cent of pupils achieved 5 A* to C including Maths with a D in English.


"Many of these pupils were expected to pass and now some may face an uncertain future, with college places at risk and apprenticeship offers being withdrawn. It is just wrong."


He has called on Michael Gove to release funding to ensure the financial levy for re-sitting the exam does not fall on the Local Education Authority, schools or parents and joined calls for a cross-party inquiry into the issue.

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