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GCSEs to be replaced by EBacc – Part One

In the last few weeks, a huge shakeup of the secondary education system has been announced. Michael Gove, Education Secretary, announced that GSCEs will be scrapped and a new English Baccalaureate qualification will be introduced from 2017.

The EBacc is seen as more academically rigorous and is being introduced as a way to regain confidence in our qualifications. There have been calls for a number of years to improve standards at GCSE because students going onto A Levels and University struggle to cope. GCSEs have become known as ‘easy’ exams with lots of coursework and modules which allow multiple resits, the changes will see a return to a linear approach with one set of exams at the end instead of modules. Here at 121 Home Tutors we agree that things need to change – qualifications obtained by 16 year olds need to be valued by employers and the students given credit for having worked hard to achieve a qualification.

We welcome the changes but we also understand parents confusion about what happens next.

GCSEs will not be stopped immediately – they will be phased out and the EBaccs slowly phased in (as any new syllabus is) – you can read more about this here.

From a teaching and tutoring point of view, we are very used to education systems changing (although you might not be aware of it). Syllabuses change regularly, usually every 5 years or so and we have seen a slow move back towards end of year exams over the last few years so most teachers and tutors were aware of the changes coming. All of our tutors are used to working with multiple syllabuses and with students from both independent and state schools. What this all means is that teachers and tutors are highly adaptable and will be able to help your child through and transition from GCSE to EBacc.

From your child’s point of view, because of the background work teachers and tutors will be doing, they won’t notice much of a change – probably the only significant change will be less resits and more end of year exams, which might mean more support is needed around preparing for and sitting exams. However, the students won’t be aware of the change as they will only have ever known one system.

This year’s GCSE students are already allowed fewer resits (there are a set number allowed rather than endless resits). Most of the exams for qualifications have to be in one sitting, even when there is a modular approach to a subject.  Over the next few years we are likely to see a decrease in pass rates as modules and the ability to resit them decrease. Part Two to follow next week.

If you would like to discuss tutoring for GCSEs or EBacc in Manchester or Cheshire (Didsbury, Sale, Trafford) then contact us today.


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