NUT: Gove school reforms are about politics, not education

Commenting on today’s GCSE results, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, Europe’s largest teaching union, said:

“Pupils, parents, carers and teachers should be very proud of today’s results. They are evidence of the sheer hard work and commitment that has been put in over the past two years.

“Shifting the goal posts for grades in particular the C/D boundary has had a huge impact on individual students and the future of schools. It is not only very unsettling but also extremely irresponsible. These are arbitrary changes which in no way reflect the work of students and teachers and are clearly unfair.

“Raising the GCSE A* – C bench mark from 35 – 40% is a move that has more to do with politics than with education. Michael Gove is well aware that the majority of schools have no desire to be separated from their local authorities, and handed over to unaccountable, unelected sponsors. If classified as ‘failing’, they will of course be more threatened with academy conversion.

“This combined with the changes to grade boundaries mean that many schools will be facing a double whammy from an Education Secretary who appears to be more concerned about pushing through his ideological agenda for education than what is actually fair for everyone.

“Some of today’s students face more hurdles than previously. Coalition Government policies such as cutting the Education Maintenance Allowance and raising tuition fees ensures that continuing in education or training is just not financially feasible for many students. We need to return to a position where those with suitable qualifications can go on past GCSEs regardless of their background. These are the changes that will make a difference to pupils not Government fiddling from the side lines with examinations”.

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