NASUWT comments on GCSE gradings consultation

Commenting on the consultation launched today by Ofqual on GCSE grading, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Schools, parents and pupils are being thrown into further confusion over yet more reform to the qualifications system.

“These changes are being driven by political imperative, rather than the needs of young people. They are based on ideology rather than evidence.

“The Government has failed to take account of the views of teachers, school leaders and other key stakeholders and has failed to undertake any meaningful piloting and trialling of what are major reforms to the qualifications system.

“The Government has consistently sought to portray GCSEs as ‘broken’ and ‘dumbed down’ qualifications in order to push through its vision of an elitist, narrowly focused curriculum and qualifications system which risks failing to meet the needs of the majority of young people.

“The move to align GCSE gradings to PISA ignores the fact that the two systems are designed for very different purposes. This is yet another example of the Coalition Government playing fast and loose with international data for political purposes.

“To use the DfE's flawed assertions about the performance of pupils in China compared to those in England as the basis for establishing grade boundaries is highly irresponsible and will place at risk the fitness for purpose of the qualifications system in this country. England is already in the top 20 highest performing countries in the world-a fact which this Coalition Government chooses to bury.

“These reforms will exacerbate the destructive impact which performance league tables and accountability measures are having on children’s education. It will encourage even more ‘gaming’ in the system and teaching to the test and will narrow young people’s options and educational opportunities.

“Schools already buckling from excessive workload are now facing even more bureaucratic reform.

“It is most disappointing that Ofqual, instead of challenging the inappropriateness of the Coalition Government's qualification reforms, is allowing this irrational and poorly thought through agenda to proceed unchecked.”

Lena Davies
Press and Media Officer
0121 457 6250 / 07867 392746