Dagenham headteachers’ mixed views over GCSE shake-up

PUBLISHED: 16:58 19 September 2012

Headteacher Valerie Dennis

Headteacher Valerie Dennis


A planned GCSE shake up, which will mean a single end-of-course exam and fewer top grades, has received a mixed response by Barking and Dagenham heads.

The reforms, announced by the government on Monday, will see modular exams scrapped in 2017 in favour of O-level style linear exams – to be called the English Bacculaureate Certificate.

It is to be made more difficult to get the highest grade and each subject will be set by a single exam board to avoid boards competing to offer the easiest examinations.

Roger Leighton, head of Sydney Russell School, Dagenham, said he backed the reforms, but added: “They want to make it harder to get high grades but its important that they don’t have a limit on the number of pupils who can get these grades.

“Also it’s vital that there is a cross party agreement that they will leave the changes in place for at least 15 years so schools don’t have to adjust again.”

Head of Eastbrook School, Dagenham, Valerie Dennis, said there were aspects she was concerned about. “For everything to fall on an end-of-course exam can be tough, especially for a pupil who struggles with exams.

“I’m also worried we’re looking backwards to the 1950s, instead of forwards.”

However I do agree with using a single exam board for each subject.”

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