Head teachers' fears over plan to bring back O-levels
HEAD teachers in North East Lincolnshire claim 'more stability' is needed within the education system amid the row over controversial proposals to bring back the rigorous O-levels.
In what would be described as "the most radical shake-up in school exams in 30 years", leaked government documents propose scrapping the current GCSE system and bringing back O-levels.
But some head teachers in the borough believe there have been too many changes and reforms in recent years and that "stability" is what is really needed.
There are also fears that if the O-levels were to come back, it could be detrimental to young people, who would be divided depending on their ability.
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As was the old system, brighter students would take the O-level while less intelligent pupils would sit simpler exams, similar to the old CSEs.
Head teacher of Grimsby's St James' School, Sue Isaac, called for more time for teachers to get used to a new system before it gets changed again.
She said: "What is really vital is a bit more stability in education. It is not allowing teachers to settle into a particular exam and embrace what that exam is trying to achieve.
"It all depends on what these plans mean. It could just be GCSEs under a different name. It does not make a difference what they are called, all they need to look at is the standard of the examination."
The documents were drawn up by Education Secretary Michael Gove and leaked to the Daily Mail.
It details how from September 2014 pupils will begin studying "explicitly harder" exams in core subjects.
Mr Gove will announce plans formally in the next two weeks and a 12-week public consultation will run in the autumn for it to be implemented next year.
The principal of Oasis Academy Wintringham, Jane Bowman, said their are "serious implications" about the impact it will have on students who struggle academically.
She said: "We have a government that said we were allowed to reduce change and reform who now want to change everything. This will take us back 20 years, I never thought we would go this far.
"It will result in a two-tier education system when we are trying to move towards a more equalised way of doing things.
"With everything, there is always room for improvement but you don't have to completely, radically change things to improve. What needs to be done is to improve the GCSEs rather than throwing them away."
The head master of Caistor Grammar School, Roger Hale, pictured, urged the rate of the reform to slow down.
He said: "The thing I am most concerned about is that it already has a timescale. I am not saying reform is wrong but it must not be rushed and the students should be involved all the way through. They only have one crack at the whip and we need to get it right first time for them."
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