Today Michael Gove will announce new GCSE targets for schools who under new Government proposals are deemed to be failing their pupils. In a speech that will try to restore the Government's position on public sector reform, he will say that by 2015 he expects every secondary school in England to be achieving the current national average of at least 50% of pupils achieving five A*-C grades at GCSE, including English and maths.
The Education Secretary has announced that educational improvement must be stepped up or the United Kingdom will fall well below the standards of Asia. Under new proposals, schools will be deemed to be under performing unless 50 per cent of pupils gain five A*-C grades. Those who fail will be undertaken by a successful school that will look to help increase standards of the underperforming institution.
For too long the United Kingdom has claimed a world class system of education but in reality the system has been failing the pupils. A change to the educational system must be at the heart of reforms as Britain looks to cope with the skills transformation in the far-east.
The GCSE system as it stands in the United Kingdom is out-dated and not fit for purpose. The system does not encourage children to learn but only to pass exams. For example, the Governments absurd proposal for pupils to take a two year history GCSE in one year (as an experiment) in some academies is outrageous. It shows that the government isn't interested in a well-rounded pupil, just a pupil who can pass English, maths and science
How can the Government maintain that the GCSE system has a place in modern education in the United Kingdom? If Michael Gove and the coalition Government are truly interested in reform rather than blaming schools they would reform the whole GCSE system - replacing it with a wide ranging and extremely beneficial International Bachelorette system.
The IB system may be used primarily as a replacement for A-Levels in public schools but it is not limited to such an age group. The IB is designed for children from 3-19, across the whole years of education. It is an educational standard which encourages the pupil to learn not simply to pass an exam. There is no benefit to pupils if they are just bred to pass exams. The system does not stifle creativity; it allows pupils to specialise and to become individual learners.
The spoon-feeding culture in English schools has to stop and pupils need to be responsible for their own learning. An IB style replacement should be all encompassing but at the same time allow a child to specialise in what they are good at. Making young adults sit 13-18 GCSE's in the space of two months is the reason for these damning school results.
If Michael Gove and the coalition truly believe in reform of the schooling system they have to lack of doing away with the GCSE system. Schools are changing and the education standard has to change with them. The IB system is a world programme but for some reason the United Kingdom has been reluctant in the public sector to adopt it. The percentage of pupils who use the system in both the United States and Asia is significantly higher and there is no surprise that their standard of education superior to the United Kingdom. If the reform agenda is to put pupils first and not simply take the easy road out by criticising schools, the government must seriously consider a change to the GCSE system.