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New exams won’t value our children’s efforts – Alex MP

Government proposals to scrap GCSEs and introduce a new examination will do nothing to drive up standards in schools and give young people a fair result for all their hard work, according to Stockton North Labour MP Alex Cunningham.

A member of the Education Select Committee, Alex said the new examinations will mean that coursework will be disregarded and young people will have to depend on one three hour examination on one day after two years of study to gain their qualification.

Alex said: 

“Our young people deserve their hard work to be properly recognised – I have seen no evidence that recognising coursework somehow devalues a qualification. We need a system that has rigorous exams, but also rigorous coursework and assessment, testing the kind of skills needed in the modern economy, like communication skills, practical skills and longer written assignments.

“It will be some time before we know exactly how the Government expect the new system to work and what support they will make sure our teachers and young people get to prepare so we must scrutinise very carefully what the Secretary of State is up to.

Alex did however welcome the idea, promoted by the Select Committee, of an end to different companies competing to sell their examinations to schools:

“I was however surprised to hear the Secretary of State speak of such organisations engaging with teachers in a ‘corrupt effort to massage up pass rates’.

“I think we need to recognise the hard work of our students, the improvement in teaching over many years as more and more resources were poured into schools, and the importance of building our young people up rather than devaluing what they have achieved.

“I agree with teachers that Michael Gove would have been better off putting his time into sorting out the fiasco in the English exams this year which saw children with the same marks given different grades in January and June.”