26th June 2012 Blog
The reintroduction of the CSE is about the worst reform imaginable. It will divide all secondary students into sheep and goats, and write some off to a second-class education, second-class qualifications and second-class prospects. This was precisely the world I grew up in. Performance at GCSE is too low. Last year only 59% of 16-year-olds achieved five good GCSEs including English and maths. We need that figure to rise far further and faster. But the way to raise standards isn’t to consign the other four in 10 to sub-standard CSEs: it is to improve teaching and school leadership so that steadily more reach this standard. Along with virtually all teachers and educationalists, I do not believe that a C grade in GCSE English and maths should be beyond the reach of any 16-year-old unless they have certain disabling special needs. There are plenty of opportunities within and beyond GCSE for more able students to demonstrate their ability. Why reintroduce CSEs when instead the agenda should be school improvement?