Unintended consequences

September 5, 2013

There are three unspoken consequences of Michael Gove’s A-level reforms (“Remaking the grades”, 15 August).

Parity of status between the qualifications and technical courses may exist in politicians’ minds and in brownie league points, but what about the reality? I am reminded of a headmaster personally commended by Tony Blair for turning around a failing school. All the students who could not get English or maths GCSEs were put on a GNVQ in leisure and tourism that was examined entirely on coursework completed in class with the help of teachers. The NVQ counted as two GCSEs, so the exams had the same “status” by decree.

Second, the reduction in resits will hinder those who suffer problems on exam day. Some inevitably suffer bereavement or fall ill.

Finally, if students cannot churn through in memorable cram-sized modules and are required to use their learning rather than repeating it, the pass rate may suffer dramatically. Will there be enough ABBs to go around?

Hugh Fletcher
Belfast

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