Education and Solidarity Network

UK: Reform of the General Certificate of Secondary Education vs Well-being

Romain Chave
September 27, 2018

In the United-Kingdom, the GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education), the certificate ending secondary education in the UK, has been reformed since few years. The grading scheme of the qualification introduced in 1988, based on a scale from « A* » to « G », has been replaced in 2017 by a numerical scoring system from « 9 » to « 1 ». Hence, it has an additional highest grade, more difficult to get. Moreover, continuous monitoring, that makes possible to certify the knowledge acquired throughout the year, is tending to disappear in favour of a single final examination.

At the same time, knowledges required for each subject has been increased and requires a lot of preparation from the students done at the expense of others disciplines such as music or theatre, that participate in students personal development and well-being.Those reforms raise the need for balance in the acquisition of knowledge and the development of academic, professional and psychosocial skills which are to some extent, disregarded by the recent changes. 

According to NASUWT, ESN member, « pupils have no doubt experienced particular anxiety around this year’s GCSEs as a result of the rushed and poorly planned introduction of reforms by the Government ». Pressure on teachers increased as well as they had to ensure the academic achievement of all students. The NASUWT alerts overs the reform impact on health and well-being of pupils and teachers since the exam generates more stress. “While there is much to celebrate in today’s results, serious concerns remain about the price to the health, morale and wellbeing of teachers and young people in navigating our exam system,” said NASUWT General Secretary Chris Keates. More informations here.

 

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