Commenting on Michael Gove’s statement on plans to reform the primary and secondary curriculum in England’s schools, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“There would appear to be some inconsistencies and contradictions in Michael Gove’s statement on the curriculum.
“The NUT wants all children to succeed at school and for there to be an examination system that recognises the talents of all children. Confining assessment to linear examinations in GCSEs will not achieve this. While there is a need to ensure that course work is done appropriately it should not be removed altogether. It needs to be remembered that university courses involve regular assessment, not just one set of exams at the end of a course which you either fail or pass in one sitting.
“Michael Gove quite rightly highlighted the problems with league tables such as teaching to the test in a narrow range of subjects and concentrating on the C/D borderline pupils. If the new measures to look at pupils progress are truly about valuing the achievements that a pupil makes throughout their school career then that would be welcomed. However, if the old measures remain in place the very problems Michael Gove spoke of will remain and will be the crude measure by which schools are judged.
“While Michael Gove has conceded the fact that he was wrong about the English Baccalaureate Certificates the NUT will remain vigilant that he does not reintroduce elements through the new look curriculum.
“The lesson surely for Michael Gove is to listen and consult in a meaningful fashion on the national curriculum. Failure to do so will result in the nonsense that has just happened with GCSEs being lambasted as not fit for purpose one minute, and in the next proposed as the way forward.
“There is a completely logical order for reforming the examination system which is curriculum then assessment then accountability. The lesson from which the Secretary of State needs to learn is that he does not have a monopoly of wisdom. Engagement with the profession is central to the implementation of a curriculum which is really for all. The NUT is ready to provide the critique needed to ensure that this happens.”
For further information contact Caroline Cowie on 0207 380 4706/ 07879480061