25 Aug '14

News GCSE results signal need for urgent reversal of education policy | @guardianletters

Peter Wilby is right that GCSE is no longer needed since education for all is being extended to age 18 (Report, 23 August). But beyond that, the whole structure of secondary education should be closely examined, with the dominance of academic subjects questioned and perhaps trade apprenticeships seen as worthwhile alternatives to university degrees for school leavers. The Tomlinson proposals, based on diplomas at the end of schooling, should be revisited.But who is to do this? One legacy of the Gove years should be the recognition that responsibility for change in education should never be vested in one person. A national education council should be established, financed by but independent of government, with a balanced membership of teachers leaders, MPs, academics and other prominent members of society. It should be first charged to make recommendations on the restructuring of secondary education and to present these to parliament, via the secretary of state. The recent careful thought on the potential future for education expressed in the writings of academics like Peter Mortimore, Richard Pring, Chris Husbands, Michael Fielding, Frank Coffield, John Bangs and others, with the insights of the teacher unions and associations should underpin the thinking of such a council. Its second task should be to monitor such changes over the coming years and report to parliament, say every two years, on progress.Professor Michael BasseyAuthor of Education for the Inevitable Continue reading...

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