Nearly every year it seems that amendments are made to this country’s education system.
In 2016, new performance measures were introduced focusing on pupil progress and the following year, students began to be awarded GCSE results according to a new grading structure, both as part of Government secondary school reforms.
Now, the chairman of the Education Select Committee, MP Robert Halfon, says another radical overhaul is needed and is advocating for GCSEs to be scrapped altogether and replaced with a baccalaureate that recognises academic ability as well as technical, creative and digital skills that he says employers are looking for.
It is not surprising that there are many differing opinions on the topic of how best to educate this country’s young people, nor that the matter is subject to scrutiny, for a learning system that nurtures and supports both students and staff is vital. But teachers are repeatedly being asked to shift the goalposts and redefine what they are doing, undoubtedly putting extra pressure on an already stretched profession which is facing challenges with recruitment and retention.
Not only is such frequent reinventing of the wheel unhelpful for educators – not least in terms of preparation and resources –it is sure to be unsettling for young people trying to learn and achieve too.
An approach that includes a strong measure of academic excellence alongside quality skills based learning, to equip a future workforce across all sectors, is needed, but most importantly, it must be a system with longevity to avoid unnecessary instability.