GCSEs, Margaret Thatcher and Michael Gove

Education, Economy and Society

Margaret_Thatcher_1981The recent publication of official papers from the 1980s provides further context to the introduction of GCSEs. http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/dec/30/national-archives-revelations-released-documents

The new common exam, reflected the growth of comprehensive schools, many being given the go ahead by Thatcher herself,  while  a dual system of CSE and GCE O-level examinations, the former  still acting primarily as a ‘leaving’ certificate for ‘non-academic’ young people was also becoming increasingly inappropriate, as staying on rates continued to  increase. In addition many schools were able to ensure that their students were being awarded CSE grade 1 (O-level equivalent).  Despite this however, the papers report Prime Minister Thatcher’s concern that GCSE would result in too high levels of exam success, reflecting  the extent to which  New Right thinking  was already starting to sweep   through the education  system.

GCSE, possibly because it was so new, was able to survive the Education Reform Act, although tiering was quickly introduced. …

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About gwenelope

English and Media Studies teacher in the wilds of Coventry, about to start my tenth year, which in itself is frankly terrifying. In the small pockets of free time I have have been known to do things like Tough Guy, circuit classes and swim often, very often. It is what keeps sanity near and insanity at bay.
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