Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Gove attacked over exam reforms

Education Secretary Michael Gove has been criticised over proposed changes to the exam system

Wales's Education Minister and his Northern Irish counterpart have criticised UK Education Secretary Michael Gove about changes to the exam system.

Leighton Andrews and John O'Dowd said they were disappointed at not being consulted before the UK Government announced it was considering scrapping GCSEs.

The controversial proposal emerged last month - with claims the UK Government was in favour of returning to an O-level format.

GCSEs are sat by teenagers in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. Scotland has its own qualifications system.

Mr Andrews and Mr O'Dowd have since written to the Education Secretary about the matter - saying it was important there was better communication between the three administrations before announcements on proposed changes to jointly-owned qualifications were made.

"Earlier involvement with us, or our officials, in the policy development process would reduce the risk of misunderstanding," they wrote.

"We believe it would serve our learners far better if we were to be aware of and sufficiently prepared for announcements, which may impact on learners across the three administrations."

Previously, the Welsh Government said it was surprised about the changes and has since launched its own review into qualifications.

The Department for Education said it was up to the Welsh and Northern Irish administrations to decide how best to run their education systems

"And down to us to do what is best for English students," a department spokesman said.

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