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Minehead college head: exam changes would 'let teachers teach'
THE new principal of West Somerset Community College has said a shake-up of the exam system could free up more time for ‘teachers to teach’.
Education secretary Michael Gove wants the English Baccalaureate Certificate to replace GCSEs in 2017.
If the plans go ahead, coursework will give way to end of course exams in what has been described as the biggest overhaul of the exams system in a generation.
Gaynor Comber, who has been at the helm of WSCC for just under four weeks, feels the EBacc will provide an opportunity for many but also that it is vital to maintain a broad curriculum including vocational training to suit different students.
Mrs Comber said: “We have had GCSEs for 24 years now and a review is certainly due. The exams system may need to evolve to keep up with the rapid change in educational practice.
“Having a single end of course exam rather than a series of coursework modules will provide greater freedom for teachers to teach and spend less time focusing on exam preparation, which will improve the experience for students.
“The one concern we hold is that students are placed under increasing pressure to achieve and the prospect of sitting ten or more final exams over two or three weeks can be extremely daunting.
“However, given the courses we follow, many subjects already hold a final exam, so the change for WSCC may not be as significant as for some schools.”
Students potentially may be able to delay taking the EBacc exams if they or their teachers feel they need extra time.
Mrs Comber said this would improve the chances of many young people: “Students develop at different rates and it makes sense for them to be able to gain qualifications when they are ready.
“The aim of any examination system ought to be to enable equal opportunities for students and to remain in touch with the modern world.
“We welcome and will support any government’s plans that meet these aims.”