Monday, 8 October 2012

Slow down Mr Gove

The HMC annual conference took place in Belfast last week and proved to be an enjoyable and interesting experience.  There is a lot of debate currently around the quality of exam marking (see my previous post on the HMC report) and also about the importance of reforming the exam system so that it is 'fit for purpose'.  I have written previously on my desire to see increased engagement between government and schools and concerns about this were raised by two prominent speakers at the conference.

The first was Graham Stuart MP, Chair of the Commons Education Committee, who made a speech in which he attacked Michael Gove's proposals as 'incoherent' and risking disaster by pressing ahead too fast and ignoring legitimate concerns.  Further details can be found on The Independent website.

A similar point of view was put forward by Glenys Stacey, Chief Executive of Ofqual which is the official regulator of exams in the UK.  Her comments can be found alongside those of Mr Stuart on the BBC website.

There is no doubt that much can be improved in our exam system but also that there are grave risks in the pace with which Mr Gove is rushing into the process.  I find myself agreeing with those who have noticed a correlation between the proposed start date for the new exams (September 2015) and the date of the next election (May 2015).  It may well be that Mr Gove's desire to impose a legacy on pupils of the future is being put ahead of the benefits of wider consultation and a more thoughtful approach.