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Leighton Andrews rules out returning to O-level exams

Category: Wales

Published: 21st Jun 2012 10:13:18

Education Minister Leighton Andrews has said Wales will not return to O-levels after reports changes were being planned in England.

UK Education Secretary Michael Gove is considering scrapping GCSEs and returning to O-level style exams.

"I think it's a bonkers way of proceeding," Mr Andrews told BBC Wales. "GCSEs are a very good qualification and well respected".

A Welsh government review of the qualification system is underway.

Sources have told the BBC that Mr Gove believes GCSEs "have gone beyond the point of rescue".

In an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, Mr Andrews added: "We certainly won't be bringing back O-levels.

"What we want is a qualification system that is easily understood by parents, students and people in business.

We will make our own decisions in our own time on the basis of evidence supplied to us”

"I really think the right way to do these things is to review them rigorously and not to make announcements in order to capture newspaper headlines."

The changes being considered by Mr Gove, which could be brought in for pupils from autumn 2014, would amount to the biggest change to the exams system for a generation.

Less academic pupils would sit a different "more straightforward" exam, like the old CSE.

The details are in a leaked document seen by the Daily Mail which sources say are broadly correct.

Mr Andrews said making announcements through newspapers was a "bonkers way of proceeding".

He said Mr Gove does not have the power to make decisions about qualifications in Wales, adding that the Welsh government owns the GCSE brand.

"We will make our own decisions in our own time on the basis of evidence supplied to us," Mr Andrews said.

A review commissioned by the Welsh government is asking whether major changes should be made to the qualifications system for teenagers.

It is consulting on whether completely new qualifications for 14 to 16-year-olds should replace GCSEs or whether Wales should follow what happens in England.

It is also looking at a significant cut to the number of qualifications on offer. At the moment, about 6,500 are taught in schools and colleges out of a potential 11,400.

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BBC News, 2012. Leighton Andrews rules out returning to O-level exams [Online] (Updated 21st Jun 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1436012/Leighton-Andrews-rules-out-returning-to-O-level-exams [Accessed 17th Apr 2014]

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