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government backs down over E-Bacs

7 February 2013

The government has scrapped its controversial plans to phase out GCSEs in core subjects and replace them with a new qualification, the English Baccalaureate Certificate.

The policy has been heavily criticised by teaching unions, the exam regulator and, most recently, by a committee of MPs. Plans to replace the system of multiple exam boards with a single administrator for each subject have also been shelved, with ministers fearing the proposals would fall foul of EU procurement laws.

While many will accuse Michael Gove of performing an embarrassing U-turn, the truth is that the government is still planning to press ahead with key elements of its original plan, including scrapping coursework and introducing new league tables (measuring value added across a range of 8 GCSEs). The government has taken a bold decision to rethink its flagship policy; perhaps it should not be castigated for listening to the concerns of stakeholders.

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