GCSE reform: “It is unlikely that the Minister’s decision on this issue would stop the current position…”

In June this year the UK Government’s Education Secretary, Michael Gove, welcomed Ofqual’s proposals for making changes for GCSE courses and, on 27 September, a consultation was launched on changes to the current GCSE specifications in England

Today the Northern Ireland Education Minister, Sinn Féin’s John O’Dowd, launched a consultation on on making the same changes to current GCSE specifications here.  In England the consultation ends on 4 November, here it continues until 30 December.

According to the Northern Ireland consultation document [pdf file]

It is unlikely that the Minister’s decision on this issue would stop the current position whereby English (and Welsh) awarding organisations offer GCSEs here. The main implications will be for the local awarding body and, depending on the direction taken by the DE Minister, CCEA will have to review the nature of the GCSEs it offers.


As the NI consultation document also notes

England, Wales and the north of Ireland operate a 3-country qualifications system – we have the same qualifications and the regulators work together to ensure there are common standards across all 3 jurisdictions. This means pupils taking exams here can have their qualifications easily recognised and understood by universities and employers if they wish to go to study or work in England, Wales or the south of Ireland, and vice-versa.

To be consistent shouldn’t that last line read ‘England, Wales or the north of Ireland’?

[Or even Northern Ireland? – Ed]  That might have avoided the error completely…

ANYhoo…  In Wales, on 29 September, two days after the launch of the English consultation, they apparently announced “a wide ranging review of all qualifications for 14 to 19-year-olds in Wales”.  And that seems to have been the only response to date there.

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