Portsmouth headteacher says GCSEs should not be for all

Mike Smith
Mike Smith

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PLANS to force students without good GCSEs in English and maths to study those subjects until they are 18 is deeply flawed, says Portsmouth’s leading headteacher.

Mike Smith, chairman of Portsmouth secondary heads, was reflecting on the government’s response to the Wolf vocational education review.

He warned such action would result in youngsters with no hope of gaining a grade C or above playing truant and being disruptive in class.

He said: ‘I don’t understand this general acceptance that the GCSE is the basic qualification.

‘In my day the GCSE equivalent (O-levels) was reserved for the top 25 per cent of the population who passed their 11-pluses and got into grammar schools.

‘The rest sat something called a CSE which was much easier, but that certainly did not penalise them in their adult lives.’

Mr Smith called proposals to let college tutors teach in schools dangerous because they were ill-equipped to deal with difficult students.

But he backed recommendations to scrap vocational courses used by schools to boost their standing in league tables.