East Hampshire MP in new qualifications call

MP Damian Hinds
MP Damian Hinds
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AN MP has called for a school qualification ‘fit for the future’.

East Hampshire Tory MP Damian Hinds, a member of the House of Commons Education Select Committee, was speaking as the government appeared to back away from replacing GCSEs with a two-tier exam system that separates the brightest pupils from the less academic at 14.

He said: ‘Increasingly, there is a recognition there are two tiers now – first in the sense of the 40 per cent of youngsters who are left behind, and you could even argue there is a third tier in terms of those young people put onto other qualifications which have so little value to them in later life.

‘But even in the purest sense, even within a GCSE, within a single subject, there are these two tiers of the foundation level and the higher level.

‘In many ways it is the best-kept secret in education.

‘I keep talking to parents of 14 and 15-year-old pupils who are not aware of this distinction.

‘But in many ways, O-levels and CSEs never went away – they just got rebranded, but they got rebranded into the same one thing.

‘What we must do is build a qualification system that is fit for the future, which reflects the new reality that the participation age is 18 not 16, and making sure all young people can reach their potential at 15/16, but also that if they have not done that, particularly in key subjects like English and maths, they go on to do that at 16 to 18 and beyond.’