Ahead of the publication of GCSE results tomorrow, the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, is warning the Government that the rushed and incoherent manner in which it has introduced the forthcoming reforms to the GCSE system must never be repeated.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“Tomorrow’s results mark the last year in England in which all GCSE results are graded using the letter-based system, with the introduction from September of numerical grades.

“This apparently minor change masks the most substantial reform in a quarter of a century to the key general qualification offered to learners in England. The content and structure of the new GCSEs are very different from those they are replacing.

“Whatever view is taken of the new GCSEs, it is clear that their implementation has been rushed, poorly thought through and undertaken without meaningful consultation with the teaching profession. The late release of exam specifications and other key information about the new GCSEs has created excessive and wholly avoidable burdens on already overstretched teachers and school leaders.

“The rationale for these reforms has never reflected the evidence about the effectiveness of existing GCSEs and has been characterised by unsubstantiated and misleading assertions that these qualifications had been increasingly dumbed down over time.

“Despite all these shortcomings in way in which GCSEs have been reformed, teachers and school leaders have continued, as ever, to ensure that pupils receive high quality learning experiences and can secure the best possible chance of exam success tomorrow.

“However, the central lesson that future governments must learn from the experience of these reforms is that never again should such substantial changes to qualifications that are critical to the life chances of young people be handled in such an incoherent and ill-considered way.”

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