We welcome the announcement today by the Secretary of State for Education concerning the reform of qualifications at 16. It is clear that the government’s own consultation regarding examination reform showed broad consensus, accepting the need for reform yet rejecting the initial proposals for that reform. That the Secretary of State proposes to reform exams ‘with the help of school and university leaders’ is particularly welcome. Working closely with education professionals will help ensure that any reform will enjoy the widest possible support and confidence.
We are, however, disappointed that Religious Education remains effectively relegated to outside the ‘core’ under these proposals when it is at the very heart of the curriculum in every one of our more than 2000 schools in England. GCSE RE is a valuable and worthwhile subject, but it could be better, and we hope to be able to work with Ofqual and Examination Boards to ensure that it becomes so.
It remains to be seen, of course, how examination reform will now proceed. We are therefore unable to comment further until the detail becomes clear.
Further information of the reforms can be found on the Department for Education’s website (www.education.gov.uk)