Commenting on the Prime Minister’s plans for an ‘Advanced British Standard’ to replace A-levels and T-levels, Helen Osgood, Community Union’s National Officer for Education & Early Years, has questioned the viability of the proposals. She said:
“These proposals will come to nothing unless the government tackles the current teacher recruitment and retention crisis.
“It must produce a serious long-term workforce plan and make a serious investment in pay and conditions – otherwise there won’t be enough teachers to teach the current curriculum, let alone a whole new qualifications system.
“New initiatives like this have huge workload implications for already overburdened staff, potentially accelerating the exodus from teaching.
“The incentive for teachers in shortage subjects to receive £6,000 per year for the first five years of their career should have a positive impact on recruitment, but will do nothing to support retention. Around 30% of teachers leave after five years of service.
Do we need GCSEs?
“The Prime Minister should also be asking if we still need GCSEs at age 16, now that students continue in education or training until 18.
“There needs to be a much wider review of the skills and qualifications needed for the 21st century.
“GCSEs already seem increasingly past their sell-by date, especially with their academic focus which doesn’t suit all students.
“Clearly, we need to see more details of what is proposed, but this is too important to be left to politicians alone. Teachers must have a say, too.”
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