The Education Secretary Michael Gove has announced a radical plan to scrap all exams and learning in state schools and return to a two-tier system where only children with rich parents receive an education while poor ones don’t have any qualifications and can’t read or write at all.
Poor pupils across England will sit GCSEs for the last time in English, maths, physics, chemistry and biology in 2015, paving the way for more traditional core subjects such as how to operate a mayonnaise dispenser and arrange lettuce on a bun.
The education secretary has already scrapped the modular element of GCSEs and his education white paper last November signalled a major reform of the exams introduced by the Conservatives a quarter of a century ago which failed to make provision for the lack of shelf stacking skills in state schools.
In a statement to the House of Commons, Gove said:
It’s important that we have realistic expectations when it comes to exams. What’s the point of having qualifications and being educated if there aren’t any decent jobs? GCSEs or whatever aren’t much use if all you’re going to do is end up sorting buns in Macdonalds or stacking tins of peas in Tesco, are they?
But the decision to scrap GCSEs altogether and to revive CSEs (Certificate of Subordinate Education) for those unable to afford private schooling will be seen as one of the government’s boldest reforms.
The move was signalled in an internal education department document leaked to the Daily Mail. The document outlines the thinking behind the government’s plans:
We expect that competition for decent jobs against our own kids from the brighter poorer kids will disappear completely by 2015. Those plebs starting GCSEs in 2013 are the last pupils who will have to do them – thereby creating a massive pool of uneducated people willing to work for a pittance.
It is understood that there are two broad elements to the reforms: the national curriculum – which sets out what secondary school pupils should be taught – will be scrapped; and a more rigorous system of not teaching anything at all to non fee-paying state school pupils is to be introduced.
Gove believes it is important to extend to all schools the freedom to rip off parents enjoyed by academies and free schools, which account for half of schools in England.
Gove believes that the twin reforms will also hand freedom to state school teachers – because it will make most of them redundant.
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