New GCSEs put pupils under more pressure, say school leaders

The Guardian is reporting that students are to receive results with grades 9-1 after changes initiated by Michael Gove

The tougher standards demanded by the new style of GCSEs being awarded for the first time this year have put pupils under a great deal of additional pressure, according to school leaders.

Hundreds of thousands of pupils in England will receive their results this week, with grades from 9 to 1 replacing the familiar A* to G.

Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the “bar has deliberately been set at a higher level” as a result of changes initiated by the former education secretary Michael Gove.

“The new exams are harder, contain more content, and involve sitting more papers,” Barton said. “We are worried about the impact on the mental health and wellbeing of young people caused by these reforms and it is our view that such a substantial set of changes as this should have been introduced in a more managed and considered manner.

“It is to the credit of schools that they have responded to this situation by providing their students with extensive pastoral support in order to alleviate stress and anxiety despite severe funding pressures.”

Hailed as the most significant change in the examination system since O-levels were replaced 30 years ago, the “more demanding, more fulfilling and more stretching” exams were introduced to help the UK better compete internationally, Gove said in 2013

The fruits of that effort will be seen on Thursday when the results of 20 of the new GCSEs are published, including those in biology, history and Spanish.

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