Tristram Hunt: Labour should ditch GCSEs

The TES is reporting that Tristram Hunt has said Labour should be prepared to ditch GCSEs in a radical overhaul of the secondary school system…

Mr Hunt said the exam was becoming increasingly irrelevant at a time when falling numbers of pupils are leaving school at 16…

“We have GCSEs, but we are no longer leaving school at 16. We have got a rising participation age to 18,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

“In a decade’s time, if we have still got GCSEs in England, in Britain, we will be completely out of kilter with other European countries and not giving young people what they need.

“I think we need both academic and vocational baccalaureates so young people begin to choose about their pathways – whether those are technical, vocational pathways or academic pathways – at the age of 14.

“That would remove some of the exam overload…”

More at: Tristram Hunt: Labour should ditch GCSEs


In fairness to Tristram Hunt, he has I think been beating this drum for a while now.

What do you think? Do we need to bite the bullet and fundamentally re-think the secondary system, perhaps ditching GCSEs in the process?

If so, why and how would you restructure things? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…


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Categories: Policy and Secondary.


  1. If Tristram’s been banging the drum for ditching exams at 16+, the drum beats have been muted.  That said, he’s right that the emphasis on 16+ exams, particularly when there are so many and they’re used to judge schools, is out-of-step with most of the developed world which has graduation at 18.

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