Departing Labour MP, Tristram Hunt, has called on the leader of the Labour Party to support scrapping GCSEs. The former shadow education secretary implored Jeremy Corbyn to support academic and technical baccalaureates as an alternative qualification, the TES reports.
Hunt, who is standing down from his parliamentary seat for Stoke-on-Trent Central, used his resignation to support scrapping GCSEs, and asked Corbyn to do the same, writing:
“I would still urge you to adopt a programme of abolishing GCSEs; introduce academic and technical baccalaureates; offer universal, high-quality early-years provision; and invest in effective apprenticeships.”
Mr. Hunt has been a long-time supporter of scrapping GCSEs, going beyond the official position set out in the Labour Party’s 2015 election manifesto, when he was shadow education secretary.
Hunt has openly criticised GCSEs, saying that they were becoming increasingly irrelevant, given that most pupils now leave school at 18, instead of 16.
During the time of the 2015 general election, he told Radio 4’s 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.”
Instead, he argued for academic and vocational baccalaureates, saying:
“That would remove some of the exam overload.”
In his resignation, Hunt added:
“I also believe the programme which myself, Kevin Brennan and the Shadow Education Team developed for the 2015 General Election was radical and right. Visiting schools and colleges in Stoke and across the country, meeting with teachers and parents and students, allowed me to see the remarkable commitment of English school leaders to their mission as educationalists. But also it highlighted the harrowing effects of poverty and inequality upon social mobility. These experiences will continue to drive me in my new position.”