Wales Education Minister has dropped a heavy hint that Wales could establish its own examination system in the wake of the GCSE marking fiasco.
Speaking just days after he ordered the Welsh based exam board, WJEC to remark all English language papers sat in Wales over the summer; Leighton Andrews has argued that an end to the current three country system under which Northern Ireland, Wales and England all take the GCSE could be for the chop completely.
Amidst an on-going qualifications review, the Minister went on to hint at the potential for Wales to follow Scotland’s lead in establishing a completely independent exams system. He told the Western Mail:
“Secondly, I think what we have here in Wales is evidence of the regulation system working. This kind of regulatory system – which has powers within government – is not uncommon and it does allow swift action.
“I think what we could see as a result of the current situation, is potentially the end of the three-country co-operation on GCSEs.
“We will wait for the findings of the qualifications review but it may be that Wales and Northern Ireland looks at the system used in Scotland. I am open minded on qualifications in the future.
“It is evident that the UK Government has not properly adjusted to devolution and has turned the examination issue into a constitutional issue – with potentially serious consequences. It may well mean that we end up with different systems.”
Responding to criticisms levied at the Welsh Government by Education Secretary Michael Gove who this week told the Education Select Committee in Westminster that the Welsh Government’s decision to order a remark of papers amounted to a “regrettable political intervention in what should be a process free from political meddling.”
Andrews told the Western Mail:
“Firstly, I would like to remind Michael Gove that he appointed the chair of Ofqual, who is a former trustee of the New Schools Network – which is the body that promotes free schools,” he said.
“I don’t think any regulatory system is perfect and I’m always open to suggestions about the right kind of model to use but, clearly, there is a crisis of regulation of exams in England.”
Accusing Gove of “denigrating” GCSEs since he came to office, Andrews concluded:
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“I think that Michael Gove, from the moment he came into office, has adopted a process of denigrating GCSEs,” said Mr Andrews.
“On September 3, Michael Gove spoke about ‘grade inflation’ and ‘dumbing down’ – which clearly undermines the GCSE qualification and the perception of the public, parents, business and so on. The denigrating of GCSEs goes back to Michael Gove’s appointment.”