Gove is on the march again, sorting out GCSEs – modular ones and “soft” ones (if they count for five A – C purposes) have had his attention, now it’s exams which allow students to succeed when they don’t cover the full syllabus (History, Geography, Maths and English Literature). Central to his concerns, it seems, is English Literature, with the dreadful circularity of a very high proportion of young people studying only a selection of To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, and Lord of the Flies. The independent sector has long been sceptical of the rigour of homegrown GCSEs, turning, as we have, increasingly to the tougher IGCSEs. With us, it was clear back in 2004 that the government was turning away from seeing GCSEs as a significant test – so the time was ripe for the creation of our own BAC courses, which aimed from the start to have the depth and stretch that GCSEs lack. Gove is doing the right thing, but there is a lot of ground to make up.
By Keith Budge, Headmaster, Bedales Schools
Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music school. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.