Earlier this week the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, announced wide-ranging changes to the exams which young people take at the age of 16. These changes should see young people in Great Yarmouth taking exams which are more rigorous than the current system. The qualifications that they achieve will be able to compete with the best exam systems in the world. This will raise the aspirations of our students and give them skills to become employable. The new examination system has been given support by a number of employers who have long criticised the standards of our current system. This is great news for Great Yarmouth – we have some fantastic local schools who will be able to better showcase the dedication of their students and staff to the country at large.
The new English Baccalaureate Certificates (EBCs) will focus on core academic subjects. It will replace modules and coursework with a three-hour exam at the end of two years and it will replace the confusing system of multiple exam boards with one single one. This will raise the standard and prestige of the qualifications which students in Great Yarmouth take.
It is important also to stress that this new examination system will not leave less academic children behind. Any student unable to take EBCs at the age of 16 will be provided with a record of achievement which will allow them to progress further. They will also still be able to gain EBCs at the age of 17 or 18 should they choose to do so. Only high quality vocational qualifications will be included in league tables which will prevent a two-tier system from being created and students in Great Yarmouth finding they have been taking worthless qualifications.
I look forward to seeing these reforms applied to our local schools, allowing Norfolk children to compete on a global level for the best jobs in the UK and elsewhere.