Education Secretary, Michael Gove has been forced by MPs to scrap his flag-ship policy to replace GCSEs with a European-style English Baccalaureate certificate (EBC).

Education groups, including the teaching unions and the examinations regulator Ofqual have been campaigning against Gove’s reforms that are considered to be ideologically driven, rushed and unworkable.

Glenys Stacey, head of examinations watchdog Ofqual diplomatically warned Gove in November that his plans to swap GCSEs for the English Baccalaureate "may exceed what is realistically achievable through a single assessment".

Liberal Democrat opposition and European Union concerns are also understood to have thwarted Gove’s plans after an all-party education committee concluded that the changes were too much too soon.

Labour’s shadow education secretary, Stephen Twigg, said: "It shows why he should have listened to business leaders, head teachers and experts in the first place and not come up with a plan on the back of an envelope."

The education secretary unveiled his proposals for the new qualifications for 14 to 16 year-olds in September last year with students taking the first exams in 2017.

Michael Gove’s will formerly announce his embarrassing climb-down to Parliament later this afternoon.

Student Guardian opinion

While we welcome the Government’s policy reversal that will reduce cramming for the English Baccalaureate examinations, we anticipate a face-saving back-lash by Gove and wholesale reform of GCSEs.  Gove is wedded to the idea that examinations and not coursework are the best test of academic achievement and new policies designed to create a more fact-based, exam-tested approach to learning are expected.

More: Student News