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Nick Clegg: Gove Is Right On GCSE U-Turn

Thursday 7th February 2013

Nick Clegg insists the Education Secretary is right to change his mind about GCSE reforms.

Michael Gove is scrapping plans to replace the exams with a new English Baccalaureate, supposedly following pressure from the Liberal Democrats.

The EBacc certificates would have foccussed on five core subjects -  English, Maths, Science, Languages and Humanities (History or Geography) - with each given to a single examination board.

During his weekly phone in on LBC 97.3 the Deputy Prime Minister said he and Mr Gove are now in agreement.

"I didn't like the original idea. You might remember last summer when it was floated that we move to a kind of two tier system where you tell one set of kids 'you're not bright enough to procceed' and they sort of get sent in one direction and then we only cater through an O-Level system, if you like, to a minority of kids."

Labour says it's a "humiliating climbdown" but Mr Clegg believes itis the right move and paid tribute to his colleague.

"There were serious reservations expressed by the regulator OFQUAL, which oversees the qualificiation system. He's listened and he's reacted. We can't have it both ways - people say politicians never listen and then when a politician like Michael Gove listens people are now saying somehow he shouldn't have done that."

Mr Gove will go before the Commons today to set out alternative proposals to reform GCSEs - reducing the role played by course work.