The Man Who Brought In GCSEs Tells LBC Why They Should Be Scrapped

24 August 2017, 11:53

The man who brought in GCSEs has told LBC the exams should be scrapped.

Lord Baker was Education Secretary under Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, when GCSEs were introduced.

And he told Nick Ferrari that the exams aren't suitable for modern society and should be scrapped.

Lord Baker suggested that GCSEs should be scrapped
Lord Baker suggested that GCSEs should be scrapped. Picture: PA

He said: "Why do we need GCSEs these days?

"When I took the equivalent in 1952, it was before O-levels. They were called a School Certificate. Only 7% went on. 93% got a job at sixteen when I took the exam. And so they had to clutch in their hands a certificate showing what they'd achieved and that was very important.

"But now the school leaving age is eighteen, in effect. Education goes on from four to eighteen. So what are you testing people at 16 for?"

Lord Baker suggested that computing should be a compulsory subject, replacing a foreign language.

He added: I would put that exam at 13 or 14, which is what the private sector does, and get them to decide that what their aptitude is. Those that want to do history and french, fine, put them into an academic stream.

"Those who want to do computing, those who want to do engineering, those who want to do practical work, put them into another stream.

"English and maths are critical, but I put equal with them now computing. Our youngsters are going to live in digital age where jobs are going to depend on how good they are at digital technology, cybersecurity, virtual reality, data all that sort of stuff. And I think therefore computing should be a compulsory subject at 16.

"It is more important to have computing as a compulsory subject at sixteen than a foreign language at 16. A youngster will do better in life if he has the knowledge of a computer language and the smatterings of a foreign language."

Lord Baker was critical of Michael Gove's reforms in education
Lord Baker was critical of Michael Gove's reforms in education. Picture: PA

The peer was very critical of former Education Secretary Michael Gove, saying his reforms have caused a lot of problems for youngsters.

He said: "He's imposed a curriculum on our schools that is far too academic. Technical subjects have been squeezed out of our education system. So have artistic subjects, music and drama, and that is due to Gove and it's wrong."