Headteacher 'upset' with GCSE changes

First published in Local Kidderminster Shuttle: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

THE headteacher of a Kidderminster school is “upset” and “angry” with the changes that have been made to this year’s GCSE examinations.

Dave Seddon, of Baxter College, was speaking to The Shuttle after receiving results which showed 43 per cent of his pupils gaining five A* to C grades.

He criticised the alterations that were made to GCSEs in November 2013 by then Education Secretary, Michael Gove.

The changes involved allowing only two vocational qualifications to count in the league tables, having the student’s first entry into an exam as their final grade and alterations to exam specifications.

“I’m upset,” he said.

“Our really academic kids have done exceptionally well and we’ve got a 13 per cent increase in the number of As and A*s than last year, but for kids who are borderline and more vocational, the changes have disadvantaged them.

“I’m a vocational headteacher and I think it’s grossly unfair and it angers me that vocational kids are not allowed to have their results count.”

Other changes made to GCSEs this year include a greater emphasis on the end of course exams and away from course work, as well as the removal of a speaking and listening element in English.

Mr Seddon said: “That’s something we do every day.

“Isn’t listening and speaking a better measurement than regurgitating facts.

“We don’t need a good memory. What we do need is to apply what we’ve learnt or know into a way that is acceptable to any job we are doing.

“An A* is no good to an individual who wants to be a plumber, they need the vocational skills.

“Through further training, learning, or apprenticeships, 99 per cent of our kids were employable last year and it will be the same this year.”

Mr Seddon believes the changes could impact on the number of students who chose to attend his school due to their results not reflecting well on league tables.

“We could change and only do academic subjects,” he said.

“We could do away with vocational ones to go higher up the league tables, but I won’t do that – I’d rather resign than compromise our principles.”

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