Are GCSE’s & A-Level’s still relevant?

Thursday 14th February 2019 - Session 442

Much of the educational system, within the UK, was built in the 1880’s, with specific purposes, and the examination system that accompanied curriculum was ideally designed for a small section of the population, or so it can be argued. Indeed, due to accountability, most of the educational systems within the UK have resulted in a ‘one-size-fits-all’ examination process that leaves many left behind, assessing on a curriculum that (some will argue) is very narrow.

With the emergence of automation, artificial intelligence, and advances of technology, does the GCSE (students aged 16), and the A-Level (students aged 18) curriculum and examination system best prepare young people for the advances in society, and their working futures?

In a recent call, Robert Halfon, chairman of the Education Select Committee has called for GCSEs to be scrapped and A-levels should be replaced by a mix of academic and vocational subjects (see BBC article). His radical rewriting of England’s exam system is designed to give young people a much broader range of skills for their working lives, based on a baccalaureate system.

This #UKEdChat session explored the issues raised above, and the questions raised were:


  1. Quite simply, are you for or against the current way GCSE and A-Levels are taken? Why do you believe this?
  2. How could the current GCSE and A-Level system in the UK be improved?
  3. How should examinations taken at 16 and/or 18 truly reflect the skills of young people?
  4. What are the key skills (list 3) that young people need, in your opinion, to be active workers of the future?
  5. How can examinations (or assessments) reflect the key skills required for future jobs?
  6. How could a Baccalaureate education system better suit young people?
  7. How would you prefer assessments and/or examinations to be taken for your specific subject?
  8. What key skills and subjects should be taught to young people, to truly prepare them for the challenges of their futures?

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About @digicoled 437 Articles
Colin Hill - Founder, researcher and editor of ukedchat. Also a bit of a tech geek! Project management, design thinking, and metacognition.

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