Greg Hands M.P. has backed bold reforms to the exams that young people take at 16.
Under plans revealed this week, English Baccalaureate Certificates (EBCs) will replace GCSEs in the core subjects of English, maths, sciences, languages, history and geography. Pupils will be assessed on the basis of a three-hour examination at the end of the two-year course, rather than the current system of modules, coursework and controlled assessment.
The changes announced by the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, will mean an end to falling standards and a focus on the subjects that employers value most. They have been already been endorsed by the Institute of Directors and the Confederation of British Industry.
The number of pupils with a core of academic subjects among their GCSEs halved under Labour. The last government also removed marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar, which will now return. Likewise, a single exam board for each English Baccalaureate Certificate will end the ‘race to the bottom’ in which competing exam boards had an incentive to make their own courses easier.
Many independent schools and, increasingly, top state schools had stopped entering their pupils for GCSEs altogether, because of their concerns about the quality of the current exams.
Welcoming the reforms, Greg Hands M.P. said: "These changes will ensure that all young people in Chelsea and Fulham have an exam system that matches the world’s best and prepares them for success in the workplace.
"For too long under Labour, politicians took parents for fools with tales of ever-improving results. In future, the system will no longer be about making our politicians feel good, but making sure our children sit proper, rigorous exams."