Education minister Michael Gove has been forced to abandon his plan to replace GCSEs with an “English Baccalaureate”.
This arrogant Tory has been forced into a humiliating climb-down from his planned EB or Ebacc, which only one in four pupils could hope to pass.
To gain his new qualification you would need Ebacc certificates in English, English Literature, Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, a language and History or Geography. Gove insisted the pass mark would be a lot higher than a C at GCSE.
What about the rest of 16 year olds? They would receive a letter from their school saying how badly they had failed.
This disgraceful plan would have taken us back to the days when most young people left school without any qualifications.
Gove lied that this would raise standards. In reality, it would have demoralised a generation.
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) led a broad alliance against Gove. It included other teacher and headteacher unions, students and other organisations such as the Musicians Union and the actors’ union Equity.
A petition attracted tens of thousands of signatures within days.
There was widespread anger that Gove had left out subjects like music, art and drama, technology and computing, as well as physical education and RE.
Subjects such as media studies and sociology that help young people understand the world had no place in Gove’s scheme.
The name of Ebacc will still apply to a particular combination of GCSE subjects, but it will not be taken seriously.
The GCSE survives as a qualification for all.
Terry Wrigley is an education expert and author of Another School is Possible