Institute for Learning
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IfL responds to the government’s GCSE announcement

The Institute for Learning (IfL) has responded to the government’s announcement about abandoning plans to replace GCSE exams with a new English Baccalaureate Certificate (EBC).

Toni Fazaeli, chief executive of IfL, said, “As well as being empowered and trusted to do their best for their learners, professional teachers and trainers across further education and skills should be encouraged to inform policymaking at all levels, which is why IfL, as their professional body, works to ensure that their voice is heard. In formulating their plans to reform GCSEs, policymakers would do well to take account of teachers’ and trainers’ expert advice.

“While we fully support having rigorous standards at this level, including for assessment and exams, we have been very concerned about the likelihood of the English baccalaureate idea creating a narrow and unbalanced curriculum; vocational pathways being relegated to a second league; and undermining our world-leading industries. Vocational education and training makes an enormous contribution to individuals’ life chances, and to the economy, and should enjoy the same high status as academic qualifications.

“Highlighting the importance of excellent teaching and training in specialist fields is something that IfL promotes and supports strongly. We know that hundreds of thousands of learners have benefited from excellent teaching and learning in our diverse further education and skills sector, and have developed the skills and behaviours that businesses want and that help them succeed in life and work. We need more of this, through the right range of GCSEs and vocational qualifications, not the narrow diet inherent in the old ideas for the English baccalaureate, which have now been abandoned. Moving away from the English baccalaureate is a step forward.”

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