Anger at plans to bring back O-levels
SHOCK proposals to axe GCSEs and bring back the old O-level have been slammed by Bristol MPs.
Education Secretary Michael Gove, pictured, is working on plans, leaked yesterday, to tear up the current school qualifications system.
Instead, students would sit tougher "gold standard" papers on a par with O-levels or a lesser qualification, along the same lines as the old CSEs.
The proposals sparked a furious debate yesterday, with the Tories' coalition partners vowing not to support the changes.
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Stephen Williams, the Liberal Democrat MP for Bristol West, accused Mr Gove of harking back to nostalgia for O-levels and alluded to the Tory Cabinet minister's privately-educated background.
He said: "I don't want educational segregation to be reintroduced into Bristol's schools. We've got enough problems with the division between the private and state sector, without introducing artificial segregation into the state sector.
"I don't think that education policy should be based on a sort of nostalgia for how it used to be when we were children, which Mr Gove is guilty of, or thinking that a model that might work in a private school can be transplanted into parts of society that are rather more complex than people who attended elite schools might think."
Bristol East Labour MP Kerry McCarthy said she was worried about judging children at a young age.
She added: "Some people have a very old-fashioned view of education. The sort of education that you might get still in public schools, but that doesn't bear any relation to the way young people want to learn and the way they learn best."
But Kingswood Tory MP Chris Skidmore, who has campaigned to make history lessons compulsory up to the age of 16, said it was essential to end so-called "grade inflation", the idea that more people receive higher grades because standards have supposedly dropped.
He said: "It is clear that the current exam system has allowed standards to fall, as the UK drops down international league tables in maths, English and science."