Everyone with a stake in education is urged to participate in a consultation exercise that will determine the qualifications Island students sit in the future.
With GCSEs being overhauled in England from 2015, the Island is reviewing how it will move forward, with three options being discussed – following the route England takes on GCSEs, switching to the International GCSE (IGCSE) or switching to the Scottish qualifications National 4 and National 5.
The Department of Education and Children launched its consultation at the ‘Reach Higher’ conference at the Mount Murray Hotel and Country Club on Wednesday 2 April. It runs until Friday 16 May.
Tim Crookall MHK, Minister for Education and Children, said 395 responses had been received, 387 of them completed online. Nearly seven in 10 contributions were from parents, with a further 17% from teachers.
Minister Crookall will, ultimately, decide which route the Island will take and DEC is committed to ensuring that teachers know which system the schools will follow before September 2014.
The Minister said:
‘The decision will shape the future for students for generations to come. I haven’t yet begun to analyse the views submitted but I am heartened the public has shown such a keen interest in the consultation and I’d like to thank them for taking the time to fill in a questionnaire.
‘However, I’d urge anyone with a stake in our education system who hasn’t yet submitted views to participate in the consultation and have their voice heard.’
Paper copies of the consultation documents can be requested from the Department of Education and Children, Hamilton House, Peel Road, Douglas.
Consultation is also being undertaken with primary and secondary school students. Pupils currently in Year 8 will be the first to be affected by the changes as, if the Island sticks with the English system, they will be the first year group to begin the new English and maths qualifications – the first subjects to undergo the change – in 2015.
Pupils currently in Year 7 – the first year at secondary school – face changes across a much wider range of subjects.
The Minister explained:
‘It’s a very fluid situation. Even since we launched our consultation in mid-April, further changes to the new-look GCSE in England have been announced. This month, it became clear that in addition to new-style exams in biology, chemistry, physics, history, geography and languages that will be taught from 2016, reformatted exams will also be introduced that year in art and design, citizenship studies, computer science, design and technology, drama, dance, music, physical education and religious studies.
‘This has removed some of the concerns that some of these subjects might not survive but there is no clarity yet about how these subjects will be assessed.’