So—no more GCSE’s, bring on the baccalaureate (mid 17th century: from French baccalauréat or medieval Latin baccalaureatus, from baccalaureus ‘bachelor’).
For those of you who do not have teenagers of a certain age, or are not from the UK, the government have plans to get rid of longstanding national examinations for 16 year olds called GCSEs. GCSE stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education. They are divided by narrow subject and most involve modular courses where ‘course work’ forms a big part of the examination. They have been under fire because;
a/ They encourage schools to teach ‘to the test’ and not more broadly.
b/ They have been dumbed down and are not worth the paper they are scrawled on.
c/ The range of exams is too narrow.
c/ Not every parent is capable of doing the course work for their children. Hah!
The baccalaureate is set to come in as an added qualification where a pupil who passes 5 GCSE type exams (these with no course work) at grade C or above, and which included English, maths, one science, one foreign language and one humanity, will get one. Think of it as a gold star you can post on your FB wall.
Having talked to some of my characters—oh yes, I do talk to them—many of whom will be directly affected by this change, I think, that we should immediately increase the types of baccalaureate available by, for example, substituting the ‘foreign language’ with something else.
So here is my list:
|Substitue subject||Baccalureate name|
|Star wars studies||Chewbaccalureate|
|Shmaltzy pop songs||Burtbachalaureate|
|Gritty Brtish dramas||In anger; lookbacalaureate|
|Modern social media (twitter)||Nocomebaccalaureate|
|Ineffective Government warnings||Tobaccalaureate|
|Modern love songs||Isowantyoubaccalaureate|
|Antipodean veterinary studies||Australianridgebaccalaureate|
There must be more….