Schoolzone blog: The good Tory

The good Tory
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04 Dec 2014

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Let's hear it for the senior Tory who actually seems to care about education, and who listens to teachers. Can you guess who it is? Read on...

Chemistry A-level has missed the timeframe for accreditation, but will not be delayed, Nicky Morgan (no, it's not her), told the Commons Education Select Committee today. However, it does mean that chemistry teachers won't have long to prepare for teaching the new specifications.

She went on to say that there was nothing wrong with the pace of the reform set by Michael Gove (not him either) and that, leaving aside the delay to A-level maths announced this week, and the previous delay to geography A-level, the schedule is fine and she will brook no further changes.

Step forward the hero of the hour then: committee chairman, Graham Stuart who said it might have been better to have introduced the exam reforms in a more "coherent" and "co-ordinated" way, saying schools had been put through "a prolonged period of turbulence and uncertainty" not only on exams and curriculums but also accountability systems.

He also went on to say that he (now) disagrees with the decoupling of AS from A-level - he's listened to the arguments from schools and HE: "the overwhelming and nearly unanimous response from the sector is saying they don’t agree with the reforms… The university sector couldn’t be more vocal or more cross."

But Morgan ploughs on anyway.

Morgan similarly isn't troubled by Graham Stuart's concerns about reforms to school accountability, recognising at the same time that the more rigorous nature of the new GCSE exams could lead to more schools failing to reach minimum targets for exam performance until they got used to the new system.

On the plus side, Morgan "pushes back" (in an interview) on recent Tory moves to increase the number of grammar school, saying they she wants "all of our state schools to be good and outstanding". (Don't we all!)

Earlier this week, Morgan claimed a lifelong passion for education, despite the lack of evidence in the public domain to support this. However, Graham Stuart seems to have it in spades. Mr Cameron, please note: if Morgan is just a nightwatchman in her current education post ("best known for not being Michael Gove", according to Conservative Home), can we nominate Mr Stuart in the next government, please: assuming you're still in it. Any other aspirant coalition leaders also please take note.

For a complete overview of reforms see:

  • Exam reform timetable for an alternative view
  • Exam reform by year group





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