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Diocese welcomes climb down on plans to scrap GCSEs

The Diocese of Carlisle has welcomed news that Government has scrapped plans to replace GCSEs in key subjects with new English Baccalaureate Certificates.

The Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, made the formal announcement in Parliament today.

Last September details of the changes had been announced but today Mr Gove told the Commons the new exams had been “a bridge too far”.

Michael Mill, the Diocesan Director of Education, Children and Young People welcomed the news, amid concerns the teaching of religious education would have been impacted under the proposed new scheme.

He said: “We are delighted that the coalition government has been listening to our concerns.

“The Church of England with others has been lobbying hard to prevent the downgrading of RE in schools. We have already seen a decline in the subject in schools along with the predicted recruitment crisis of suitable teachers.

“Primary and secondary church schools and academies in Cumbria demonstrate everyday the value of RE and its impact on the school’s Christian ethos which encourages inclusivity and the value of learning about and from faith.”

Mr Gove told MPs the changes had been tabled in a bid to address “grade inflation, dumbing down and loss of rigour” under the current examination system.

But the Commons education committee has also previously criticised the proposed changes, saying they were “too far, too fast”.

The Church of England’s national Board of Education has also welcomed the news.

The Rev Jan Ainsworth the Church of England’s Chief Education Officer said: “Our concerns about the Government’s Ebacc plans have always focused on the downgrading of Religious Education as a core subject.

“In modern society understanding and learning about faith has never been more important for both civic discourse and cultural enrichment, and we eagerly await the findings of the All Party Parliament Group on RE to be published next month.

“Church schools have always followed the national curriculum, providing an inclusive education with a distinctive Christian ethos, with a commitment to the disadvantaged. We hope that Mr Gove’s plans will put the good of all pupils first, not just the academically gifted.”


For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Officer, on 07984 927434 or at or the Ven Richard Pratt on 01900 66190.


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