Cunning bar steward ...
At the moment, I have as yet not come to any fully formed opinion about the state of changes to secondary education in England, and the impact that this will have on our upcoming generations.
Some parts of the notion I agree with, but the approach to the problem, fills me with considerable reservations. From a tactical perspective, you can see that Gove and his cronies are not daft, timing is everything and politically this has been the result of considerable planning.
I sincerely doubt that they are fools; I suggest they have been aiming for the Ebacc for some considerable time. Once they removed the attraction of the vocational alternative, downgrading it in league table terms, adding rigor (in their political terms, not mine). Then the way was clear for any changes to the GCSE, having nothing available for schools to jump to if they felt a little emotional.
Over the last ten years, too many schools did use vocational qualifications to bolster their league table position, diminishing any vocational value present. Many of these qualifications, had value if used correctly, but schools in their desire for league table dominance, had no regard for the needs of the child, motivated instead by the points-mean-prizes culture of the education system.
So, “you may ask”, what do you agree with, the decrease in rigor is something I do wish to see more of, having seen so many exam factories operate. But, rigor is like wisdom, it is not something that is easy to quantify, rigor for one, is not the same for another. So, adding this element to the debate, only confounds the issue and gives the government (Gove) an unattainable carrot attached to a stick, designed to beat schools with.
If you can prove that the ideal of rigor is fair, attainable and easily understood, then I will agree. But in being an abstract term, as rigor for a scientist is entirely different than for an artist, I will have to wonder if they want us to know what it is they mean.