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4 March, 2009

Tests found wanting

According to the Guardian, Manchester Grammar School is to cease operating the mainstream GCSE national curriculum of age-16 exams, in favour of the International GCSE system.

The reason cited is that GCSEs are now considered insufficiently challenging and inadequate preparation for further stages of education. However, the final paragraph of the Guardian article mentions that:

The Department for Children, Schools and Families said: "We do not agree that the IGCSE is in any way superior to the GCSE. It is aimed at international students and therefore does not major on English cultural or historical concepts and achievements.
Excellent! Reason in itself to abandon the 'Little England' spoon-fed propaganda in favour of something more meaningful and of wider relevance. Since I went though the system myself in the Eighties I've frequently regretted having been taught so little about the history and literature of Europe as a whole (including the UK, of course, but within the broader context) and so much parochial minutiae about English monarchs.

That's 'history' not only as the standalone subject, but in the framework of the whole curriculum; an insidious indoctrination of 'Britishness' at the expense of objectivity. For example, in science subjects, I recall British research receiving greater prominence than equally important discoveries by foreign scientists.

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