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Sector news, 18 - 22 June

The revelation in leaked documents that Michael Gove wants to scrap GCSE exams in favour of a traditional model styled on the O level has provoked a number of headlines, including:

Michael Gove's plan to scrap GCSEs is ludicrous, say teaching union leaders  The Guardian, 21 June 2012

Nick Clegg vows to block Gove's plan to scrap GCSEs The Guardian, 21 June 2012

Gove faces criticism over GCSE axe in exam overhaul The Independent, 21 June 2012

Can you afford to go to your own graduation? The Guardian, 20 June 2012

The cost of gowns and tickets is pricing some students out of a ceremony organised to celebrate their success. This article looks at why we choose to celebrate the completion of a degree in such old fashioned attire, and whether or not it is fair to assume that students can afford the cost. Some universities, including UCL also charge students £30 to attend a graduation ceremony. Gowns cost £30-£60 to hire.

AS-levels could be scrapped under planned exam reforms The Guardian, 19 June 2012

AS-levelsAS levels could be scrapped under reforms of the exams system that are also set to limit the number of re-sits students can take. The move, outlined in proposals from Ofqual, would mean a return to traditional two-year A-levels with exams at the end of the course. Ofqual said the proposal had been put forward amid concerns that the qualification has meant students focusing on exams at the expense of other interests such as sport and drama. The proposals also contain plans to limit re-sits so a student can only re-take a paper once. The current modular system, in which AS and A-levels are split into two modules each, is also set to be axed, as Ofqual says it makes it difficult for students to make connections between topics. Other options the AS-level are to make it a standalone one-year qualification with results that do not contribute to the A-level or to keep the current system, but make cuts to re-sits and January exams.

College defends £24,000 mace purchase The Guardian, 18 June 2012

Bradford College defended plans to spend £24,000 on a ceremonial mace made by an upmarket jewellery manufacturer for use at graduation ceremonies. It has been criticised by lecturers’ union the University and College Union for an "outrageous misuse of funds". The college said the mediaeval weapon would be symbolic of students’ success and aspirations. The cost would be met by income from graduation ceremonies and donations.