Evolution and revolution

Think tank: EDSK

Author(s): Tom Richmond; Eleanor Regan

May 16, 2024

This report from UK think tank EDSK looks at a 10-year plan to reform the curriculum and assessment system in England.

Whoever wins the next election should aim to preserve those parts of our education system that contribute to higher standards such as rigorous courses and exams.

However, many mistakes have been made over the last 14 years, not least the unacceptable bias against vocational and technical qualifications as well as the excessive burdens on students and teachers created by high-stakes written exams. These issues need to be rectified through a gradual evolution over the next decade.

As this new EDSK report explains, replacing SATs and GCSEs with regular online tests, slashing the amount of primary and secondary curriculum content and introducing a four-year Baccalaureate from ages 14 to 18 will mean that schools and colleges can finally focus on giving students more time and space to enjoy their learning and progress as far as possible. Relieving some of the exam pressures on teachers could also be a critical component of tackling the recruitment and retention crisis in the coming years.