Northern Ireland

Michael Gove: Exam system split inevitable due to standards

The Education Secretary in England Michael Gove has been responding to concerns that GCSE and A-Level reforms would devalue the exams in NI.

On Tuesday Mr Gove said it was time for England, Wales and Northern Ireland to go their separate ways on GCSEs and A-levels.

He said the differences were becoming so great, there must be a split.

"We have the toughest exam regulator here in England and quite rightly she wants to make sure action is taken."

"I want to make sure she's in a position to say the exams in England are tough and rigorous. Wales and Northern Ireland... well, let's see."


The education secretary said it was quite right that, under devolution, that Wales and Northern Ireland should make their own decisions.

"But if the regulator says that you have an exam on one side of the border and they are both called a GCSE and one on the other called the same and they are different exams then we need to take action.

Mr Gove said he wanted to reach an acceptable way forward with the administrations in both Northern Ireland and Wales.

"But if, as they have done in Wales, chose to take a different path from the one that we are taking to strengthen our exams then it's inevitable that there has to be some discussion because you can only stretch the name GCSE so far before the credibility of that title snaps."

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