Beggs calls for O’Dowd to reconsider his decision on GCSE grading

Ulster Unionist MLA for East Antrim Roy Beggs MLA has called on the Education Minister to immediately reconsider his decision on GCSE grading, which has effectively placed a ban on some English exam bodies offering course options for local students and schools.


Mr Beggs said:


“The Education Minister’s decision not to follow the English example of numerical grading has led directly to major English exam bodies making numerous courses unavailable to study in Northern Ireland.


“In answers to Assembly questions I have tabled on this issue, the Minister of Education has admitted that he does not know how much it will cost to replace courses no longer available as a result of his ideological ban on English based courses exam bodies which are switching to grades 1-9.


“It is irresponsible for the Minister of Education to effectively ban a range of subject choices to local students and schools without regard to the detrimental effect that this could have to students, schools and indeed his own departmental budget.  With school budgets under pressure, there is little wisdom in adding to educational costs.


“The Minister seems to have taken an ideological rather than an educational position on the new English grading system.  Unfortunately his decision to break parity and stick with the old alphabetical system was supported by the DUP.   I would call the Minister to at the very least mitigate his decision by allowing schools to utilise such GB based courses graded 1-9 where no alternatives are available.  Failure to do so will adversely affect students by restriction their subject choice.”

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