Education CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by David Burton, Deputy Headteacher, St Michael’s CofE High School, Crosby, Liverpool

Guided Learning Hours

We take GLH as an indication of how many lessons staff and pupils will need. Our experience tells us that some subjects don’t quite require the GLH so we reallocate these hours to other subjects often English, Maths, Science. Far from reducing the number of hours taught, I believe we need to increase them with extra lessons before school and after school both in traditional subjects for pupils and community members and in a range of extra-curricular activities.

Single Exam Board

I believe this would increase the reliability of qualifications, for example vocational qualifications can only be given the same status as academic qualifications if they are awarded by the same exams body. As well as being helpful for children who move across the system, like military children and travelling children, the parity of having one established national qualification in each subject would be helpful for employers and universities. Furthermore, examiners could dedicate time to focus on ensuring the preparation and assessment of the national qualifications is quality assured so that exams and marking are of high quality. Finally, a single examinations body would reduce commercial exploitation if the body was state-owned so that employers and universities could provide input into the content and assessment of the curriculum so that our examination system provides pupils with progression routes.

How and When We Should be Examining Children

Assessing students can be much more innovative eg Presentation skills assessed by employers via Skype link.

Teacher assessment through video, sound recording, photographs.

Time with employers assessed by employer on basis of skills, motivation, teamwork, communication.

Maintain written exams for relevant students with short term exams.

A level exams to be sat in early December and April so final results are out by end of June and students can apply to university/employers with qualifications to enhance chances of pupils from more deprived families gaining first-choice university entrance.


Reinstigate senior examiner review meetings and checks of pupils’ work on grade boundaries to minimise the need for remarks. Examiners/moderators whose work to be found substandard by remarks to receive further training and all further work to be subject to stricter controls and assessment.

GCSE Examinations in Year 10, maybe Year 9

Appropriate pupils start GCSE courses in Year 9 to be sat at end of Year 10 (or continued in Year 11 in the case of triple science).

A-level in Year 10/11/12/13, and what Proportion

A small number of pupils start AS levels in year 11 and continue through to A2 and/or AS in Years 12 and possibly Year 13.

January 2012

Prepared 2nd July 2012