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Welsh could break away from England after exams row

14/09/2012 Kelly
Welsh education minister Leighton Andrews has hinted that Wales could break away from England and create its own examination system as a result of the GCSE results row.

Mr Andrews has personally involved himself in the controversy over GCSEs after he called for Welsh papers to be remarked - a move which angered his English counterpart Michael Gove.

The education secretary called the Welsh minister "irresponsible and mistaken" for ordering the re-grading of English GCSE papers sat in the summer, but Mr Andrews has remained unrepentant and has now suggested that the three-country examination system operated in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is not working.

"I think what we could see as a result of the current situation is potentially the end of the three-country co-operation on GCSEs," he told Wales Online.

"We will wait for the findings of the qualifications review, but it may be that Wales and Northern Ireland looks at the system used in Scotland."

In Scotland, the Scottish Qualifications Authority acts as the national accreditation and awarding body.

The problems this summer "may well mean that we end up with different systems", he added.

Although Mr Gove and Mr Andrews do not see eye to eye on the issue, bodies representing those in teaching jobs in Wales have sided with the Welsh minister.

Anna Brychan, director of the National Association of Head Teachers Cymru, said:

"We have argued from the outset that it is patently unjust that pupils who sat their examination in June achieved significantly poorer results than those who sat them in January … because the rules changed mid-course," she said.

David Evans, secretary of the National Union of Teacher's Cymru, was similarly supportive of Mr Andrew's stance.

"This is not political interference from the Welsh government but recognition of the unfairness faced by Welsh students and the need to ensure fair grades for the hard work of pupils, parents and teachers," he said.

Posted by Alan DouglasADNFCR-2164-ID-801449591-ADNFCR
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