Was it the curse of Clegg, the EU, Whitehall intransigence
or the advice of the Education Select Committee, or all of these, that forced
Michael Gove's climbdown on E-bacc certificates? Whatever the reason, I believe
the Education Secretary is right to accept that these certificates would be a
“reform too far.” Indeed, I said as much last September, arguing
that it's unwise and unnecessary to introduce this confusingly-named new

The steps Mr Gove has already put in place to make GCSEs
more academically robust,  overhauling
the curriculum content and cutting out retakes and coursework, will go a long
way to restoring confidence in the exam; there is no need to scrap them.
Especially since the E-bacc certificate idea was already neutered by the
LibDems, who had insisted that it must be an exam for all, rather than targeted
at the more academic.

So I'm glad Mr Gove has decided that this particular game is
no longer worth the candle. I remain hopeful that he will instead adopt the
approach I advocated at the same time: extending the use of  International GCSEs, already being offered
alongside GCSEs in many independent and
some state-maintained schools. As an internationally recognised qualification
offering greater rigour for more academically-inclined children, the IGSCE
offers all that the E-bacc would have achieved, without tearing down the existing