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Tuesday 24th July 2012 | 11:21
Commenting on the House of Lords' Science & Technology Committee report Higher Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Subjects, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers' union, said:
"Yet again we are seeing the exams season hijacked by doomsayers, criticising not just the system but undermining the achievement of hard working students.
"As we have long advocated, if young people are being encouraged to stay in education until at least 18 years of age then we need to look closely at the range of courses available. Of course it is important that all young people leave school with maths skills, but there is also a demand for a qualifications system which can address the need for mathematical skills for all while accommodating the more specialist skills required to access STEM courses at advanced level, degree level and beyond. The NUT supported the 2004 Tomlinson Report's recommendation of an overarching diploma system, which would have addressed some of these issues.
"The review of the National Curriculum for secondary schools, when it eventually reports back, may well address this. Our optimism is not encouraged, however, by recent stories that Michael Gove's planned reforms to GCSEs will mimic the two-tier system of the past. This will only serve to lower aspirations and exacerbate inequalities in society, with even fewer young people having the opportunity to study maths or STEM subjects to a high level."