English Language: GCSE

Education written question – answered on 4th July 2012.

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Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel Conservative, Witham

To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will take steps to promote a greater emphasis on teaching accurate grammar, punctuation and spelling in the English Language GCSE.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The Government are committed to ensuring that our qualifications match the best in the world. We want to give every child the opportunity to acquire the rigorous qualifications they need to succeed in further and higher education and the world of work. It is essential that young people are taught to write clearly and accurately and are assessed on those skills. Many employers report that young people, even those with good GCSE grades, do not demonstrate these skills adequately.

GCSEs in English language and English already include the assessment of written communication skills. At least 12% of marks in these GCSEs are awarded for students' use of a range of sentence structures for clarity, purpose and effect, and for accurate punctuation and spelling.

As part of our qualifications reforms we have already made a number of changes to GCSEs to ensure that the focus is put back on sound teaching with external examination across the subject at the end of the course. Marks for accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar have been restored to examinations in other key subjects: English literature, geography, history and religious studies. These reforms will take effect from September this year.

We are considering our longer-term reforms in detail and we will set out our proposals shortly.

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