Spot The Difference: Part 2April 20, 2014
About a year ago I wrote a blogpost entitled “Spot the Difference” comparing what Tristram Hunt was saying about the history curriculum before he became part of Labour’s education team and after. This quick post is the sequel.
Here are Tristram Hunt’s views on AS levels, interviewed by Total Politics in 2012:
With history, kids are over-examined and under-taught. Personally, I’d get rid of AS Levels – they’ve been a waste of time. You don’t need the relentless examination system; when kids leave at the age of 18, they’re ‘exam trauma victims’.
Here, from the TES website, is an account by William Stewart of what Tristram Hunt told the NASUWT conference yesterday:
AS-levels would return under Labour, pledges Tristram Hunt
Labour today pledged a “swift reversal” of the government’s unpopular decision to stop AS marks counting towards final A-level grades.
Tristram Hunt, shadow education secretary, told the NASUWT conference in Birmingham that Labour would not continue with the controversial policy of “decoupling” AS and A-level qualifications.
“When we assume office in May 2015, there will be a swift reversal of this policy and I am giving teachers and school leaders clear indication of that today,” he said.
To be honest, I’ve never had particularly strong views either way on AS levels. There’s strong arguments for the status quo and for reversing it. But I do know that, politically, the second position is the cheap shot. It’s a predictable position that provides easy attacks for an opposition, but unnecessary hassle for any future Labour government and uncertainty for those likely to be affected by any changes. There are those who will be happy if Labour’s education policy in 2015 is a list of items such as this, i.e. changes Michael Gove has made that will be reversed. Such a list might please the education establishment, but it is not a serious programme for government. “Back to 2010” is not an appealing slogan even for those of us in the small minority who voted Labour in 2010.