Victory for the design industry as Michael Gove's controversial exam plans are scrapped

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By Cameron Clarke, Editor

February 7, 2013 | 2 min read

Education secretary Michael Gove has abandoned plans for a controversial shake-up of the English schools system which critics claimed would have harmed the future of the design industry.

In a victory for design campaigners, Gove was today forced into an embarrassing climb-down in the Commons as he announced that his plans to replace GCSEs with an English Baccalaureate certificate were "a bridge too far".

Designers had argued that the English Baccalaureate would have marginalised creative subjects by ranking teachers purely on their pupils' performances in English, maths, science, languages and humanities.

Joe Macleod, global design director at ustwo and coordinator of the #IncludeDesign campaign, welcomed Gove's about-turn and said it would have been a "catastrophe" for the creative industries if his plans had gone ahead.

"This is fantastic news for the whole of the design industry and creative economy," Macleod said. "That Michael Gove is now listening to the 100 creative industry and education leaders who handed in a letter to Number 10 last week raising their serious concerns is a great step forwards.

"As an industry this gives us an opportunity to work with education leaders and the government to help support the shared vision of a world-class syllabus that offers students a fully rounded education.

"Without these changes, we would have lost the designers, architects and creativies of the future, as their talents would have been constricted by schools being pushed to prioritise an unnecessarily narrow range of subjects that reflected the past and not the future.

"The creative industries are worth more than £60 billion a year to the UK economy and it would have been a catastrophe if creative subjects such as design & technology had been lost from schools at Key Stage 4. Now we need to see the same breadth included at A Level too."

Gove still intends to reform the national curriculum and will press ahead with plans to cut the role played by coursework in an attempt to drive up standards.

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