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Tony Blair's millionaire (Yale educated) son Euan says it would 'not be a bad idea' to SCRAP GCSEs

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Tony Blair’s son Euan has suggested GCSEs be scrapped as they are not a good indicator of future job performance and can hinder social mobility.

The millionaire founder of learning company Multiverse, who attended America’s top university Yale, said there was too much focus in the UK on exam results and “what kind of university are you at?” you go?”.

He added that it wouldn’t be a “bad idea” to get rid of GCSEs, saying teenagers have been sitting “simulation after simulation, and it becomes an end in itself rather than learning, it’s really problematic”.

His remarks distinguish him from his father, politically at least. Last month the former Prime Minister called for seven in 10 young people to go to university – saying an increase from the current 53% was key to the UK competing with ‘high innovation economies’ like South Korea and Japan.

Euan told a panel on the skills gap at the Times Education Summit that “we’ve long had an obsession with academics as a sort of marker of potential and talent.”

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“Only 4% of those who claim free school meals go to a Russell Group university. More than half of those in graduate business programs were educated in a private school,” he said.

“We are missing a huge segment of society and many incredibly talented people if we just focus on ‘What did you get at GCSEs, A levels and what kind of university did you go to?’

The millionaire founder of learning company Multiverse, who attended America's top university Yale, says there is too much focus in the UK on exam results and

The millionaire founder of learning company Multiverse, who attended America’s top university Yale, said there was too much focus in the UK on exam results and “what kind of university are you at?” you go?”.

Euan (second from left) with his family in Downing Street after Tony Blair won the 2005 election for Labor

Euan (second from left) with his family in Downing Street after Tony Blair won the 2005 election for Labor

Last month the former Prime Minister called for seven in 10 young people to go to university - saying an increase from the current 53% was key to the UK competing with 'high innovation economies' like South Korea and Japan.

Last month the former Prime Minister called for seven in 10 young people to go to university – saying an increase from the current 53% was key to the UK competing with ‘high innovation economies’ like South Korea and Japan.

Mr Blair Jnr has created an estimated fortune of £160m from his business, which encourages school leavers to take up apprenticeships instead of going on to higher education.

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Asked about his father’s target for 70 per cent of school leavers to go on to university, Mr Blair said: ‘It’s not really about having a fixed two-way target.

He said professional apprenticeships are an “incredible” way to start a career, but “almost all teachers have gone to college so they are often more comfortable promoting that path”.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: ‘We have lost the sense that assessment is something that is a skill set that teachers use on a regular basis…it has become something that drives way too much.

“There will be kids taking their Key Stage 2 tests this week who haven’t done physical education or sport for two years because we allow assessment to dominate that,” he added.

He said GCSEs were designed for a different era and the qualification had “seen its day”.

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The idea of ​​online adaptive tests, where the questions adapt to the student’s abilities, is “extremely liberating and democratic”, he said.

Ofqual recently announced that it will explore the use of online testing over the next three years.

Meanwhile, Kate Bingham, who chaired the UK government’s vaccine task force during the pandemic, told the event that first-year students should be given the opportunity to develop vaccines.

“We need to give them the opportunity to understand how to turn dry science into something practical,” she said.

“And that’s what was so exciting about vaccines is that it’s actually very tangible – you have a genetic sequence of a pathogen, you can do that whether it’s in a protein or an mRNA and you can vaccinate an animal.

“You can do it, you can do it in freshman year of college, and it’s very simple.”

She said being able to turn “what you learn in basic science” into “immediate reality” is the best way for students to learn.

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