This caught my eye, from the Guardian LiveBlog: (below text is from the Guardian)
On the Today programme this morning (see 9.35am) Michael Gove confirmed that he wanted to replace GCSEs with a new qualification. At one point he implied that the alternative exam would be like an O-level.
What we need to do is have an examination that has all the rigour of the old O-Level, but which is sat by a majority of students so we can ensure that everyone is treated fairly. The aim is that is should be sat by the overwhelming majority.
This seems to have caused some concern in the office of Nick Clegg, who has been working on this issue with the education secretary over the summer. Apparently Clegg and Gove are close to an agreement. But Clegg is adamant that the new qualification won’t be like the old O-level because there will be no return to a two-tier system. (In the old days, able pupils took O-levels and those deemed less able were made to sit CSEs instead.) A source close to Clegg has just been on the phone to me to make this clear.
The one thing that we have always said is that there will be no return to a two-tier system. And the defining characteristic about the O-level was that it was a two-tier system. That is not what the government is looking at.
Clegg accepts that some pupils won’t take the new exam. But some pupils don’t take GCSEs, for example because they have special needs. According to the source close to Clegg, it is envisaged that the proportion opting out of the new qualification will not be any higher and that “to all intents and purposes it will be a single-tier exam”.