Education secretary Michael Gove made the announcement last night, adding that he thought the current system was “beyond the point of rescue”.
Changes, which will see less-able pupils take simpler CSE exams, while other pupils would face much harder O-level style tests, are set to come into effect at the start of the 2014 academic year.
In the information has come from The Daily Mail, who claim to have seen leaked documents revealing the plans. The BBC says that independent sources have confirmed that the information is broadly correct.
This morning, Labour have reacted sceptically to the news, demanding that any significant changes to the education system must be explained in detail to both teachers and pupils.
Changes are set to come in after years of criticism that GCSE exams are becoming too easy, in the wake of continually improving results year on year. Supporters meanwhile claim this is simply because teenagers are working harder than ever and are under far more pressure than they used to be.
Critics of the new government plans say that this returns to an elitist system, while John Bangs, a former head of education of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said Gove is using the magic word “O-level” to garner public support, while ignoring the views of the wider teaching fraternity.
He added, "There has been no evidence from his regulation agency Ofqual that [the GCSE] is beyond a state of repair, there's no evidence from the teaching profession that they believe it to be beyond a state of repair, and probably even more importantly there's no evidence from parents that they believe it to be a problem or indeed employers."