The government plans to replace GCSEs with a new qualification, the English baccalaureate, which will put the focus on end-of-year examinations.
Pat Yarker discusses the history of school exams, and how they have been used.
End-of-school exams for all, like mass compulsory education, arrived fairly recently in England.
The situation before 1945 was different, but for two decades or so after that date most working-class pupils were prevented from sitting public exams. Denied access not only to fee-paying schools but also to the grammar schools Labour had established, they could not take the O