Eton head argues against GCSEs and says students should not take any exams until they are 18

The headmaster of Eton College is calling for GCSEs to be abolished and pupils spared ‘Victorian-style’ public examinations until they are 18. This is from the Daily Mail… 

Tony Little said he wanted a ‘loosening’ up of what is expected of children at 16 to give schools more freedom over what they teach.

His comments come as around 600,000 pupils across the country await their GCSE results tomorrow.

Mr Little said: ‘It seems to me we’re moving to a period when, as a society, we seem to see merit in all, or at least the majority of students, continuing to the age of 18.

‘It rather begs the question why we’re having a major public examination at the age of 16 in the way we do it.

‘I say that because I think there are constraints about a traditional, one might almost say Victorian, form of examining – sitting on your own at a desk for a given period of time.

‘As soon as you go into the world of work, the last thing on the whole you do is sit down on your own without speaking. You’re dealing in teams, you’re dealing in groups, you’re sharing things.

‘What I’d like to see is a more inventive approach, a loosening of what we expect at the age of 16 so one could introduce qualifications based on the shared experience of young people. Personally I’d be very happy with a system with a robust examination at the age of 18 and more freedom for schools about how they get there.’

More at:  Abolish ‘Victorian’ GCSEs says headmaster of Eton: Tony Little argues teenagers should take any exams until they are 18 to ‘loosen’ what schools teach

Do Tony Little’s ideas have merit? What do you think about postponing formal exams until 18 and giving greater discretion to schools up to that point? Please share in the comments or on twitter… 

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  1. DaveBSheppard

    SchoolsImprove Are we the only country in Europe or indeed the world to have competitive exams before the end of compulsory schooling?

  2. gingerdisco99

    wclou SchoolsImprove “My lot are set up for life with top jobs & lashings of cash anyway so exams aren’t really that relevant” #eton

  3. PompeyDog

    Spanacademy SchoolsImprove I think Eton do lots to help state schools, but their own intake is rather different!

  4. edujdw

    AlidaTutor SchoolsImprove yes, but maths requires different processing and fewer language skills compared to history, Eng or even geog

  5. edujdw

    AlidaTutor SchoolsImprove not if your language skills a v poor. That’s my point, hence why children under 10 can also get GCSE maths.

  6. AlidaTutor

    edujdw SchoolsImprove English language was never my forte nothing to hide,maths & sciences are.who mentioned children under 10 can do gcse

  7. edujdw

    AlidaTutor No I’m sciences, but the reason the odd child can get GCSE maths under 10 is that language of maths is separate from English…

  8. edujdw

    AlidaTutor SchoolsImprove for example this boy gets GCSE maths A* at 7, but rarely if ever do we get an A* in History or Eng at 7 why?…

  9. edujdw

    AlidaTutor SchoolsImprove look at the usual media coverage, rarely if ever a child genius in English, Hist, Geography where Lang is imp.

  10. AlidaTutor

    edujdw SchoolsImprove eng Lang aren’t viewed as strong & challenging subject as maths & its limited to speaking, unless we put interest.

  11. edujdw

    AlidaTutor SchoolsImprove what does that say about me? I failed O level English lit twice!
    I admire your allegiance to maths but…

  12. edujdw

    AlidaTutor SchoolsImprove …my idea still stands, Maths and English skills are different and maths can be acquired by the young…

  13. amy_j91

    SchoolsImprove fine for his students. What about kids who want to go out and work? Or those who excel in practical courses/apprenticeships?

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