Exam board chief: Private schools are being ‘punished for pursuing rigour’ in league tables

The Telegraph is reporting that the head of the exam board that developed IGCSEs has said private schools are being “punished” in official league tables “for pursuing rigour”…

Simon Lebus, the chief executive of Cambridge Assessment, accused the Department for Education of attempting to “rig” the race to the top of the rankings by effectively excluding schools that have shunned GCSEs in favour of international alternatives.

In a letter to the Telegraph Mr Lebus said it was “plainly absurd” that top schools such as Eton College were listed near the foot of the latest league tables because their pupils sat International GCSEs (IGCSEs)…

…Mr Lebus, whose exam board is responsible for both GCSEs and IGCSEs, said: “I fear the Secretary of State for Education has been badly advised.”

He added: “Schools say they offer the IGCSE because it is the best preparation for university – feedback that is echoed by admissions tutors.

“If the Department for Education advisers are so confident that schools will switch back to the ‘new world-class GCSEs’ from IGCSEs, they should encourage real competition in a ‘race to the top’, rather than try to rig the race.”…

More at: Exam board chief: Private schools are being ‘punished’ in league tables


Cambridge Assessment argue that government changes to GCSEs are largely reflecting what the IGCS already offers so does Simon Lebus make a valid point here?


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  1. Janet2

    Why should private schools care about league table position?  Or any school come to that.  League tables are now meaningless.  Bourne Grammar School is shown at the bottom of the Lincolnshire league with 0% along with two independents: Stamford Schools and Stamford High.

    The more schools shun the league tables, the better.

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Decision to disqualify iGCSEs from league table by DfE is purely political & due to DfE being unable to influence content

  3. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Many iGCSEs just as “rigorous” as normal GCSEs if not more so. Decision to exclude them from league tables is divisive

  4. andylutwyche

    chaloner88 SchoolsImprove Quite – the entire decision is politically motivated and has nothing to do with educational standards

  5. murphiegirl

    andylutwyche chaloner88 SchoolsImprove Teaching iGCSE Eng Lang now & believe it’s thorough, relevant & useful. New GCSE not so IMHO.

  6. andylutwyche

    murphiegirl chaloner88 SchoolsImprove The maths iGCSE is more difficult (arguably “traditional”) than the “normal” GCSE too in my opinion

  7. murphiegirl

    andylutwyche chaloner88 SchoolsImprove After yrs of idiotic & onerous CA, iGCSE CW actually develops life skills & high order thinking

  8. andylutwyche

    murphiegirl chaloner88 SchoolsImprove But remember than teachers can’t be trusted according to MPs. Therein lies the issue

  9. andylutwyche

    “murphiegirl: andylutwyche chaloner88 SchoolsImprove Assumption is that CW is ‘cheating’ of course.” Quite – mistrust of public sector

  10. HughdjNicklin

    murphiegirl if that stands for Igcse coursework, it must have changed. It was just another word game when I saw it in 2008.

  11. andylutwyche

    HughdjNicklin I know what you mean and I would propose no time limit on exams. Need to be challenging though to give exams a point

  12. FionaTipper

    SchoolsImprove No parent seriously considering Eton believes it’s really at the bottom of achievement tables. This won’t harm private sch

  13. Mktadvice4schls

    SchoolsImprove my school going to international A-level next year to allow AS to count. Assume we’ll be banned from even more LTs!

  14. 1505helen

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Typical ‘sound educational reasoning’ then! Glad the public schools ignored league tables. Shame we can’t!

  15. AlfredoNokez1

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Plus, certain schools that cannot possibly be seen to dip are no longer in the system…effectively hiding.

  16. helenreesbidder

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove The newly reformed IGCSEs have followed the DfE content to the letter and are still barred from Perf Tables.

  17. helenreesbidder

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove They were submitted to Ofqual and regulated as IGCSEs (9-1) but are still not going to count. That’s political

  18. Davis77Alex

    SchoolsImprove DfE banned igcse because Schools quickly realise they could sign up pupils to a qualification the gov are unable to influenc

  19. Davis77Alex

    SchoolsImprove DfE banned igcse because Schools quickly realise they could sign up pupils to a qualification the gov are unable to influenc

  20. Davis77Alex

    SchoolsImprove DfE banned igcse because Schools quickly realise they could sign up pupils to a qualification the gov are unable to influenc

  21. Davis77Alex

    andylutwyche exactly! If they can’t influence content the public we simply see the DfE as the bunch of self interested meddlers they are

  22. mrtaylormaths

    andylutwyche murphiegirl chaloner88 SchoolsImprove cheating does occur – have heard tales of mispractice in btecs and controlled assemnt

  23. paulsnorman

    SchoolsImprove I think they assume far too much intelligence on part of DfE. More likely left unpaid intern to develop policy. Or Gove.

  24. murphiegirl

    mrtaylormaths andylutwyche chaloner88 SchoolsImprove Think that’s called keeping whole class in at playtime because one person talked.

  25. mrtaylormaths

    murphiegirl andylutwyche chaloner88 SchoolsImprove possibly – but it does mean a level playing field for all.

  26. murphiegirl

    mrtaylormaths andylutwyche chaloner88 SchoolsImprove Not if the exam papers have been written for politicians, but for students.

  27. murphiegirl

    mrtaylormaths andylutwyche chaloner88 SchoolsImprove Plus it’s CAs that invited the crit for ‘cheating’. CW has different parameters.

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