Government to look at IGCSE university entrance ‘loophole’

A Department for Education minister has said he is going to look at whether IGCSEs are being used by private schools as an unfair “loophole” to get their pupils university places. Tes reports

Chris Skidmore, the universities minister, said the DfE had the power to review the admissions criteria used by universities.

State schools used to take IGCSEs until a decision was made by the government in 2014 to remove the qualifications from official league tables. However, many private schools continue to use them.

And a Tes investigation in August found that found some universities were offering relatively lower requirements for alphabetically graded IGCSEs than for the numerically graded reformed GCSEs.

Appearing before the House of Commons Education Select Committee this morning, Mr Skidmore was questioned by the Labour MP Lucy Powell – who has been a vocal critic of IGCSEs.

She asked him about the “perceived unfairness” of IGCSEs, and said universities were “not distinguishing” between the qualification and GCSEs, even though key stage 4 qualifications are a “big part” of how offers are made. 

Mr Skidmore said “Working with Ucas, I think it’s important that we do maintain that if there are loopholes that they are closed,” he added. “So I’ll definitely go away and look at that.”

Read more Government to look at IGCSE university entrance ‘loophole’

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