A dramatic increase in the number of independent schools ditching GCSEs is revealed today in figures showing their exam results. This is from the Independent…
They show a 33 per rise rise in the number of entries for the rival IGCSE – based on traditional O-level lines and considered by many heads to offer a better preparation for tackling A-levels in the sixth-form.
The numbers rose by 33 per cent this summer to 129,288 – thus accounting for 32 per cent of year 11 exam entries. GCSEs, in comparison, fell from 293,335 to 274,183.
Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the Independent Schools Council, said he could see “no signs” of the switch towards the IGCSE abating, adding: “I don’t think there is any evidence that it has reached its peak.”
Nationally, this year’s IGCSE figures were inflated because a number of schools – both state and private – ditched GCSE English in the wake of last year’s controversy when the grade boundaries were raised between sittings. A number of state schools hedged their bets by putting their pupils in for both sets of exams in order to stand a better chance of obtaining C grade passes to boost their league table rankings.
Mr Lenon said the drift towards the IGCSE started with maths “because of unhappiness with GCSE coursework” and the moved to science.
“It was felt that the IGCSE was a better preparation for A-level,” he added. “The syllabuses had a bit more content and were slightly more demanding. Those arguments still apply.”
Is it a concern that so many schools – particularly independent schools – are abandoning the GCSE? Does it create another division between students – those who take IGCSEs and those who do not? Please let us know what you think in the comments or on twitter…