Ofsted chief inspector warns ‘bright children lose out’ by taking GCSEs early

Thousands of the brightest children in England are failing to achieve top grades at GCSE because of a growing trend of entering pupils early for the examination, according to figures released by the education watchdog. Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted chief inspector, warned he will be critical of schools that use early entry for GCSE if they are not absolutely confident pupils will achieve their full potential. This is from the Guardian…

His message comes after Ofsted statistics showed an “explosion” in early entries for maths and English at GCSE over the past six years, with around a third of all pupils – more than 200,000 in each subject – now entered early for these exams.

Ofsted’s figures showed that among pupils who were the highest achievers at primary school – reaching level 5 in Sats exams – and who took the exam early, 12% fewer were awarded A grades in English and 11% fewer achieved that level in maths in 2011, compared to those who were not entered early.

“We think early entry hurts the chances of the most able children getting the top grades of A*, A and B, which they need to progress to A-level and certainly to university,” Wilshaw said.”We will be critical of schools using early entry except where they are absolutely confident that youngsters are reaching their full potential.

“By full potential we mean A* and A actually if they are bright youngsters.”

Sir Michael added that even when pupils achieved those top grades early Ofsted expected them to continue studying the core subjects of English, maths and science into Year 11 rather than being diverted to other subjects.

He said about 20% of children who leave primary school with level 5 do not achieve the top grades at GCSE of A*, A and B as a result of a combination of factors including early entry at GCSE.

More at: Ofsted chief inspector cautions against growing number of early GCSE entries

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