Pupils forced to make GCSE choices in Year 7

At one school in Shropshire, pupils have to submit their choices in the Easter term of Year 7, so they can start studying their GCSE subjects in Year 8. Tes reports.

A presentation from Thomas Telford School tells parents that GCSE covers ages 12-16 – two years longer than the qualification was originally supposed to be.

Tes has obtained a GCSE options presentation for Thomas Telford School. The slideshow informs parents that ‘Year 7, 8 and 9 are recognised as the ‘lost years’” and that “Year 10, 11 are too short to study GCSEs”.

The presentation says that pupils have “advised” the school that “they would have preferred to start option in Year 8”. As a result, pupils at Thomas Telford “will have four rather than three years to study courses”.

After Tes brought the case to Ofsted’s attention, Mr Harford tweeted last night: “Depressing example identified of a school making pupils choose GCSE options at the end of Y7.

“Really hard to see how this can provide a [broad and balanced] curriculum or how it can be good for pupils, even when ‘pupil performance’ is being ‘maximised’ as claimed.”

Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, suggested that the high-stakes accountability system surrounding exam results might be driving schools to start preparing their pupils for GCSEs at an earlier stage.

But he added: “This may well be a sign of the pressure on some schools who feel that accountability is weighing far more heavily than it ought to.”

Read the full article Pupils forced to make GCSE choices in Year 7

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