Reformed GCSEs put pupils with SEND ’10 steps back’


Tes is reporting that nearly three quarters of school leaders think changes to GCSEs have disadvantaged pupils with SEND, a poll has revealed.

A survey by Tes and the Association of School and College Leaders put the following question to school leaders: “Some heads are concerned that the removal of coursework from GCSEs will disadvantage pupils with SEND. Do you believe this to be true?”

In response to the question, which was answered by 422 ASCL members from schools and colleges in England, 73 per cent replied “yes”. Thirteen percent replied “no” and the same figure replied “not sure”.

Vijita Patel, principal of Swiss Cottage School, Development and Research Centre – a special school in London – told Tes that the way the new GCSE qualification is geared – particularly its focus on pupils engaging with their working memory over the two-year period in which the course is covered – disadvantages some pupils with SEND.

“Their actual cognitive ability is on a par with pupils of their own age – it’s that the design of the linear exam is almost putting them 10 steps back,” she said.

However, Ms Patel suggested that SEND pupils could potentially be held back by holding alternative qualifications as employers did not see them as holding the same “currency” as GCSEs.

Read more Reformed GCSEs put pupils with SEND ’10 steps back’

Please tell me your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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