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'Let Btecs count in league tables'

TEACHERS AND an exam board are lobbying for pupils' performance in a set of vocational science exams to be allowed to count in a new league table indicator.

From January a new column is to be introduced in secondary league tables ranking schools on the proportion of pupils achieving a C or better in two science GCSEs.

The qualifications being counted include double science, two separate sciences and applied sciences. However, Btecs in the subjects, which the board that offers them says are taken by 15,000 pupils a year, will not be included.

Keith Milcham, a former science teacher and consultant from East Sussex, said in a letter to The TES: "Strangely, Btecs are acceptable courses to be offered but not to be reported. Could it be that the 'old guard' are wishing to maintain the divide in qualifications?"

Edexcel, which offers the exams, said: "We believe that the decision materially undermines the objectives of the Government's own science and innovation strategy."

As The TES went to press, it seemed the Government was reconsidering. A spokeswoman for the Department for Children, Families and Schools said: "We areconsidering this issue, given the concerns that have been raised to us."

Letters, page 24

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