Schools watchdog Ofsted has told its inspectors to look out for schools that are attempting to boost their league table scores by entering pupils for subjects with overlapping content.
A letter from the inspectorate published today, says analysis of last year’s exam results shows that some schools may have "entered pupils for qualifications specifically to improve overall school results, although this may not have been in the best interests of the pupils".
It adds: "This occurred when large numbers of pupils were entered for combinations of qualifications with subject content that overlapped substantially."
Look for 'double entries'
This could affect schools’ scores on accountability measures such as the proportion of pupils with five GCSEs at grades A* to C and Progress 8, the new accountability measure being introduced at all schools from this year, the letter says.
It asks inspectors to "identify any subjects with a substantially higher percentage of entry than the national figure".
They should look for double entries in subjects that overlap with English, such as English as a second language and English studies, as well as subjects that overlap with maths, such as statistics and freestanding maths qualifications.
The letter adds: "They should then explore with the school whether entry patterns have been made in the best interests of the pupils."