Danger of ditching GCSEs

29th September 2006 at 01:00
Private schools risk damaging the exams system by dropping GCSEs and A-levels in favour of tougher alternatives, the chairman of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference said this week.

On the eve of the HMC's annual meeting in Manchester, Andrew Boggis said schools should retain qualifications which still carry a "national currency". His comments come as dozens of independent schools are ditching GCSEs in favour of the international GCSE following concerns that exams fail to identify the brightest pupils and are over-reliant on coursework.

They see the International Baccalaureate and the Cambridge Pre-U, to be introduced in 2008, as attractive alternatives.

Mr Boggis, head of the pound;11,300-a-year Forest school, in north-east London, said: "I have often compared these exams to the Eton wall game. If they were really good, everyone would be doing them. For every school that announces they are converting to the IB, there will be 30 who consider it and chose to remain with the existing qualifications, but that's never a news story. I'm quite happy to say that we looked very carefully at the iGCSE but chose to maintain the status quo."

A-levels for top people, 9

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today