GCSE results: Top schools could be left languishing at the bottom of league tables

Birmingham Mail, 19.08.15, as thousands of pupils find out what grades they achieve, those who have studied International GCSEs will see their grades discounted from the league tables

Top Birmingham schools could be left languishing at the bottom of GCSE league tables when results are revealed tomorrow.

As thousands of pupils find out what grades they achieve, those who have studiedInternational GCSEs will see their grades discounted from the league tables.

It is likely to see schools that usually top the tables instead coming bottom, following the shake-up by the Department for Education.

The DfE first removed a select few IGCSEs from the league tables last year, leading to one private elite school in Birmingham labelling the system a “shambles”.

Edgbaston’s fee-paying King Edward’s School was left shocked to discover the 2013/14 statistics placed it 191st out of 219 schools in the Midlands for its GCSE results.

According to the figures, NONE of its pupils achieved five or more GCSE grades A* to C.

In reality, the school had a record year – with 100 per cent of its pupils achieving five GCSEs grades A* to C.

However, two-thirds of its subjects were taken as IGCSEs, an exam favoured by some schools – particularly independents – because they are believed to be more “rigorous”.

But some academics claim IGCSEs are easier for pupils to pass, and the DfE will this year exclude all IGCSE results from the league tables.

King Edward’s School is one of at least 15 schools in the Midlands teaching IGCSEs.

Chief Master John Claughton said: “The Government has decided, for reasons that lie beyond my comprehension, that some IGCSEs – exams taken the world over – don’t count.

“It is a crass decision, taken for no good reason.

“According to the Government, IGCSEs are less rigorous than GCSEs yet the schools that do them opt to do so because they are MORE rigorous.

“For hundreds and thousands of schools, the random and capricious nature of league tables and the attention paid to them can be deeply damaging.”

It comes as the Government has radically overhauled GCSEs to toughen them up. It hopes the move will see schools dropping IGCSEs and reverting back to GCSEs.

Meanwhile, vocational qualifications and re-sits of failed exams have also been removed from the league tables. As a result of the changes last year GCSE results fell across all schools nationally and they are expected to do so again tomorrow.

Education secretary Nicky Morgan previously said: “By introducing new, higher-quality GCSEs, we are ensuring that the qualifications used in league tables are, and remain, rigorous. For too long pupils were offered courses of no value to them and schools felt pressured to enter young people for exams before they were ready.

“By stripping out thousands of poor quality qualifications, and removing resits from tables, some schools have seen changes in their standings. But fundamentally young people’s achievement matters more than being able to trumpet ever-higher grades.

“We have raised the bar, and I know schools are already rising to the challenge, ensuring our young people leave school ready to succeed not just in Britain, but on the global stage.”

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