Independent schools say reformed exams will allow them to pull further ahead of state sector results

TES, 17.06.16, fee-paying schools claim gap in results will widen with the introduction of new tougher GCSEs and A levels. HMC Chairman Chris King, Headmaster of leading independent Leicester Grammar School is quoted.

The government’s GCSE and A-level reforms will widen the attainment gap between state and private schools, headteachers in the independent sector believe.

Pupils in fee-paying schools already achieve significantly better average grades compared with the state sector, and now heads say that reformed qualifications will stretch this advantage.

Chris King, headmaster of Leicester Grammar School and chair of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, which represents elite independent schools, said: “It’s quite likely that the best independent schools will pull ahead in their proportion of the top grades."

The heads say this is because the coursework and modular assessment that they had argued favoured the state sector is being abolished or significantly scaled back.

Private schools also claim that greater resources will leave them better prepared than state schools to adapt to the reforms. And they believe their pupils will gain a disproportionately large share of the new grade 9s, the highest grades in new tougher GCSEs, which will be harder to achieve than the current A*.

“Because the [grade] scale itself is being stretched out, the performance of top independent schools at the high end will become more apparent,” Mr King said.

This is an edited version of an article in the 17 June edition of TES.

Read more © TES