Private schools ‘at bottom of GCSE league tables’ after shake-up

ITV News, 29/01/15, many of the country's top private schools expect to find themselves at the bottom of the league tables today following a shake up of the GCSE system. HMC Chairman Richard Harman, Headmaster of Uppingham School is quoted.

It comes after the government announced International GCSEs (IGCSEs) - used by many private schools as they are deemed more rigorous - would no longer be counted in the rankings.

Richard Harman, chair of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC) said the decision to drop IGCSEs from the league tables made the rankings a "nonsense".

He said: "Several of the UK's most highly performing independent schools and others offering this excellent qualification will now appear to be bottom of the class in the Government's rankings.

"This obviously absurd situation creates further confusion for parents as they cannot compare schools' performance accurately and transparently.

"Many HMC schools will continue to offer the IGCSE as experience tells us it is rigorous and offers a good basis for sixth form study."

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) has launched an alternative league table after saying the government model "does not give a full picture".

ASCL general secretary Brian Lightman said: "We want parents to have as much information as possible, but it needs to be presented in a way that is genuinely useful and gives a clear, a full picture of the quality of education that schools provide and the outcomes that young people achieve. That is what really matters.”

A Department of Education spokesman said: "We have made important changes to a system that rewarded the wrong outcomes.

"We have stripped out qualifications that were of little value and are making sure pupils take exams when they are ready, not before.

"The changes may result in some variation across all types of schools, ensuring they are held to account for the right outcomes. We issued guidance to all schools on this."

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