Richard Harman letter to the Telegraph re: league tables

The Telegraph, 02/02/15, Richard Harman, Chairman of HMC and Headmaster of Uppingham School writes in response to the Education Secretary's calls for independent schools to revert from IGCSEs to GCSEs.

SIR – The Education Secretary’s assertion that this year’s school league tables reflect the “new, higher-quality GCSEs” introduced by the current Government is misleading (Comment, January 30).

In fact, the first exam of the reformed GCSEs is not until 2017, so they are entirely untried and untested – unlike the excellent International GCSEs (IGCSEs), taught in many of our leading schools and now suddenly dumped from the tables.

Heads of independent schools offer these because we have the freedom to choose courses based only on what is best for our pupils, free from constant and contradictory political interference. All school heads should have that choice.

It is absurd to have a league-table system which is so confusing to everyone; I ask education ministers to come up with a better plan for next year.

Richard Harman
Headmaster, Uppingham School

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