HMC’s response to the DfE’s decision not to include IGCSEs in 2017 school performance tables

Dr William Richardson, General Secretary of HMC (the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference) said:

“HMC schools are strongly committed to the notion of choice in public examinations.  As such, the government's attempt to manipulate school decision-making by removing IGCSEs from school performance tables in 2017 is an unwelcome and retrograde step.

"We strongly endorse the statement of Cambridge International Examinations (CEI) that there is no educational justification whatsoever for this policy intervention.  Instead, it seems designed merely to protect those linear GCSEs which will be examined for the first time in 2017 from established rival qualifications such as the IGCSE.

"As with previous decisions about IGCSE and performance tables, the timing of this DfE intervention is very unreasonable, coming as it does at a point when school planning schedules are already well advanced.

"The bolstering of this decision by the exams regulator Ofqual also rings hollow.  It says that monitoring standards in both IGCSEs and new GCSEs when they are first awarded would create 'an unacceptable level of risk'.  It is more likely that the calculation of risk has been political – that the uptake of new GCSEs might be thwarted by the quality and strength of existing IGCSEs."