Exam reforms boost private pupils in race for universities

Dec 30, 2018 by

Tough tests are forced on state schools as data reveals benefit to independent sector

Tory education reforms are giving private school pupils a huge additional advantage in the hunt for university places and jobs by allowing them to sit easier GCSEs than the more rigorous exams that are being forced upon state schools, new official figures suggest.

Data released in parliamentary answers, and research into the exams chosen by private schools, shows the extent to which the independent sector is still opting for less demanding, internationally-recognised GCSEs (IGCSEs), which state schools are progressively being barred from using.

Last night the Labour MP Lucy Powell, a former shadow education secretary, who received the data after tabling a parliamentary question, said it was now clear that reforms of the GCSE system had put state school pupils at a disadvantage compared with their private school counterparts

“State school pupils have been treated like guinea pigs while many independent schools have gamed the system, insulating their institutions and their pupils against these changes, keeping the easier international GCSEs completely, or waiting for the new GCSEs to bed in before opting to enter their pupils on to these courses,” she said.

The parliamentary answers reveal that in 2017-18, 91% of international GCSE entries in core (EBacc) subjects such as English, maths and the sciences were in independent schools. A pupil in an independent school was 136 times more likely to sit an IGCSE than his or her counterpart in a state-funded school. Analysis of entries in all subjects shows that three out of every four IGCSEs taken were sat in private schools.

The Department for Education says that in the year in which a reformed GCSE subject is first examined, the equivalent IGCSE subject will be removed from Key Stage 4 performance tables, effectively meaning that state schools cannot use them.

Source: Exam reforms boost private pupils in race for universities | Education | The Guardian

Source: Exam reforms boost private pupils in race for universities | Education | The Guardian

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