Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Guardian letter on private schools "gaming" the system

Of course, it`s welcome news that Labour is demanding an inquiry into the ways private schools are "gaming" the examination system, and Angela Rayner is absolutely correct to say that we cannot have an education system "with different rules for the privileged few" (Labour calls for an inquiry into GCSE changes "gamed" by private schools, 31/12/18). The inquiry, however, must go further than looking into what is happening at GCSE level where clearly private schools prefer to use Cambridge Assessment`s IGCSE exams, because they are "less robust". 
   The fact that more and more private schools are opting for Pre-U examinations rather than A-levels is also worthy of investigation. With much higher percentages of A*/A grades, papers set and marked by teachers in the independent sector, and with a more lightly-regulated regime than A-levels, Pre-U examinations, also provided by Cambridge Assessment, could well be another means of giving the privately-educated yet more advantage over the pupils from underfunded state schools "in the race for university places"!
   The general secretary of the Independent Schools Council might well say that private schools have a duty "to ensure their pupils are fully prepared for their next steps in life", but is it fair that those "steps" are so far ahead of pupils in the state sector, when increasingly suspicious methods are being used? 

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