Letter: GCSEs' success
Your claim that "the gap between high and low-scoring pupils is rising" is something on which we have no evidence. The proportion of students leaving school without a single exam pass has fallen by 1.1 per cent to 6.6 per cent.
Teachers now have greater flexibility in the curriculum with 14- to 16- year-olds to enable those who can to spend some time at college or gaining work experience.
We are also encouraging schools to enter bright students a year or more early for one or two GCSEs where pupils are ready. This is not, as Bethan Marshall claims ("I want my children to be educated, not just examined", 26 August) because we see exams as the only way to stretch bright pupils, but as a complementary measure alongside new summer schools and extra classes for gifted children.
The evidence is that the accessibility and motivational impact of GCSEs has contributed a great deal to the significant rise in staying-on rates and achievement of young people since 1988. Greater vocational opportunities will reinforce this trend.
Secretary of State
Department for Education and Employment
BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital moveTV
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Nick Kyrgios calls former Olympian Dawn Fraser a 'blatant racist' after she tells Wimbledon star to 'go back where their parents came from'
- 3 World learns of app that shows you who unfriended you on Facebook, app promptly crashes
- 4 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
- 5 The Greece debt crisis explained in less than 100 words
Game of Thrones season 6: Daenerys actress Emilia Clarke says '50/50 chance' Jon Snow is alive
Chronixx interview: Reggae sensation on taking the opening spot at Glastonbury and calling Barack Obama a 'waste man'
Game of Thrones season 6: Director Jack Bender says showrunners 'communicate closely' with George RR Martin
Top Gear: Jeremy Clarkson 'can't front ITV motoring show' due to BBC contract clause
Amy Winehouse film: Mark Ronson praises 'respectful' movie as it scores highest ever UK opening for British documentary
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts