GCSEs have "run their course" and should be scrapped, a leading headmistress has suggested.
With the school leaving age set to be raised to 18, when students sit qualifications such as A-levels, national exams at the age of 16 are no longer relevant, according to Dr Helen Wright, the new president of the Girls' Schools Association.
"We are raising the school leaving age to 18. Why do we need to focus on the age of 16?" said Dr Wright. "Why are we focusing on a very academic form of assessment at the age of 16 and then at 18?
"Shouldn't we be scrapping the one at 16 or diminishing its value or importance, maybe making it an internal school check, and also possibly looking at different routes from an early age according to different rates and practices?"
Dr Wright suggested there needs to be more flexibility to allow students to take different options at different times. For example, she said, a student may not be interested in taking GCSE French at 14, but may be interested in a one-year course at the age of 17.
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