Schools enter pupils twice for English exams to boost rankings


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The Independent Online

Hundreds of secondary schools are entering pupils for two English qualifications to boost their rankings in league tables, it was claimed today.

As well as taking GCSE English, teenagers are being entered for International GCSE (IGCSE) in the subject as schools attempt to boost their league table positions, according to the Times Educational Supplement (TES).

Around 320 secondaries are believed to be entering at least some students for both exams, as part of a strategy by the Performance in Excellence Club. This not-for-profit group, run by Sir John Rowling, offers schools advice on how to improve their GCSE results.

An estimated 400 secondaries across England have joined the club and, of these, about 80 per cent are thought to have at least some pupils taking both GCSE and IGCSE English, the TES reported.

Sir John said the main aim was to help more students achieve a good grade in English, but he acknowledged it was also a “belt and braces” approach for schools. “Most heads thought the IGCSE was just for independent schools and that it didn’t count towards league tables, but we have studied it very carefully and we’ve found it can be very appropriate for some state school students,” he told the TES.

The Government announced two years ago that state schools in England would be able to offer IGCSEs, and that the qualifications would count towards league tables. A Department for Education Spokesperson said: “This is clearly not in the best interests of pupils.”