Top-performing school head questions value of GCSEs

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The Independent Online

The head of the top performing GCSE school claims today that the exam is no longer "academically challenging".

Wycombe Abbey School, a private girls' boarding school in Buckinghamshire, headed the independent schools' exams league table with more than 99 per cent of its candidates scoring an A or A* grade. The 89 pupils who sat the exam this summer achieved 734 A* grades between them.

But Cynthia Hall, its headmistress, while congratulating a "particularly good year group", questioned whether the exam was as rigorous as before. "I would say that maybe it's to do with trying to make GCSEs relevant and applied to students," she said.

"It's completely understandable. It's so they can relate subjects to everyday life. The problem with that is it may make those subjects more accessible but – in our point of view of academic studies for university – it makes it less academic. They have become more and more accessible to students but they are not as academically challenging."