Heads of private Yorkshire schools question decision to exclude IGCSE from tables

Head of St. Peter's School in York, Leo Winkley, centre, is pictured with students celebrating the school's success in GCSE exams in 2012.

Head of St. Peter's School in York, Leo Winkley, centre, is pictured with students celebrating the school's success in GCSE exams in 2012.

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THE LEAGUE TABLES show several independent schools achieving a zero for the number of pupils achieving the benchmark of five good GCSEs, including English and maths, because they take a version of the qualification that is not included by the Department for Education.

Private school heads criticised the decision which they said gives a misleading impression of the performance of their pupils.

St Peter’s School, in York, is one of the most high profile independent schools and the oldest in the region.

However tables published today have it ranked bottom in York because it took international GCSEs which have not registered. The school’s headmaster Leo Winkley said: “The analogy I use is that its like a football league table where all a team’s goals scored outside the box haven’t counted. We should take league tables with a pinch of salt but if the intention is to inform parents about schools then this isn’t working. And if the intention is to straitjacket schools into doing certain qualifications then this will not work because independent schools will simply exercise their independence.”

The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) was another of the schools affected. Incoming principal Sue Woodroofe said league tables “do not accurately reflect the academic outcomes for schools choosing this well-established, rigorous qualification”.

She added: “At GSAL, we choose IGCSE courses in subjects including mathematics, science and modern languages. IGCSEs are chosen where we believe it offers the best curriculum for our pupils, the most engaging subject matter, and the best preparation for A-level.”

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