More pupils taking international GCSEs

Books Pupils starting GCSE courses this autumn will mainly do exams at the end of two years

Related Stories

More pupils in the UK are taking international GCSEs, figures from exam boards suggest.

In England, the increase has followed a lifting of a ban which stopped state schools from entering pupils for them.

The exams - known as IGCSEs - are taken at the end of two years - unlike many GCSEs, where students take exams in stages over two years.

Overall, UK schools made 50,000 IGCSE entries this year, this compares to the more than 5m GCSE entries last year.

From September, pupils in England starting GCSE courses will mostly take exams after two years.

In 2010, the coalition said state schools should be allowed to enter pupils for IGCSEs.

Until then, the qualifications could not be counted in school league tables.

Two exam boards which produce the qualifications are reporting increases in take-up.

Cambridge International Examinations says 400 state schools in the UK are now preparing pupils for IGCSEs, compared with 97 in 2010.

Among private schools, 500 are using IGCSEs, compared with 320 in 2010.

The Edexcel exam body also has IGCSEs and says the number of schools and colleges entering pupils for them in the UK more than doubled in the past two years, rising to just under 2,000.

'O-level style' exams

A spokesman for Pearson, Edexcel's parent company, said: "The continuing popularity of IGCSEs in this country and abroad supports our view that students should be able to choose the qualifications that suit their interests, ambitions and style of learning."

Peter Monteath, from Cambridge International Examinations, said: "The feedback we are getting from schools is that they like the flexibility of these syllabuses, which gives teachers more scope to explore different topics with students.

"Their linear structure also gives students space and time to study topics in-depth."

Some have voiced concern about the move away from modular exams, where students can revise particular topics for an exam rather than the whole syllabus.

The change applies to exams taken by pupils in England.

Education ministers in Northern Ireland and Wales are considering whether to follow England or keep existing styles of exam.

They recently wrote to Education Secretary Michael Gove to complain they were not consulted over leaked plans to make further changes to GCSEs for England - billed as a return to O-level-style exams.

The Welsh government is conducting a review of qualifications for teenagers and says it will make a decision after that is complete.


More on This Story

Related Stories


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • Comment number 73.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    71 Mark-from-Manchester

    Try reading the research ... performance at school is linked quite clearly to parental education and aspirations. It doesn't help your Grammar School argument that those countries with the best social mobility not only have comprehensive schools but they zone the intakes ... bus the children .. so that schools have a similar social mix as well as educational intake

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    67.Il Pirata

    That is exactly the sort of warped reasoning that banned Grammar schools. Their demise didn't help everyone else - it just led to the lowest levels of social mobilty for decades and the domination of the privately educated in our society.

    Now want to repeat your mistake. Perhaps you should take history lessons & see why Soviet Russia failed before advocating more of the same.

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    8 Minutes ago
    @46 - Actually Mark, the A* grade was introduced in 1994 under a CONSERVATIVE government.....//

    Who also laid the groundwork for the mass immigration that Labour allowed to wreck the economy and environment when they took over.

    Two examples of the main parties working together to wreck the country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    If everyone here was so successful in school and has all the answers for how to make Britain work, why are you sat posting on the BBC all day every day? I thought you would all be in positions of responsibility, managing people and generating wealth for the nation.

    I'm off work recovering from surgery and all I see every day is the same people posting ALL day, most of it far right rhetoric.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    65 captainswing

    So did I. But surely your Grammar school education taught you that the selective use of isolated examples is inappropriate when trying to support a hypothesis. Especially with no control example ... how do you know we wouldn't have done well and gone to university had we been to comprehensive schools? What I do know is that being 'failed' at age 11 wouldn't have helped.

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    Much of this "it's too easy" talk comes from a rose tinted view of the past where the education system ensured that the social structures of the day were kept as they were while throwing a few crumbs to the brighter state school pupils. If you really want to raise standards ban private education and then you'll see the people with the power and ifnfluence wanting to change things for the better.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    Why can't we have a common pass mark of C= >60%, B=>80% and A=>90%
    instead of averages for regions, so that the top x% get A*, then x% get A, etc.
    If you are bright in a good region, you may get a C, but in a por region an A*.
    That is what is unfair, go back to pass marks and set grades for the country, then stadards will rise.

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    9 Minutes ago
    56 captainswing
    Well, I came from a poor background in the sixties, gained a place at my local Grammar school and had an excellent education and went on to university. It was a truly criminal act to disband the Grammar schools.

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    I have a child who has sat exams for IB Diploma then found out that they were taught the A Level Syllabus...and yes majority of the students failed. How could this have happened?

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    As Labour found out education is being run not in the best interests of the pupils but for staff or some political universal ideal.

    The IGSE could just become the next GCSE.

    The problem is not the exams but the national curriculum. Anything that favours only a proportion of students has been removed from secondary to A levels i.e. maths calculus.

    Secondary education is the problem

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    Modern educational orthodoxy seems to be about freeing and expanding students' minds, a progressive alternative to the horrible old ways, with all their facts and figures etc.

    But the result seems to be the opposite. Yet again, the pc/left brigade have made an utterly predictable mistake, which is having to be corrected.

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    @46 - Actually Mark, the A* grade was introduced in 1994 under a CONSERVATIVE government.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    56 captainswing

    Try reading the research. For example a recent statistical analysis in Kent where there are still grammar schools shows that social mobility as indicated by exam results is lower than England as a whole and significantly lower than London. Indeed a major report as long ago as 1959 found Grammar Schools reduced social mobility.

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    An internationally recognised qualification? A test at the end to see how much of the teaching has actually sunk in? The questions not dumbed down, coupled with an objective marking system not aimed at pushing schools up league tables? Good grief, what is the educational establishment coming to? Next thing we know, they'll be bringing back proper "O" levels.

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    @milvusvestal : not at all. Read my previous posts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    iGCSE Maths is certainly more demanding than GCSE Maths. However, that doesn't mean that the iGCSE is better or fairer. However, iGCSE includes calculus: this provides more fun for the students and is a better basis for advanced study. Calculus used to be part of the O-level syllabus and should have been included in the GCSE. It was left out because it was too difficult - what nonsense.

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    Another load of old claptrap. Educationalists will do anything but suggest the obvious solution which is to bring back the Grammar schools and streaming. The teaching unions are always banging on about social mobility and this would solve the problem in one go. Trouble is the teaching profession is strangled by dogma.

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    Is this because these examinations are easier to pass, with multiple-choice questions that don't tax the brain of examinee or examiner?

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    @Bakarra - but students ARE continually assessed throughout the who?...their teachers! Assessment does not need to be done externally, with the option of retaking ad infinitum, to be worthwhile.


Page 3 of 6


More Education & Family stories



Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.