25th June 2018
Daily summary of the latest news and opinions from the world of independent education brought to you by Education Advisers...
Britain's top private schools have shunned the so-called toughest GCSEs ever amid fears pupils would become guinea pigs for the new system.
The head of Britain’s largest independent schools body has defended the country’s leading independent schools after reports that they have refused to allow their pupils to sit this summer’s new tougher GCSEs, even though state school schools have been forced to take them.
More than 500,000 state school pupils took the new tougher GCCE this summer, which were introduced in 2015 to toughen up syllabuses and cut down on the number of students getting A*s.
But, the vast majority of the top 30 independent schools, such as Eton College and Wellington College, opted to take the international GCSE this summer, amid fears the new system might see state students “shut out from top universities”, The Sunday Times reported.
The international GCSE, which is no longer recognised in government league tables, is widely seen as an easier test for pupils, but Shaun Fenton, chair of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC), defended independent schools that had not switched to the new qualification, saying that critics of independent schools were stoking “phantom fears” and that IGCSEs were “tried and tested”.
Mr Fenton, who is also headmaster of Reigate Grammar School, said on Sunday: “Seeping into the national conversation… is the idea that the new GCSEs are harder than existing international GCSEs. This is not only wrong but making such pronouncements when candidates were still sitting exams was unfair and undermining to children.”
An experimental 10am start for sixth-formers at a girls’ school is leaving them less moody and more focused
A private school has given up trying to persuade teenagers to get out of bed early in the morning.
Queen Anne’s, a senior school in Caversham, Berkshire, has decided to test scrapping its 8.30am start for the sixth form and allow lessons to begin at 10am.
The headmistress, Julia Harrington, said waking an adolescent at 7am was “the same as waking a 55-year-old at 5am”.
The girls’ school, which has both day and boarding pupils, decided to try the later start — and later finish — after discovering that its sixth-formers were often sleeping for only 7½ hours a night.
They should be getting between nine and 10 hours’ sleep, and the deficit could make them moody, stressed and less focused in class, according to scientists.
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