The GCSE language loophole: Hundreds of British pupils took English exam meant for foreign students
A group of schools has been criticised for entering hundreds of English-speaking teenagers into a GCSE exam aimed at pupils who moved here from abroad.
Ofsted revealed one of the schools – Harris Academy Orpington in south London – spent £10,000 so almost an entire year group could sit an English as a Second Language International GCSE – even though 95 per cent of the pupils spoke only English.
The results from those who passed the exam could have been used to boost the schools’ performances in league tables. The six schools, which altogether spent about £50,000 entering 700 pupils into the IGCSE, are part of the Harris chain of 48 state-funded primaries and secondaries led by Sir Dan Moynihan – Britain’s best-paid academy chief on £450,000 a year.
The Cambridge International GCSE in English as a Second Language, which costs £67 per entrant, is designed to allow non-native English speakers to show what they have learned. Until this year the qualification could be used as the equivalent to a GCSE in statistics rating school performances. The loophole has now been closed.
The Mail understands that when internal concerns were raised about the use of the exam for 153 pupils at Harris Orpington – which last month received a highly critical ‘Requires Improvement’ Ofsted rating – senior leaders argued it would provide ‘good exam practice’.
A Harris Orpington source said: ‘It is absolutely disgraceful this struggling school should insult its pupils by making them do an exam designed solely for foreigners learning the language. We thought it ...
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