Latymer Upper School in London is set to abandon GCSEs apart from English and maths, creating its own qualifications that allow for “deep, scholarly learning”, its headmaster has said.
The Times reports that the school says it will claw back a quarter of its teaching time by dispensing with the full GCSE timetable and creating its own system, which will be taught from 2027.
The Telegraph reported earlier this week that Bedales School in Hampshire was set to make a similar move. Its well-established Bedales Assessed Courses have been studied in a wide range of subjects and were launched in 2006.
Ian Emerson, the deputy head academic of Latymer Upper, said teenagers would be stretched to the equivalent of a grade 10 and beyond and also better prepared for A-levels with the new qualifications.
This summer, 55 per cent of GCSEs at the school were awarded level 9.
The school hopes the new system will reduce stress and anxiety and allow for the teaching of skills to enhance pupils’ employability. He told The Times:
“We’ve been discussing for several years the possibility of replacing GCSEs with some internal courses. The pandemic and all that came out of it was a big driver for us. Our staff just felt very empowered to say, we know how to assess these pupils. We know what we need to do.”
Pupils who join the school next year will be the first to take the new qualifications from autumn 2027.
It is likely that other independent school will follow Bedales and Latymer Upper as dissatisfaction grows with GCSEs, particularly since the pandemic.
“It’s going to be deep, scholarly learning alongside brilliant evidencing of skills,” Emerson added.