A coalition of schools from the state and independent sectors is expected to launch a campaign to end GCSEs, The Observer reports.

The move comes as increasing numbers of schools are looking for alternatives to exams after the August grading chaos.

Leading independent schools including Eton, Bedales, St Paul’s girls’ school, Latymer upper school and several large state academy chains are discussing plans to replace the exam system.

The Observer reports that the group, Rethinking Assessments, is likely to launch a formal campaign in the next few weeks.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, who has met with members of the group, said if a few large academy trusts decided to reject GCSEs for a replacement system, it would be a “defining moment”.

The news comes as schools become increasingly uneasy about arrangements for the 2021 exams, given that pupils have missed large chunks of schooling and uncertainty around how and whether exams will go ahead next summer.

Schools are preparing in different ways, from working out how pupils can sit “virtual exams” to looking at other options such as Extended Project qualifications.

Others say they are keeping detailed records of student progress should the exams not take place at all

A few private school trailblazers have already created their own mini-qualifications, following the example of Bedales, which has run a separate system for several years.

The Department for Education said it expects exams to take place next year.