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Early entry for new GCSEs?

Discussion in 'English' started by scoutfinch08, Jun 23, 2015.

  1. I have been asked by my SMT to consider entering students for GCSE English Literature in Year 10 and then GCSE English Language in Year 11. I think this is a terrible idea for so many reasons, which I probably don't need to go into here as I suspect I'd be preaching to the converted. But I would find it helpful to know if others are coming under similar pressure, or indeed considering the idea for themselves. I think I have already made a strong case to the SMT for continuing to teach both courses over two years and am waiting to hear back, but in the meantime I would find it helpful to hear the perspective of other English teachers.
  2. CandysDog

    CandysDog Established commenter

    You're right: it is a terrible idea.

    Here's your list of reasons against it for SMT:

    • It's impossible in the first year of the GCSE: the exams don't run until 2017 and the legacy GCSEs won't count in the 2017 league tables
    • Early entry produces lower results (see this report)
    • The league tables' focus is now is on progress, not the C/D borderline (which early entry played to)
    • The new specifications are clearly based more on developing skills than learning content (as anyone who has read the specs can see) – maturity is needed to perform well
    • The split between English Language and English Literature has gone – Language is now content-free and needs Literature to support it
    • English Literature is now as important to the league tables as English Language – why do it earlier when the students will be less ready?
    • Ofsted reports have to comment on whether schools use early entry – if there is even a hint of it being used inappropriately (such as for whole cohorts or non-geniuses), they will come down in the school like a tonne of bricks
    The first point is your trump card, of course. Get it right with the first cohort (easier said than done, I know) and SMT should leave you alone.

    The last point should get their attention too.

    Good luck.
  3. Thanks, Candy's Dog - that's enormously helpful. I had some, but by no means all, of these points covered. In particular, there are points here that will carry real weight with members of our SMT who don't have much understanding of English teaching.
  4. gingerella

    gingerella New commenter

    Also English is only double weighted if both are taken in the same series and the highest grade of either is counted. Very important for progress 8.
  5. CandysDog

    CandysDog Established commenter

    GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature don't have to be taken in the same series for the double weighting to occur (they just both have to be taken at some point), though they will have to be taken in the same series in 2017 (as the new exams don't run until then and the legacy ones don't count).

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