Advanced search

Year 9 and Year 10 GCSE students - unfairly treated by Ofqual?

(188 Posts)
barbosska Sat 04-Apr-20 17:27:39

Students in our school sit GCSE exams in Years 9,10,11. Each of these year groups has lessons in Math, English, Science plus 2-3 GCSE courses of their choice. Each GCSE course runs for a year instead of two, and students from Year 9,10 and 11 all sit together in the same lessons and then sit GCSEs together. They do not study any other subjects except for the above.

Yesterday's Ofqual indicated that Year 9 and 10 students will not be awarded the GCSE grades because they can do these exams in Year 11. This would however put them in a highly disadvantageous position next Year, as not only they would need to do remaining GCSEs in one year instead of two, but also to keep on top of the subjects they have learnt this year and for which they were ready to sit exams.

There are not many schools in the country who organise GCSEs this way and I would very much appreciate to hear from people in the same situation as us: what are you and your schools planning to do?

All these children have sat in one class listening to the same teacher, did the same job, had the same teacher and now Year 11 will get the grades and the rest of students will not - how is that fair? Ofqual should have at least left to the discretion of the schools whether to , but not just pull them all out from the exam registers. Ofqual said they will run a consultation soon, but who are they going to consult - just their internal departments? The fact they they have come up with the proposition already indicates that they have no idea how some schools structure their courses.

OP’s posts: |
Darbs76 Sat 04-Apr-20 17:40:45

It’s a tricky one - can they sit them in the autumn term? I can see why they excluded them as the point of having to award them this way is to help children move on to next stage. I know my son would have chosen to sit the exams anyway if he could, but he can’t as will impact on his A levels

Ihatemyseleffordoingthis Sat 04-Apr-20 17:44:33

Why on earth do they do it in such a bizarre way?

titchy Sat 04-Apr-20 17:45:32

To be blunt, blame your school. DfE, ofqual, OFSTED etc have repeatedly told schools not to organise themselves this way. Your kids were always going to get poorer results, particularly in year 9.

Aragog Sat 04-Apr-20 17:50:49

I would blame school.

Schools are advised not to sit GCSEs early, especially since the introduction fo the new GCSE qualifications. What your school is doing is not the norm and not recommended.

There is no way they'd be wanting to set Y9 and Y10 grades in this situation. It is a last resort for Y11 and Y13 children. Its not ideal for them, so why push that out for extra children who don't need it. Y9 and Y10 will have the chance to sit the proper exams in the Autumn session or in the next summer sessions. They don't need these results in order to move onto their next year at school. Y11 and Y13 can do too but it is far harder for them to move onto the next phase of their education if they do so.

The main people who it is really unfair for is external candidates who are unlikely to be given a grade, as its pretty impossible to gather the necessary evidence for them unfortunately.

BlessYourCottonSocks Sat 04-Apr-20 17:56:53

Agree with the others. Why on earth would you make a 14 year old sit a GCSE they'd studied for 1 year? It's ridiculous. They are intended to be sat at 16 after 2 years of study - and I can tell you as a teacher of GCSE and A level that the new GCSEs are ridiculously content heavy, to the point where we now start in Y9 as otherwise we can't cram it all in. A Y9 with one year's study is at a grave disadvantage.

Your school sounds poorly organised and out of kilter with others. Unfortunately if you decide to do things 'differently' then you can expect this when it comes to national qualifications.

drumblebumble Sat 04-Apr-20 17:56:54

The guidance says they haven't made a decision about this yet. Suggest you read it, here:

drumblebumble Sat 04-Apr-20 18:00:41

This bit:

barbosska Sat 04-Apr-20 18:47:47

drumblebumble, yes, I have read the guidance, they've mentioned the consultation, but it is not clear who they are going to consult.

OP’s posts: |
TheEmojiFormerlyKnownAsPrince Sat 04-Apr-20 18:52:45

I thought Ofsted had come down hard on this! All
ours just do the 2 year GCSe

barbosska Sat 04-Apr-20 18:57:58


Our school does seems to be out of sync with the others, but it is not alone, there was an article of one academy head in Guardian yesterday that their school faces the same problem.

DfE and Ofsted may not have encouraged early GCSEs, but they have not prohibited them either. I would not say that our school is poorly organised, the organisation is fine, otherwise they would not be in the top 3% nationally and the reason they do early GCSEs is because from their experience it is easier to focus on 5 subjects one year and then other five in the following year than on ten subjects for two years.

I personally have observed my DD last year when she did her 11 GCSEs in Year 11 and it was a nightmare. My DS was in Year 9 last year and he did his three GCSEs and got 9 in all three. However I agree that for some students it can be too early.

Anyway, the fact of the matter is that year 9 and 10 have put in the same amount of work and effort into these exams as Year 11, and to ignore this fact is wrong. The resits in September are only for those who are not happy with their grades. If Ofqual decided not to award year 9 and 10 the grades, then there is no option of resit for them in September.

OP’s posts: |
YinuCeatleAyru Sat 04-Apr-20 18:59:08

the school is at fault here, trying to game the system and it has backfired on them. they should teach all courses simultaneously over 2 years as the courses are designed to be. doing it that way may produce a nice lot of GCSE results but ultimately it doesn't produce well educated children and employers will be short-changed as they think they are getting someone more capable than they are. every other 15-16 yo is expected to manage to keep 8-10 subjects in their brains, the school can and should reorganise to teach the subjects to exams in year 11 from now on.

Ihatemyseleffordoingthis Sat 04-Apr-20 19:04:55

It sounds totally messed up to me.

It may not be "prohibited" but damn sure it's considered very poor educational practice.

barbosska Sat 04-Apr-20 19:06:22


So, basically what you are saying is if someone gets 9 in, say, History GCSE in Year 9, he/she is less capable then someone who gets 9 in Year 11, right? Is this not the other way round?

OP’s posts: |
Darbs76 Sat 04-Apr-20 19:07:30

Agree it’s very poor to do GCSE’s like this. I’d imagine the reason for it is primarily to push up results. I think it should be banned rather than discouraged. It does seem unfair but also it’s not stopping them moving on with their education. The school might stop doing it, as now what are they going to do?

Ihatemyseleffordoingthis Sat 04-Apr-20 19:08:51

Yep. I would agree with Yinu. If they have only studied crammed 4 subjects they are less capable for someone who sits them later.

PeppaisaBitch Sat 04-Apr-20 19:11:29

Ours do 1 gcse in y9 1 in y10 and the rest in y11. They are also taught in mixed years. So all the y9, 10&11 students sitting history are in the same class. I believe that since y11 students will be allowed to sit their exams autumn term if they disagree with the grade they are given this option should also be given to y9/10 students which will at least take the pressure off for the summer. Perhaps you should contact the school for clarification.

LisaSimpsonsbff Sat 04-Apr-20 19:12:55

Well, if it's not gaming the system then what's the problem with having to do it the normal way. You've said it'll disadvantage them to have to do them all at once, i.e. they gain an advantage from spacing them out in this way.

PeppaisaBitch Sat 04-Apr-20 19:14:19

Also our school compensate by either doing a short fat or a long thin. Short fat is 5hrs a week for one year. Long thin is 2hrs a week year 1 and 3hrs a week year2 so teaching hours is the same for both courses.

noblegiraffe Sat 04-Apr-20 19:15:16

The only reason they’re going through with this hastily bodged together mess of teacher assessment for Y11 and 13 is that they NEED their results for their next steps.

Y9 and 10 don’t NEED their results. It would be totally ridiculous to go through the whole predicted grade process when they could easily sit their exams in another series. If they might have to ‘keep subjects going alongside others’, well that’s what every other student is juggling.

PeppaisaBitch Sat 04-Apr-20 19:16:03

The problem is presumably they've already started this. The year 10s won't have studied 3 of their subjects so can't spend time recapping what they need for the 3 they have and learning 3more. Not enough hours in the week.

BelleSausage Sat 04-Apr-20 19:16:18

Schools are absolutely not supposed to do this and have been told so in no uncertain term. If the school have chosen to do this they have made a very poor professional decision that is a pretty thin attempt to game the system and overall robs the students of learning experiences.

The students will not miss out in the long run and will have just as good a chance as any other Yr 9 or 10 student in the country.

Blueemeraldagain Sat 04-Apr-20 19:16:56

Of course it’s much, much easier to do GCSEs in batches of 4! Come on!

Your school ignored repeated guidance, took a gamble and in this very specific circumstance it hasn’t paid off.

I teach in an SEMH secondary school and we do a 2.5-3 year GCSE because I (English teacher) only get 2 hours of lessons a week with each year group. We have to constantly justify this to governors, Ofsted etc.

CharlieTangoBanana Sat 04-Apr-20 19:18:22

The world is being "unfairly treated" by coronavirus, go figure!
Yr 9 & 10 may get a chance to sit an actual exam next year, life's not fair which in itself is a valuable life lesson.

noblegiraffe Sat 04-Apr-20 19:18:30

can't spend time recapping what they need for the 3 they have and learning 3more. Not enough hours in the week.

They’ve gained from now to the end of June to start teaching new content that would have been spent sitting exams.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in