Kings of Wessex students withdrawn from GCSE exam with six weeks to go due to government decision
PARENTS of Year 11 students at Kings Of Wessex Academy have been angered by a sudden decision to cancel a GCSE exam in the wake of a government announcement.
Mums and dads will have received a letter last week telling them of a change to GCSE exams.
The academy, in Cheddar, previously gave pupils the opportunity to take a foundation GCSE maths exam in November, and an advanced maths GCSE in June.
But new rules introduced by Education Secretary Michael Gove mean that only one exam in a subject will count towards a school’s position in the school league tables.
So, instead, the Kings students will now only sit a practice paper under examination conditions in November.
In a letter issued by the academy, parents were told that “the Government announced that only the first attempt at a GCSE would count in the grades publicly reported for schools and academies.
“The Government has taken this step because it believes that giving a young person more than one chance to pass an important examination is wrong and that they should be given only one opportunity.”
A spokesman for the school said: “Further to Education Secretary Michael Gove’s announcement on Sunday, September 29, that only the first entry for GCSE exams will count towards schools’ performance measures, The Kings of Wessex Academy wrote to all Years 10 and 11 parents last week to explain their response.
“Having carefully considered all the facts and its situation as an outstanding academy, the academy believes the best course of action for students is that they are withdrawn from the November GCSE maths exam, given some students may not achieve their full potential at this first attempt in this important core subject.
“Students will have the opportunity to practice past exam papers, which is proven to enhance success in the final exam; students will also continue to receive the full support of the maths department, including opportunities to attend extra sessions and Easter revision.
“As an outstanding academy, Kings wishes all students to achieve their full potential.
“It remains proud of its successful GCSE and A-level exam results.”
But some mums and dads are not happy.
A parent of a year 11 student, who wishes to remain anonymous, wrote to us to draw attention to “the Kings of Wessex putting league tables above the interests of their pupils”.
“At the beginning of last week, the year 11 pupils were told that the foundation maths exams they are due to take in six weeks, were to be cancelled,” she said.
“Eventually a letter was sent home to parents arriving on Saturday informing them of this change.
“It stated the reason for canceling the exams was that the grades obtained would be used to secure funding.
“Pupils were due to take foundation mathematics in November and then advanced in the summer, so actually two different levels of exams.
“However, the government is only recognising one examination per subject, per year.
“Therefore the academy has decided that the funding is more important than the pupils achieving to the best of their ability.
“The academy also ensured parents could not apply to do the foundation exam privately, by ensuring they were not informed of the withdrawal of the exam until the day after the closing date for private applications.”
See the letter in on our website.