Growing numbers of education professionals across England may soon have to make the international GCSE a central part of their teaching jobs, newly-released statistics indicate.
According to the latest figures from the country's examination boards, the number of pupils sitting IGCSEs has risen markedly over the past few years, driven largely by the recent decision to allow state schools to put their students forward for the qualifications.
Indeed, according to Cambridge International Examinations, the number of state schools entering pupils for IGCSEs hit 400 over the past academic year, compared with a figure of just 97 two years ago.
Meanwhile, Edexcel has revealed a similar increase in the popularity of the qualification, for which exams are taken at the end of two years rather than in stages over the course of several years, as is the case with standard GCSEs.
Commenting on the trend, Peter Monteath from the Cambridge-based examinations board said: "The feedback we are getting from schools is that they like the flexibility of these syllabuses, which gives teachers more scope to explore different topics with students."
However, despite this notable increase in popularity, the latest figures still show the vast majority of people in teaching jobs in England are still training their students to work towards traditional GCSEs, with some five million youngsters going for these qualifications over the last academic year compared with a total of 50,000 IGCSE entries.
Additionally, despite growing enthusiasm among state schools, private schools continue to lead the way when it comes to switching to the more-flexible IGCSE qualification, the statistics also show.
This comes soon after the minister for education Michael Gove suggested he could soon scrap GCSEs ad potentially revert back to a O-level style examinations within England, an idea many people in teaching jobs across the country have already expressed their concerns about.
Now, education chiefs in Wales have expressed their concerns over the proposals, noting that they, along with their counterparts in Northern Ireland, will carry out their own independent review into examinations.
Posted by Harriet McGowan