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Wales introduces new rules to prevent too many early exam entries

20/10/2017 Joanna

Welsh schools are to be subject to new rules designed to prevent too many students from being entered to sit exams early when it is not in their best interests.

From summer 2019, only a pupil's first entry to a GCSE examination will count in their school's performance measures, a change from the current policy that allows schools to count the best grade from across multiple sittings.

This change follows an independent review by Qualifications Wales that indicated that the continued widespread use of early and multiple entry at GCSE poses risks to students and to the system, with more than £3.3 million spent by schools on early exam entries in the last academic year.

Of particular concern was the fact that this practice essentially encourages teachers to train their students in a way that is solely geared towards passing the exam, rather than providing them with wider knowledge of the subject in question.

Welsh education secretary Kirsty Williams explained that this means that many pupils with the potential to earn an A*, A or a B at the end of a two-year course end up settling for a C grade, often because they take their exam early and are not re-entered again. 

She said: "I want every child to reach their full potential in school. Early entry must only be for the minority of pupils who will benefit. GCSEs are designed to be sat after two years of teaching, not one.

"These changes will ensure our young people access a broad and balanced curriculum, and focus in on what's best for our children and young people."

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