Warwick Mansell, writing in The Observer (30th August, 2009) reports that Comprehensives are to be given the chance to abandon traditional GCSEs in favour of tougher exams ( a feeling shared by some but hotly disputed by others) modelled on the old O-levels. After years of disputes over whether state schools should be able to opt for the International GCSE exam, ministers have now signalled approval for it to be offered in eight subjects, including history, geography and business studies.
However, they still appear reluctant to support IGCSEs in English and mathematics. The concerns trotted out include concerns that these do not require teenagers to study Shakespeare or to answer questions without the aid of a calculator.
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