Brighter pupils may soon be allowed to skip a year or two in Britain

"Accelerating" bright pupils was once a common way of helping them but the Left look on it as a wicked denial of that treasured but chimerical "equality"

Bright pupils could be allowed to ignore GCSEs and start studying for A-levels at 14. The Education Secretary Michael Gove wants schools to fast-track the cleverest students as soon as they are ready.

Until now, schools would have been at risk of dropping down league tables if their brightest pupils did not take GCSEs. But the tables may be changed to reflect how many pupils bypass GCSEs to start on A-levels.

A Department for Education source said England should think about copying Singapore, where some 20 per cent of pupils take A-levels early.

‘We are considering much greater freedom for schools to accelerate bright kids past GCSEs to do either A-levels or pre-Us [an alternative to A-levels] and introducing league table measures that capture that and reward schools for it, not penalise them,’ the source told the Times Educational Supplement.

‘We want a system that doesn’t disincentivise schools from doing what they think is in the best interests of the kid. ‘If, for example, you said a group of pupils in the top set in maths were going to skip GCSE and go straight to AS-level [the first year of A-levels], then we want to make it clear that they have done a great job. At the moment, they would all score zero.’

The Department for Education confirmed ministers were considering the idea. Under separate plans, pupils aged six are to be made to read in front of school inspectors, it has emerged.

The random tests are part of fresh measures to raise literacy standards in primary schools after they failed to improve under Labour. And secondary school children will be tested too, with on-the-spot spelling and comprehension tests.

England’s chief inspector Christine Gilbert revealed the measures, which could come in next year, as part of plans to streamline school inspections and focus them on struggling schools.

But Christine Blower, of the National Union of Teachers, said: ‘There is already enough accountability and assessment measures for reading and literacy.’


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