Early Entry Policy

This policy refers to entries for students pre Summer 2016.  New GCSE courses in English, Mathematics and other subjects mean that the policy will be reviewed once more information is available.  Current Year 11 (taking their final examinations in Summer 2017) will all take the new examinations in English and Mathematics which are first examined in June 2017.

For examination results and other performance measures please click here to go to the Performance section of the website

What is early entry?

The government, for the purposes of performance tables, defines this as students taking GCSE examinations which result in a GCSE grade before the summer exam season in Year 11 or submission of BTEC courses to gain the final outcome before the summer of Year 11 where it counts in Performance Tables..

The government intends to take the result from this first entry as the result to be considered in any performance table analysis.  Even when students take two different syllabi in the same exam session, the first calendared exam counts.  They ignore later/higher grades for this purpose even though these higher grades will be taken before the end of KS4. 

Implications for the school and the individual student:

Early entry is part of a considered strategy to support more students to achieve higher grades in the long term.  However, this policy:

  • Advantages the following groups of students who re-take the examination to improve their grade (NB their improvements will not be counted in performance tables):
those borderline C/D grade students who benefit from more than one chance to achieve
those students who need the experience of having failed to get their target grade to focus them on revision and practice
those borderline B/C grade students who achieve grade C (often at Foundation entry) and can then work with confidence and self belief to acquire the additional skills and content to achieve a higher grade.
A* and A grade students who (in mathematics) have the chance to take a Further Mathematics qualification
BTEC students (who may include a higher proportion of students who find formal examination and memorisation particularly difficult) who need to pass the formal examination at level 1 or 2 in order to gain the qualification, and who benefit from more than one chance to take or improve their unit score
  • Advantages the following groups of students who will not necessarily re-take the examination:
those students who suffer from the stress of examinations and who find taking some examinations early beneficial to their own mental health as well as to their final outcomes
those students who are at risk of failing to complete Year 11 successfully (eg school refusal, serious medical issues that need extensive treatment)
those students following courses which have more than one examination (eg Core and Additional Science as part of Double/Triple Science options) which are hierarchical in nature and with different content
those students who achieve A* grades (or who have exceeded expectations) and are able to focus their efforts on an additional same subject qualification

Disadvantages the school in performance table and Raise On Line analysis since the first grade is counted, ignoring any later improvement by those who retake

Which courses have been subject to early entry in recent years?

English Language GCSE and  Mathematics GCSE
 examinations have been taken in June Year 10 and/or November Year 11 in the past (as well as June Year 11 for some). 
However, for current Year 11 the new examinations mean that Year 11 must focus on these important national examinations.
Time in Year 11 will, therefore, be focused entirely on these new courses.

Science GCSEs
These will cease with effect from September 2016 given the new Science examination courses.

The student can use the best grade achieved in a given examination in terms of their future career and choice options. 

Grade 5+ (new GCSEs) in English and Mathematics

Those students who do not achieve the required standard in English and/or Mathematics in Year 11 are expected to continue the subject as part of any college, school, or apprenticeship provision until they reach the required standard.  It is, therefore, very important for progression purposes to get the best possible grade by the end of Year 11.

The new GCSEs will be judged in numbers 9 to 1 instead of grades.  Our current Year 11 are the first year group to take these new examinations and need to aim for a grade 4 or 5 to meet the required standard.  (NB the required standard is defined to be 5; however, for the first year ONLY, the government has indicated that they MAY accept grade 4 as equivalent for grade C for the purpose of post 16 Mathematics and English study).   

Our current Year 11 are therefore working hard to meet and exceed the required standards in the new national English and Mathematics examinations.