The headteacher of a Cambridgeshire school has apologised to parents after Schools Week revealed it was changing the year 10 GCSE curriculum to make it “Progress 8 compliant”.
Last month Ely College’s new headteacher Evelyn Forde wrote to parents and carers to cancel a week’s work experience for 14 and 15-year-olds as they were not currently following the “required curriculum” to ensure they had “made enough progress” to secure college places in September 2016.
Local politicians and headteachers raised concerns about whether this move was an attempt to “game” the league tables. Progress 8 scores are not understood to affect post-16 admission policies.
In last year’s GCSEs, only 39 per cent of pupils at the academy achieved five or more A*-C GCSEs, including English and maths. The school was put into special measures in March and Ms Forde replaced the former headteacher who resigned with the entire governing body and two more senior leaders after the judgment.
Speaking to the Ely News, Ms Forde said: “No student will be compelled to take on any additional study; to avoid confusion we have sought to make this clear to students, parents and carers during regular communications with them.
“Each student has been offered personal advice and guidance to help them decide whether choosing an extra subject is right for them.
“We understand this situation may have caused worry among some students, parents and carers, and we apologise for this.
“Our intention has never been to mislead or worry students, parents and carers.”