Education CommitteeFurther written evidence submitted by Martin Collier, Headmaster St John’s School

In response to your questions:

1.The total teaching time we give at St John’s Leatherhead to each A level subject, over the two years, is approximately 310 hours which compares with 360 hours, the recommended number of guided learning hours. The teaching time for AS levels is approximately 145 hours (compared with 180 hours GLH). Teaching time for each GCSE subject is approximately 183 hours (compared with 180 hours GLH).

2.I have expressed my views regarding a central examination board in my written submission. I am fully in favour.

3.I have no problem in examining children earlier in the academic year. However, this will only work if linearity is restored at GCSE and A levels. To my mind, there would be no problem in examining pupils in April/May of years 11 and 13 but it is essential that the summer terms of years 10 and 12 are cleared of public examinations to allow syllabuses to be covered and the learning process to take place. Another benefit to examining children earlier in year 13 is it would allow for post qualification application to university which is a good idea. One question which has emerged is whether elements of coursework will remain as part of linear GCSE and A Level examinations. If they are allowed to remain, then of course schools will continue to have flexibility as to when these examinations are sat.

4.We do not enter pupils into examination for GCSE early. I think that to so do is educationally flawed. GCSEs should come at the end of a considered and structured learning process. If the GCSEs are considered too easy for certain pupils then courses should be written to teach and educate beyond the confines of the examination specifications. Some schools offer early GCSEs as a means of pupils accumulating GCSE qualifications but such a “badge collecting” exercise does not necessarily enhance the pupils’ education.

5.We do not enter pupils for A levels early for the same reasons as expressed in point 4.

January 2012

Prepared 2nd July 2012