Education CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by Robert Pritchard, Headteacher, St Mary’s Catholic High School, Ilkley, West Yorkshire

1. The number of hours you teach and whether you use exactly the recommended number of hours that are set per subject or go over that (guided learning hours)

For most courses, we give the recommended or more than the recommended number of hours. However, the BTEC courses we give about 20% less than the recommended hours.

2. Your views on the benefits and drawbacks of a single exam board

Single exam board would lead to more consistent approach. How can it be right that schools look for an “easier exam board” for a subject. The standard should be the standard across the country. A Maths paper needs to have the same questions to everyone in a sitting.

However, if agencies such as OfQAL did their job this may not be necessary.

The down side is that this new body would have immense power. At the moment we can swop exam boards if not satisfied. The new one would need quality, and be transparent in its protocols.

3. Your views on the time of year we should be examining children, and whether this should be earlier in the year?

Never a good time. Summer exam timetable is about right with the number of examinations that there are. If the number of modules were reduced, this could shorten the season.

4. Do you enter children for GCSE examinations in year 10 or year 9, how many, the proportion of children this is and in what subjects?

No, not any more. This is because they may get the C, but would be able to get a B or better if we wait for maturity.

5. Whether you enter children for A level in year 10/11/12/13 and the proportions

No, not any more—they rarely get a “good” grade, or a grade they could have got if waited to mature.

January 2012

Prepared 2nd July 2012