Leading the GCSE debate

Posted on 28th November 2019

Last week the Times published a letter from Magnus Bashaarat questioning GCSEs and encouraging Heads who openly criticise them to join our lead in replacing many of them with our own more interesting and challenging Bedales Assessed Courses (BACs). The letter was a response to a report of Headteachers at the Girls Schools’ Association conference raising the damaging impact of the GCSE exam treadmill on pupil wellbeing, and mentioning Bedales as offering an innovative alternative – recognised by UCAS and universities, and which, we believe, is better preparation for further study and work.

Again this week, Magnus’ letter in the Telegraph compares the rigour of the English Literature BAC with its rather dull GCSE relation: “Eight texts are studied, against three for GCSE, and as well as an exam at the end of each year, there is continuous assessment and an oral presentation. Knowledge, skills and understanding are tested, not just memory.” Here’s a link to a one page summary of BACs together with some examples of why we believe the courses are a better alternative to GCSE. And for ease of reference, here’s a link to full copies of Magnus’ two recent letters to editors.

November 2019 press coverage | Bedales Assessed Courses summary | The Times | The Telegraph