Letting 13-year-olds sit GCSEs inspires them, insists principal

Elizabeth Oakes with her daughter Samantha whom is taking her GCSE's at Trinity Academy.
Elizabeth Oakes with her daughter Samantha whom is taking her GCSE's at Trinity Academy.
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A HEAD teacher has defended the trend to allow 13-year-olds to take GCSEs, amid criticism from parents.

Michael Gosling said grades achieved proved the system worked.

Michael Gosling the new principal of Trinity Academy.

Michael Gosling the new principal of Trinity Academy.

“It is about inspiring students and encouraging them to achieve their potential,” said Mr Gosling, principal at Trinity Academy, Halifax.

“In our first year, two thirds of Year 9 students who completed a BTEC qualification (GCSE equivalent) were awarded an equivalent of a C grade, 18 per cent were given the equivalent of a B and just under eight per cent achieved the GCSE equivalent of an A* or A.

“Students who are ready for this type of learning are given the chance to succeed, which is backed up with lots of support and advice from staff.

“Supporting students to sit GCSEs from Year 9 is becoming increasingly popular in many schools and academies.”

Trinity Year 9 pupils only undertake two GCSEs once teachers have ensured the subjects chosen are the right ones for ability and interests.

They also study in a “vertical teaching” system where students are of mixed-year groups.

Mr Gosling said pupils learnt best in such an environment, which releases their ability and inspires them.

Recently, the Courier reported on a meeting of parents with Calder High School governors in Mytholmroyd.

The parents’ “No Early GCSEs Group” argued children aged 13 and 14 were not mature enough.

And Elizabeth Oakes, of Wheatley, Halifax, expressed concerns about her 13-year-old daughter, Samantha, who attends Trinity Academy.

“They are still young children at that age, at the height of puberty and not ready.

“In the first three months of being in Year 9, my daughter’s confidence dropped and I am worried she may spend her years in further education re-sitting exams.”