The head teacher from the Educating Yorkshire TV series has criticised Michael Gove for league table reforms he says could push schools into acting against their pupils’ interests.
Only a student’s first attempt at GCSEs will count toward a school’s score in performance tables under measures announced this week which take immediate effect and are aimed at cracking down on multiple exam entries.
Jonny Mitchell, the head at Thornhill Academy, near Dewsbury, believes, however, it will widen the gap between schools.
The head teacher, who has become one of the stars of the Channel 4 documentary showing life inside his school, is also unhappy with the reforms being introduced during the school year and accused the Education Secretary of “shifting the goalpost while the game is being played”.
“We’ve got in excess of 150 kids geared up for an early entry in GCSE maths because that was what we thought was the right thing to do given the regime which was in place,” Mr Mitchell added.
“Although we were mindful of the fact that only the first entry would count in future years this has been thrown upon us now and it means difficult decisions for schools.
Mr Gove has accused some schools of using early entries to “bank” C grades, then allow retakes to manipulate league tables but Mr Mitchell said allowing a pupil to sit an exam twice increased their chances of securing better grades. “At the end of the day we should all be doing what is best for the kids but the carrot of the performance table which so many people read so many things into – rightly or wrongly – means some schools will not be in that luxurious position to be able to do that.”