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Children selecting GCSE options in Year 7.

Children selecting GCSE options in Year 7.

Children are being asked to select their GCSE options in their second term at secondary school, Tes can reveal.

At one school in Shropshire, pupils have to submit their choices in the Easter term of Year 7, so they can start studying their GCSE subjects in Year 8.

A presentation from Thomas Telford School tells parents that GCSE covers ages 12-16 – two years longer than the qualification was originally supposed to be.


Ofsted’s national director for education, Sean Harford, said the approach was “depressing” and might prevent pupils getting a broad and balanced curriculum.

The news follows an investigation by Tes last month, which revealed that in some schools pupils are being drilled with GCSE-style tests from the age of 11 – five years before they are due to take their actual GCSE exams.

Tes has obtained a GCSE options presentation for Thomas Telford School. The slideshow informs parents that "Year 7, 8 and 9 are recognised as the ‘lost years’” and that “Year 10 and 11 are too short to study GCSEs”.

The presentation says that pupils have “advised” the school that “they would have preferred to start options in Year 8”. As a result, pupils at Thomas Telford “will have four rather than three years to study courses”.

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