Demand for linear approach drives record take-up of Cambridge IGCSE in the UK


The number of entries for Cambridge IGCSE in English (Literature and Language), and sciences (Chemistry, Biology and Physics) in the UK has almost tripled in just one year, with exam entries leaping from 34,800 for June 2012 to 93,300 for June 2013. The total number of entries for all Cambridge IGCSE subjects has doubled over this period, with over 115,000 entries made by UK schools this year. 

This increase in popularity, which coincides with the 25th anniversary of Cambridge IGCSE, has been driven by a growing appetite among teachers and school leaders for a linear approach that prioritises learning time over assessment. The number of UK state schools taking exams in our linear IGCSE qualification has likewise almost tripled, rising from 368 in June 2012 to 963 this year, meaning state schools now make up almost three-quarters of schools offering the qualification. Including independent schools, Cambridge IGCSE is now being taken in over 1300 schools in the UK. 

Michael O’Sullivan, Chief Executive, Cambridge International Examinations, said: “Cambridge IGCSE has grown significantly in popularity over the past few years. Schools recognise that its linear structure offers rigour and effective preparation for the next stage of their students’ education. For sure, they are also mindful of planned educational reforms such as the recently proposed changes to GCSEs and A Levels. These reforms highlight that Cambridge IGCSE is a step ahead of the curve.” 

Cambridge IGCSE has been linear since students first took it 25 years ago, giving teachers the freedom to focus on teaching while also giving pupils the opportunity to study in greater depth and develop skills they need for the next stage of their studies. 

Gaynor Deoraj, Assistant Leader of English and KS4 Co-ordinator at Tanbridge House School, said: “We have been impressed by the positive outcome of IGCSE on our students who appear to be more comfortable with the syllabus from an early stage and see a purpose in what they are doing as their skills are constantly developed and there is a clear way to progress. Teaching IGCSE allows us more freedom. We can teach units in ways that allow us to put our own slant on texts and fit them more closely to the abilities and interests of our students.”

Notes to editors 

Cambridge International Examinations is the world’s largest provider of international education programmes and qualifications for 5 to 19 year olds. We are part of the University of Cambridge, one of the world’s top universities and trusted for excellence in education. Our qualifications are recognised by the world’s universities and employers. 

Cambridge IGCSE is the world’s most popular international qualification for 14 to 16 year olds and is recognised by universities around the world. It is taken by over 3700 schools in 140 countries.

Cambridge IGCSE growth statistics – UK:


June 2011June 2012PresentGrowth
UK state schools offering Cambridge IGCSE166368963162%
UK independent schools offering Cambridge IGCSE2703443769%
Total UK schools offering Cambridge IGCSE436712133988%


Adele Williams

International Communications Manager

Cambridge International Examinations

Tel: +44 (0) 1223 552935

Rakhee Shah

Press office

Munro & Forster Communications

Tel: +44 (0) 207 815 3960

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