Cambridge International Examinations responds to DfE decision on performance tables


We are extremely disappointed that the Department for Education has reversed its earlier position and decided that IGCSEs will not be included in the Government’s school performance tables from 2017 alongside reformed GCSE qualifications. 

Michael O’Sullivan, Chief Executive of Cambridge International Examinations, commented: “Schools in England have been placed in the curious position where they can choose to prepare students for Cambridge IGCSEs, but will be penalised in the Government’s performance tables if they do. You have to ask yourself what their ‘performance’ tables are for – assessing how schools perform, or restricting what they teach?” 

Our redeveloped Cambridge IGCSEs in Mathematics, First Language English and English Literature offer the same breadth and depth as the reformed GCSEs in England. They are rigorous specifications, based on our well-respected international syllabuses and will be included in the new performance tables supported by organisations such as the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL). 

These new Cambridge IGCSEs are already Ofqual-regulated qualifications and the DfE has approved them for funding in state schools. 

We know from our discussions with schools that many in both the state and independent sectors wish to enter for the new Cambridge IGCSEs. We will therefore be providing these qualifications to schools in England that wish to use them. 

– Ends – 

Read Michael O’Sullivan’s formal response to the Department for Education

Notes to editors 

Cambridge IGCSE is taught in 2500 schools in the UK. There were more than 180,000 exam entries in the UK last June. 

The DfE has decided that GCSEs in England will gradually adopt a new 9-1 grading system for GCSE, starting in 2017 with Mathematics and English. 

We launched the new Cambridge IGCSE (9-1) qualifications to schools in England late last year. Schools have been showing strong levels of interest in the new syllabuses – rigorous specifications, based on our well-respected international syllabuses. Cambridge IGCSEs with A*-G grading will still be available in the UK and around the world.

About Cambridge IGCSE worldwide 

Cambridge IGCSE is the world’s most popular international qualification for 14-16 year olds. It is available in 70 subjects, including over 30 languages. We receive 760,000 entries from over 5,000 schools in 141 countries worldwide. 2013 marked the 25th anniversary of the first Cambridge IGCSE exam. It is tried, tested and trusted. 

About Cambridge International Examinations 

Cambridge International Examinations prepares school students for life, helping them develop an informed curiosity and a lasting passion for learning. We are part of Cambridge Assessment, a department of the University of Cambridge. 

Our international qualifications are recognised by the world’s best universities and employers, giving students a wide range of options in their education and career. As a not-for-profit organisation, we devote our resources to delivering high-quality educational programmes that can unlock learners’ potential. Every year, nearly a million Cambridge learners from 10, 000 schools in 160 countries prepare for their future with an international education from Cambridge. 


Graeme Curry 

Communications Manager 

Cambridge International Examinations 

T: +44 (0) 1223 553261

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