Currently, a confederate of leading private and state schools have collectively written an open letter to propose an end to GCSE exams, which they claim to be ‘unfair’, ‘unreliable’, and as claimed by the former education secretary, Lord Baker, to be ‘no longer needed’.

Major factors that caused this campaign to be launched was due to the frustration caused by the unreliable temporary grading algorithm implemented in assessing exam grades, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic; and the attempt to tackle the increasing problem of stress, anxiety and mental health issues amongst children in the UK, according to The Sunday Times.

Eton claims that ‘GCSEs hold children back from finding their talents and passions’. Similarly, the headmistress of St Paul’s Girls School added that ‘GCSEs suppress children’s creativity’ - sourced from Dailymail.

The collectively written open letter, discusses that the intensity and high-stakes of written exams increases the tendency for children to fall into depression and self-harm. OECD statistics show that the UK has the lowest happiness level in Europe. Furthermore, the letter points out that exams only partially reflect an individual’s strengths, and it causes other strengths and skills (such as: skilled communication; problem solving skills and creative thinking) to be discredited as they are overlooked, since they are not tested to the same extent, and are therefore not regarded as important as academic abilities.

A Department of Health Spokesman had retorted, however, that examinations are the best way to assess and judge one’s performance and ability. GCSEs have been reformed on the basis of improving education standards, in order to prepare students for future study and employment. They also added that this approach is being discussed with Ofqual and exam boards.