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Ofsted will use GCSE grade 5 – what the government calls a ‘strong pass’ - as its measure when inspecting schools.
In a letter to inspectors, Ofsted’s national Director of Education said that it was important to remember that for headline accountability measures, the grade 5 or above is to be used. Other measures – such as the grade 4 ‘standard pass’ - will be used to inform judgements, but only as additional measures.
Ofsted also warned inspectors against directly comparing this year’s results with last year’s, given the significant changes to GCSEs in 2017.
Inspectors were also advised to challenge school leaders about unusual exam entry patterns which may not be in the best interests of pupils, particularly where there is significant subject overlap, where pupils sit English language and English literature only for the purposes of higher attainment 8 and progress 8 scores, and where high entries are made for qualifications that are not ‘core subjects’.