Like many others across the country, I got an A -which I'm not ashamed of- but I do feel that I could have got an A* with that extra year. So why are so many schools putting their students forward for early GCSEs?
The answer is, it looks good for their statistics. The students who finish GCSEs a year early go on to study AS levels in their spare year. And what's not to like about having a few extra kids doing AS Maths?
The truth is, this system (known as fast-tracking) only works with the very brightest kids in the year- the people who are smart enough to balance the last of their GCSEs with a few AS exams thrown in the mix. For anyone else, early AS levels are either a painful struggle or a complete waste of time.
And it's not just my opinion here! Universities across the country (including the Russell Group) have said that they will no longer be taking on students for Maths degrees, if they have been fast-tracked through secondary school. Those students won't even get an interview- because places like Oxford and Cambridge simply do not see the value in getting AS levels early.
Andrew Hall, Chief executive of the AQA examining board, also agrees- saying that "early entry (for exams) is having an impact on students' results", as he sees the grades going down year on year, with the increase in fast-tracked students.
In fact, the only people benefiting from fast-tracking are the highly competitive schools, who get to say their students are sooo smart that they can do GCSEs a whole year early when in fact, for most students, fast-tracking is only a disadvantage.
My solution would just be to ban fast-tracking GCSEs. It doesn't work as a system, and allows already competitive schools to take advantage of their students in order to benefit the school's statistics.
Comment your view on this issue! You're a smart bunch, and I'm always interested in hearing my reader's views!
And if you found this interesting, check out more in the series!