‘Easier’ exams offered by private schools smooth pupils’ entry to top universities

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Russell Group members admit they treat less-rigorous IGCSEs the same as new, harder GCSEs

Top universities are giving privately educated children an unfair advantage by not differentiating between the rigorous GCSEs compulsory in the state system and less demanding exams taken in many fee-paying schools, MPs and educationists said last night.

Just days after GCSE results day last Thursday, Freedom of Information (FoI) requests by Labour MP Lucy Powell show that almost all Russell Group universities treat the two types of exam – the regulated GCSEs used in the state system, and IGCSEs, which the government admits do not meet the same high standards – as exact equivalents in admission processes.

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