Academics are to study whether teaching GCSEs over three years is “more effective” than teaching them over two.

It is part of a programme of work being undertaken by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) to provide more evidence about the impact of the decisions schools make.

With the high-stakes accountability regime and introduction of the English Baccalaureate, a number of schools have moved to a three-year key stage 3 in recent years.

Some use this approach to have more time to cover GCSE content; others spend two years teaching GCSE content and a third year on revision and exam preparation. However, the concern is that this approach narrows the curriculum too early.

The issue is topical because of the new Ofsted Education Inspection Framework (EIF), which has shifted the focus of inspection onto the school curriculum.

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