Eton’s headteacher Tony Little is right to warn of the severe limitations of our outdated exam system (Report, 5 August). Particularly, to highlight the irony in our politicians’ attempts to copy highly academic models, when those countries are now changing their practice. Both South Korea, number one in the world, and Finland, number one in Europe, recognise that the demands, challenges and opportunities of the 21st century require radical innovation in education. South Korea, desperate to break out of its massively stressed system, is prototyping a “free semester programme” in the middle years of secondary schooling, providing a space free of exams where students can experiment. Finland is exploring ways of transforming teaching and learning to deepen student engagement, confident that this practice significantly enhances educational attainment and life opportunities. In England, 37 schools, supported by Innovation Unit, and sponsored by the Education Endowment Fund, are working to develop rigorous project-based learning that does exactly this – engaging students in work that has meaning for them, develops over time and allows them to work with the wider community, including businesses.