News

  • Government should rethink primary school league table reforms, says think tank

    A new report from CentreForum says that ‘pupil progress’ should be the principal league table measure for primary schools in England.

    The report, sponsored by Pearson, argues that the government should revise its plan to overhaul primary school league tables.

    The Chair of the Education Select Committee described the report as “excellent” and said he hopes the Department for Education will “give it the consideration it deserves”.

    Government proposals

    Under coalition proposals announced in 2014, primary schools in England will be held to account by two new league table measures to replace the longstanding attainment measure.

    The present measure requires 65% of pupils in every primary school to achieve level 4 in their SATs exams at age 11. But under the new tougher regime, the expected attainment level per school will be raised to 85%.

    Those primary schools that fail to meet this more aspirational standard will instead be held to account by an alternate measure tracking pupils’ progress over time.

    The new progress measure will require a baseline assessment of pupils in their first half term of reception. This will be used to measure the progress pupils have made by age 11 compared to others who were assessed to be at a similar level of attainment at the start of primary school.

    Make ‘pupil progress’ the principal league table measure for primary schools

    While welcoming the government’s push to raise standards for all pupils, CentreForum says that the new regime should be concerned chiefly with measuring pupil progress – as the government resolved to do at secondary school level in response to CentreForum’s earlier analysis.

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  • BTEC results 2014

    Statistics show large increases in students studying vocational qualifications in subjects most critical for UK economy.

    Today, Pearson publishes entry and achievement data for students completing level 2 (First) and level 3 (National) BTEC qualifications between 1 September 2013 and 31 August 2014.

    The statistics show that students are choosing to study subjects identified as the most important for economic growth, revealing a 17% rise in level 3 (sixth form) students taking STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) focused BTECs, with an increase of students at level 3 of 27% taking Applied Science, 12% taking ICT and 17% taking Engineering. A recent report by the CBI outlined how a healthy supply of STEM-skilled employees at all levels is required for a flourishing UK economy and rising living standards[1].

    Bucking the trend that sees sciences as traditionally 'male' subjects, there was a big increase of 27% in girls taking this subject. As a result, more girls (54%) than boys (46%) gained Applied Science level 3 BTECs this year.

    ICT and Engineering remain male-dominated subjects. 83% of students taking ICT at level 3 are male and so are 95% of those taking Engineering at level 3. Nevertheless, the percentage of female students taking these subjects has increased since last year by 11% for ICT and 53% for Engineering.

    The girls that do take these subjects also out-perform their male peers:

    • 25% of girls who took an Applied Science level 3 BTEC got the highest grade of a D*, compared to 14% of boys
    • 25% of girls who took an Engineering level 3 BTEC got the highest grade of a D*, compared to 14% of boys 
    • 36% of girls who took an ICT Level 3 BTEC got the highest grade of a D*, compared to 21% of boys.
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  • Employers want young people to be better prepared for life outside school, says survey

    Businesses want the education system to improve at giving young people the skills they need for work, says the 2014 CBI/Pearson Education and Skills survey.

    In the survey of 291 companies employing nearly 1.5 million people, over half (61%) are concerned about the resilience and self-management of school leavers and a third (33%) with their attitude to work. By contrast, nearly all firms (96%) are satisfied with young peoples’ IT abilities when they enter the workplace.

    Firms want primary schools to focus on developing literacy and numeracy (85%) with around one-third not satisfied with these skills among school leavers. Half (52%) are urging schools to develop a greater awareness of working life among 14-19 year olds with support from businesses. Companies are prepared to play their part with two-thirds (66%) willing to take on a larger role in the school careers system.

    read more

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For enquiries regarding GCSEs, A levels and Key Stage 2 tests please contact:

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