Education Update – June 2011 to July 2011

Selected items from the National scene as reported by TES

TES 17th June 2011

Plans for Primary Schools to become Academies

  • 1000 primary      schools, according to the DfE, are failing to reach the basic target of      60% of pupils achieving level 4 in English and Maths at Key Stage 2
  • Michael Gove has      laid out proposals for 700 worst performing primary schools to be ‘forced’      to become academies.  Higher      performing schools, including secondaries, are to act as sponsors.
  • The first focus      will be on 200 perennial under performing schools that have failed the      base level for 5 years or more.
  • He is also      increasing standard for secondaries: all schools must achieve 50% of their      pupils getting 5 good GCSEs (including English and Maths) by 2015

Obama USA calls for creativity in curriculum

President Obama is promoting creative subjects such as art, music, drama to be put at the heart of curriculum because such subjects lead to ‘significant and lasting’ benefits to pupil achievement.  It has been found that Arts Education helps increase academic achievement and creative thinking, reaches out to disengaged learners and, when arts are integrated into the teaching of other subjects, results are dramatically improved.

TES 24th June 2011

Recommendation that Sats writing tests be dropped

A government-commissioned inquiry into Key Stage 2 assessment has recommended that 11-year old pupils’ writing should be measured through a process of moderated teacher assessment instead of Sat tests.  The 2 Maths papers and the Reading paper should be left largely as they are.

NPQH Reform

Those studying for the National Professional Qualification for Headship will spend more time in schools with outstanding heads rather than in the lecture theatre.  All heads will have to hold this qualification.  These changes are likely to take place after September 2011.

RE and the EBac

RE teachers are warning that the subject is being adversely affected by the English Baccalaureate.  A major new survey on RE reveals that teacher numbers and GCSE entries for RE have sharply declined and that nearly a quarter of secular state-funded secular schools are not providing RE for 14-16 year olds.


AQA exam board is offering new IGCSEs that allow 40% of its qualifications in English language and literature to be made up of course work.

Outstanding schools

Since September Ofsted has judged 1 in 10 schools outstanding with 44% graded good, 39% satisfactory and 6% inadequate.

TES 1st July 2011

Ofsted Perspectives

Christine Gilbert maintains that too many schools that do not excel in teaching have been judged outstanding by Ofsted.  She repeated concerns about less regular inspections for ‘outstanding’ schools.  Ofsted figures showed that 43% of outstanding schools slipped back at their next inspection.  She said that a real focus on the observation of front-line teachers was now needed.

New Maths variants

Michael Gove favours new maths for social sciences and also maths for humanities’ qualifications to encourage Sixth formers to continue studying maths till the age of 18.  The government wants to make the study of GCSE maths compulsory for any 16-18 year olds who are in education but do not have grade ‘C’ or above in the subject.

English version of US fact bible for year 1 now available

Now available in an English version the book What Your Year 1 Child Needs to Know is published by Civitas.

TES 8th July 2011

State pupils miss out

High attaining comprehensive school students are less likely to attend top universities than their independent school rivals who have the same grades.

EY recommendations by Dame Tickell largely accepted by the government

From September 2012 assessments for 5-year olds are to be radically slimmed down.  Reception teachers will grade children against only 17 learning goals rather than the current 69.  The government has almost entirely accepted Dame Clare Tickell’s recommendations on the EYFS profile which is carried out at the end of the Reception year.  The new profile means that pupils will be assessed against 17 scales instead of 13 nine-point scales totalling 117 statements.  Pupils will be given one of three judgements: ‘emerging’, ‘expected’ or ‘exceeding’.  The new framework no longer has separate phonics assessment; children’s understanding of phonics is to be included within teachers’ overall assessments of reading and writing.  There is also support for a new progress check for every 2-year old in early education.  Dame Tickell’s recommendation that independent schools be allowed to apply for group exemptions is to be consulted upon separately.  However, her recommendation that children’s ‘learning characteristics’, detailing how they prefer to learn, is presently not included in EYFS profiles.

Review of Sats at Key stage 2

Lord Bew’s commissioned review of Sats recommended the end of the writing test for 11-year old.