Progress for the poorest pupils

David Laws infographic

There are full details of this good news here.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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  • I would be delighted, but the DfE – and therefore Liberal Democrat ministers – are essentially misusing the statistics to promote the unrelated and damaging EBacc (as well as the pupil premium, which is a good thing).

  • yes, very nice, but is this because more youngster are failing or succeeding. Coz that’s what it looks like. It like when the poverty gap gets smaller. Great if the statistics say everyone is doing better but not so hot if it just means the average person is doing worse.

  • Henry: this is based on English and Maths, plus the three best other GCSEs, not the EBACC.
    Glenn: as the link shows, overall attainment is up. (“Across all state-funded schools, the proportion of pupils who achieved at least five good GCSEs (including in English and maths) rose by 0.6 percentage points. “)

  • This is always welcome news;

    As for the EBACC, well, I feel people are jumping on it too soon. In terms of creating a system of overvalue and undervalue between subjects, well, GCSEs already do this. Plus the EBACC does actually allow room for subjects outside the academic side like Arts far more readily than the GCSE system I remember which said:
    You have 8 subjects of which 5 are picked for you (which disgustingly forced religious education upon me and meant my otherwise high GCSEs were marred with a C) and you get too pick 2 from a limited list of subjects, plus one vocational course. That was very limiting.

    The true test of the EBACC will be based on how employers and people in general view it. Remember, triparte systems were never meant to make a system of 3 trier education, they were meant to make a system where students learnt in the style most suited to them. It was only the snobbery and misunderstandings of people which meant that the non-grammar schools were doomed to be viewed as lesser. (Admittedly, the whole thing was flawed throughout due to the innate unfairness of the 11+, but the point there is, another one of the main reasons it failed was because people misunderstood the system.)

    However, GCSEs were not a great success and need to be replaced. I just hope the doubters are wrong and the EBACC is that replacement.

  • Peter Watson 28th Jan '13 - 10:41pm

    I’m confused.
    This is the same system that Gove, cheered on by Clegg and Laws, tells us has been dumbed down, lacks rigour, fails to stretch the most able, etc. Yet now the a smaller gap between the performance of the richest and poorest is small is evidence of successful education policies.

    This success is attributed to Government reforms: “introducing tougher floor standards, giving greater freedom to heads and teachers, accelerating the academy programme, the Pupil Premium, and encouraging take-up of key academic subjects”. But this is based upon GCSE performance by kids who had chosen their options before this coalition government was formed, most of whom have not been touched by its policies, and who spent most of their school years under the previous government.

    I did not think I could have less respect for Laws et al, but I might have been wrong.

  • Peter Watson 28th Jan '13 - 10:57pm

    Oops. That garbled sentence shoulld be “Yet now a smaller gap between the performance of the richest and poorest is evidence of successful education policies.”

  • Peter Watson 28th Jan '13 - 11:04pm

    @Liberal Al
    Not sure I understand your description of the GCSE system. Choice of options seems to vary from school to school – my own kids seem to have more flexibility than you describe. Children have the ability to choose a set of qualifications and subjects to suit their aptitudes and plans. And as for RE, it seems an acceptable compulsory subject in a faith school.
    The EBacc seems far less flexible than the current approach (academic rather than vocational, only geography and history acceptable as humanities, one science subject, compulsory language). We are also left with a system where for a few years GCSE grades won’t be easily comparable with those from previous years and will then be replaced with something else anyway. And somehow after two years work every child, from the most able to the least, will be accurately and fairly assessed by a single examination. It all seems like a horrible mess to me.

  • “introducing tougher floor standards”. Its not very clear what this means. Its very difficult to understand.

    Having a quick read, the floor standard is that schools should not have more than 35% failing to get 5 A-Cs.
    This standard has been increased to 40% failing to get A-Cs.

    So does that mean some special action will be taken only if more than 40% fail?

    I really appreciate clarity and simplicity in communication, but I appreciate this is complex information.

  • @CP
    “So does that mean some special action will be taken only if more than 40% fail?”

    I think it’s the other way around isn’t it – i.e. it was the case that at least 35% had to gain this (i.e. 65% didn’t), now the minimum is 40% that have to gain the minimum – so action will be taken if over 60% fail.

    “A school is below the floor if 40 per cent of its pupils do not achieve at least five GCSEs at C or better including English and maths”

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