One in 10 pupils removed from school rolls ‘to boost GCSE results’ | Education

Research into “off-rolling” from schools in England has found the scale of the problem may be worse than previously thought, with one in 10 secondary pupils removed from the rolls without explanation. Researchers from the Education Policy Institute (EPI) found that more than 61,000 pupils out of the national cohort who sat their GCSEs in 2017 experienced an “unexplained exit” at some point during their secondary school career. Of these, two out of five never returned to school again. The…

Read More

Brexit ‘putting pupils off modern foreign languages’ | Education

The aftermath of Brexit and the difficulty of new GCSE and A-level exams have combined to put off young people from studying modern foreign languages (MFL) at school, according to a new report by the British Council. While more than two-thirds of teachers surveyed by the British Council said the difficulty of the exams was causing concern, one in four said Brexit had “cast a pall” over pupils learning any foreign languages, with some parents actively discouraging their children. Teachers…

Read More

Russell Group scraps preferred A-levels list after arts subjects hit | Education

Arts education organisations have welcomed a decision by the Russell Group of research-led universities to scrap its controversial list of preferred A-levels, after long-running criticism that it has contributed to a devaluation of arts subjects. The group’s list of so-called “facilitating subjects”, including maths, English, sciences, languages, history and geography, was originally drawn up to help pupils choose A-levels that would open doors to more degrees at the most selective universities. Critics claim it has resulted in a narrowing of…

Read More

Why a good Ofsted report can be bad for GCSE results | Education

Health warning: positive Ofsted ratings may damage GCSE results. This is the shock finding of a study conducted by four universities and two thinktanks which found that parents with children in schools that have received a better-than-expected Ofsted report are much more likely to reduce how much they help their children with their homework. This, in turn, could have a damaging impact on their children’s GCSE results. The researchers from the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University…

Read More

Forget Sats – find a true measure of education | Letters | Education

Amanda Spielman may be warning the wrong people about exam anxiety, certainly as far as younger kids are concerned (Ofsted chief says teachers can cause ‘subliminal’ exam anxiety, May 14). My 10-year-old is not worried because I have told him Sats are irrelevant to his life. His secondary school will determine how best he will fit in, based on its own testing, when he gets there in September. I did ask him to do his best in sympathy with the…

Read More

Teachers assessing pupils could replace formal exams, study says | Education

Assessments by teachers of pupils’ abilities could replace traditional tests and exams such as Sats and GCSEs to reduce costs and “bring joy back to the classroom”, according to new research. In a paper published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, researchers found teacher assessments accurately reflected the ability of their pupils’ performance in later exams in English, maths and science, including A-levels and university admission. The authors said the results “raise questions about the value of the…

Read More

Ofqual is killing off modern foreign language education | Letters | Education

The education secretary is right that exams are “inherently stressful” – but for students taking a modern foreign language (MFL), the stress is disproportionate. They will have to sit excessively difficult exams and accept that their grade may well end up lower than their performance deserves. In a recent BBC survey, 76% of English schools reported that the perception of languages as “difficult” was the main reason behind the drop in pupils studying for MFL exams. Where’s the incentive to…

Read More

Modern language teaching ‘under threat from tough exams’ | Education

The exams regulator in England, Ofqual, is “killing off” modern languages by failing to address the excessive difficulty of language GCSE and A-level exams, according to more than 150 academics. In a letter published in the Guardian, the 152 academics – from 36 universities – warn that the exams are graded too severely and the stress for pupils is “disproportionate”. “They will have to sit excessively difficult exams and accept that their grade may well end up lower than their…

Read More