More secondary students studying core academic subjects

More secondary students studying core academic subjects

education.gov.uk

New statistics reveal more students are studying core academic subjects at secondary school

Press notice
Press notice date: 25 April 2012
Updated: 10 May 2012

New statistics published today show that there are around 3,400 more teachers in secondary schools teaching in English Baccalaureate – or EBacc – subjects. The statistics also reveal that the number of hours taught in history, geography and modern languages – EBacc subjects– is up by 10 per cent overall in 2011 compared with the previous year. These subjects have historically been in decline so this shows that schools are widening the opportunities for pupils to study these subjects in Key Stage 4.

The EBacc was introduced in January 2011 by the Department as an additional measure in the performance tables. It recognises the success of those young people who attain GCSEs, or accredited versions of established iGCSEs, at grades A* to C across a core of academic subjects – English, maths, geography or history, the sciences and a language. These are the qualifications which will best prepare young people for further study and rewarding employment.

The new data shows there was an increase of 23,000 teaching hours in the EBacc subjects compromising:

  • an increase of 11 per cent in the number of hours of history lessons at Key Stage 4 – from 43,800 in 2010 to 48,600 in 2011
  • an increase of around 13 per cent in the number of hours of geography lessons at Key Stage 4 – from 37,100 in 2010 to 41,900 in 2011
  • an increase of around 8 per cent in the number of hours of languages lessons at Key Stage 4 – from 69,300 in 2010 to 74,600 in 2011.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said:

We want all children to have a broad and balanced education that includes English, maths, the sciences, a language and history or geography. Today’s figures show an encouraging trend that reflects the fact that schools are offering more of these core academic subjects. In 2011 there were around 3,400 more teachers teaching in these subjects and an increase of 23,000 teaching hours on the previous year.

The EBacc ensures that young people have the knowledge and skills they need to progress to further study or to rewarding employment. Through the EBacc, we are opening up these core subjects to all pupils, regardless of their background.

A survey of almost 700 maintained secondary schools by the National Centre for Social Research last year showed that:

  • 33 per cent of pupils in the schools surveyed taking GCSEs this year will be doing a combination of subjects that could lead to an EBacc
  • 47 per cent of pupils in the schools surveyed taking GCSEs in 2013 will be doing a combination of subjects that could lead to an EBacc.

This compares with data which shows that in 2010 just 22 per cent of GCSE-stage pupils were entered for the EBacc.

Nick Clegg to propose £10,000 prize to boost schools’ performance

Nick Clegg to propose £10,000 prize to boost schools’ performance

guardian.co.uk |by Rajeev Syal

  • Rajeev Syal
  • The Guardian, Sunday 13 May 2012
Nick Clegg

The pupil premium was one of Nick Clegg’s flagship policies during the 2010 election campaign. Photograph: Getty Images

Schools will be asked to compete to find the best way of spending government money –and could win an extra £10,000 for being one of the country’s top performers, Nick Clegg will tell teachers on Monday.

Additional cash awards will be handed out to 50 schools as the government seeks to introduce an added incentive for those receiving the “pupil premium”.

The money is part of the deputy prime minister’s plan to break the grip of private schools on the British establishment as he seeks a boost to social mobility. But the plan is expected to be condemned by teaching unions, who will claim it fails to address inequalities between state and private education.

Clegg will set out his proposals by telling educators he wants to “strike a deal between the coalition government and our schools and teachers”.

Other proposals include funding £500 per pupil for summer schools to bridge the gap between primary and secondary education, and incentives for teachers to work in schools with large numbers of disadvantaged pupils. The School Teachers Review Body will be asked to look at giving maintained schools the same flexibility that academies have to offer extra pay to hold on to the best teachers.

The pupil premium is an additional sum of money– £488 last year– paid to schools for each child on free school meals. But the cash is not ringfenced, so once schools are handed the money by central government, there is no requirement to spend it in a specific way.

This year it is £600 for each child and the total spent by 2015 will be £2.5bn a year, spread across 1.8 million children.

Clegg will set out his plans at a primary school in Islington, north London. He will say, “We’ve made the case for the pupil premium. We’ve won the battle to get it properly funded. Today I want to talk about how we make it a success because we now have a once in a generation chance.

“Get this right and we make good on education’s progressive promise: to give every child the chance to go as far as their abilities and effort can carry them. And we’ll achieve something else of lasting importance: we’ll prove that teachers do best when Whitehall steps out of the way.

“To that end, I want to strike a deal between the coalition government and our schools and teachers. We’ll give you the cash; we’ll give you the freedom; we’ll reward and celebrate your success. But in return, we want you to redouble your efforts to closing the gap between your poorer pupils and everyone else. We won’t be telling you what to do, but we will be watching what you achieve.”

Clegg will say different schools will spend the money in different ways and Whitehall will not micromanage the pupil premium. But the government will research the best uses of the money and “ensure the evidence is spread through the system”, he will add.

Clegg campaigned in the 2010 general election with the pupil premium as one of his flagship policies of his manifesto.

Schools ‘face talent drain’ as morale of teachers dives

Schools ‘face talent drain’ as morale of teachers dives

guardian.co.uk |by Daniel Boffey

Christine Gilbert, head of Ofsted

Christine Gilbert, who resigned as head of Ofsted last year, says low morale comes despite the level of teacher professionalism being ‘better than ever’. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian

Morale among state school teachers is at “rock bottom”,according to a former chief inspector of schools, who speaks out as unions warn that a “perfect storm” of government meddling threatens an exodus of talent from the profession.

Christine Gilbert, who resigned as head of Ofsted last year, said there was evidence of widespread disillusionment in schools despite the level of teacher professionalism being “better than ever”.

Her comments come as a survey from the biggest teaching union, the NASUWT, reveals that nearly half of its 230,000 members have considered quitting in the last year, amid a collective crisis of confidence in the profession.

More than a third said that they did not believe they were respected as professionals and half said their job satisfaction had declined in the last year.

The disturbing figures are published ahead of an attempt by deputy prime minister Nick Clegg to increase levels of social mobility by improving performance in state schools. Clegg will announce on Monday that 2,100 secondary schools will take part in the government plan for summer schools this year.

Funded by a £1.25bn “pupil premium”, the schools will give two weeks of intensive support and educational “top-up” to struggling pupils who might otherwise slip behind when they move from primary to secondary school. But there are growing signs that swaths of the teachers who will run such programmes now believe the coalition simply sees the profession as an obstacle to reform.

The pressure on teachers includes tougher targets, a new Ofsted grading system that threatens the current rating of most schools, reduced flexibility in qualifications for the teaching of 14- to 16-year-olds, and the possibility of regional and performance-related pay.

Many teachers have also complained of dilapidated conditions in the schools they work in, following the scrapping of thousands of school refurbishment projects as a result of spending cuts.

The unions and Labour also claimed that a “drip, drip of denigration” from the government and the new head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, who replaced Gilbert, was a primary cause of the problem. Last week Wilshaw hit out at teachers who complained of stress while Michael Gove, the education secretary, said that people who had been privately educated dominated every level of society.

The shadow education secretary, Stephen Twigg, who initially supported Wilshaw’s appointment, told the Observer there was now a clear problem with morale in state schools and that building up the status of teachers would be a Labour priority in government. He said: “I think it is really important that there is public confidence and parental confidence in our schools system. When Wilshaw was appointed to Ofsted I was positive and I met him and I want to remain positive, but I was very disappointed by what he has said last week. There clearly is a problem with morale and that is primarily a consequence of negative things coming from the government. A drip, drip of denigration by the government of the profession will undermine confidence of our schools among parents.”

Gilbert said she believed that the standards of teaching in the UK were “excellent” and should be celebrated. She said: “[Recent] surveys show terrible morale, so that is at rock bottom, but when I go into schools you do get real commitment, enthusiasm and so on. I certainly think there is more room to celebrate what schools do and the really excellent work going in so many of them nowadays but that doesn’t make quite the same story as some of the other stuff.

“Although there might be criticism of teachers nationally, people are really positive about teachers at schools their children go to. When people have a connection they are much more positive.

“I started in the 1970s and I think teaching has never been better. I think teachers are far better, far more professional than when I started.”

Labour intends to draw lessons from the system in Japan, a country that is regularly among the top world rankings for reading and numeracy, where the position of teacher is held in significantly higher esteem and newly qualified teachers can wait up to a decade to get a placement, such is the competition. The system is also peculiar for the amount of time that teachers are given to do research and develop their skills and lessons together.

Twigg said: “I want to look at the evidence of what works and actually a lot of the good things come from this country, I am not somebody who disregards good practice in our own country. But it is worth looking at some of those countries with a systematic sustained improvement in their performance in international research in recent years.”

A Department for Education spokesman said: “Thousands of teachers are doing a good job, often in challenging circumstances. We’re undertaking a major reform programme to raise standards in our schools, and teachers’ skills and experience are vital. We all want to raise standards so that the education our children receive is world class.”

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