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Curriculum and assessment

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NAHT is working to ensure that the curriculum supports the learning, progress and success of all pupils. NAHT supports the principle that a broad and balanced curriculum promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils and prepares pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.

NAHT is campaigning to: 

Support schools to provide a broad and balanced curriculum for their pupils

  • Challenge the government policy, including EBacc, which may narrow the curriculum
  • Enable and support schools to successfully deliver statutory Relationships, Sex and Health Education
  • Lobby for improvements to government policy which supports schools to deliver inclusive education and fulfil their responsibilities under the public sector equality duty
  • Support schools to deliver effective careers education for all pupils
  • Support schools to deliver high-quality Religious Education to all pupils
  • Provide guidance, materials and information to support schools in educating pupils about environmental issues.

Ensure a valid and proportionate approach to statutory assessment in primary schools

  • Lobby the government to reconsider the introduction of the multiplication tables check
  • Lobby the government to ensure changes to the Early Years Foundation Stage and Early Learning Goals are appropriate and relevant for the early years sector
  • Influence the development and implementation of the reception baseline assessment
  • Support members to implement the new statutory assessment for pupils with SEND
  • Identify and challenge the STA over any impact on members of the contract change to deliver statutory assessment in the primary phase
  • Engage with the STA to influence changes and improvements to statutory assessment including moderation and maladministration
  • Campaign for KS2 SPAG to be made non-statutory and oppose any additional statutory testing in the primary phase

Ensure the KS4 and KS5 qualification framework and examination system is fit for purpose

  • Press the government, Ofqual and exam boards to ensure that reformed qualifications, both academic and vocational, meet the needs of all pupils and schools
  • Explore the issue of grade reliability, identifying solutions and improvements which are supported by members and pressing the government and Ofqual for appropriate action
  • Inform members of the latest developments in secondary assessment through engagement with Ofqual, JCQ and awarding organisations. 

Key findings from the 2016 UK provisional GCSE results data

GCSE entries and outcomes 2016

The 2016 UK provisional GCSE results have been published today. 

Overall performance declined

  • A* grades declined 0.1 percentage points (ppt) since last year, to 6.5%
  • A* – A grades declined 0.7 ppt to 20.5%
  • A* - C grades declined 2.1 percentage points to 66.9%
  • However when looking only at outcomes for 16 years olds the reduction is less pronounced.

Maths and English outcomes were affected by changing entry patterns

  • Entry patterns changed due to the new policy requirement for students in England to continue studying England and Maths post 16 if they haven't achieve at least a grade C; Entries by 17 year olds (and older) in Mathematics increased by 32.6%, and in English by 31.9%, compared with 2015.
  • These changes are likely to have contributed to the overall decline in outcomes for both subjects: there was a 6.3 ppt drop in mathematics A* - C grades (to 61.0%) and a 5.2 ppt drop in English A* - C grades (to 60.2%)
  • However, looking only at outcomes for 16 year olds, the proportion achieving grades A* - C in maths increased by 1.4 ppt (to 70.5%). While the proportion of 16 year olds achieving grades A* - C in English saw a decline, but a smaller one than for all students (1.3 ppt, to 71.3%).

Science entries increased, but outcomes declined

  • The number of entries in Biology, Chemistry and Physics rose by 3.6%, 5.7% and 4.6% respectively, while entries for the combined sciences grew by 10.5%
  • However the proportion achieving grades A* - C is down in all of these subjects; Biology is down 0.4 ppt, Chemistry 0.9 ppt and Physics 1.1 ppt. In the combined sciences, A* - C grades in Science are down 3.8 ppt, and in Additional science down 3.5 ppt.
  • These changes are likely to be due to more lower ability students taking these subjects than previously.

Entries to other EBacc subjects vary, but all outcomes decline

  • Entries in History are up 7.0%, and in Geography up 5.5%, however in Modern Foreign Languages only entries in Spanish saw an increase (of 2.1%) while French and German entries declined by 8.1% and 7.0% respectively.
  • A* - C outcomes in all of the above subjects have declined; History is down 3.0 ppt, Geography 2.8 ppt, Spanish 2.3 ppt, French 1.1 ppt and German 0.6 ppt.
  • In the case of History, Geography and Spanish this decline is likely to be as a result of the rise in entries leading to a more varied ability cohort.

Entries to Non-EBacc subjects decline, with slight declines in outcomes

  • There have been declines in entries to Design and Technology (by 10%), Art and Design (by 6%), Music (by 5%) and Drama (by 4%).
  • Except for Design and Technology (which saw a 0.1 ppt increase) outcomes in these subjects have seen small declines; Art and Design is down 0.5 ppt, music is down 0.6 ppt, and drama down 0.4 ppt,

Additionally, Ofqual have released data on the variability of GCSE results for individual schools and colleges. Some year on year variation is normal, and these graphs show that this year there is less variation than last year in both England and Maths, with little change in the amount of variation in other subjects.​

First published 03 January 2018

First published 04 August 2020