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Limited Choices: NAHT's secondary survey 2017

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Following a number of reforms to the Secondary curriculum, as well as policy proposals around EBacc, NAHT has released its report following a survey of secondary school leaders. Respondents were asked their views on EBacc, AS/A-Levels, transition and mental health and wellbeing in secondary schools.

NAHT's Limited Choices report highlights that:


  • The majority of individuals (87%) are opposed to the proposal that at least 90% of students in mainstream secondary schools should be entered for the EBacc.
  • Of those that responded, 79% reported a negative impact of the EBacc policy on the curriculum offer in their school.
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Key Stage 5 (KS5)

  • For those who offer AS/A Levels, 68% reported having to remove or reduce the number of AS Levels as a result of the decoupling of AS and A Levels, and a further 27% reported a reduction in the range of A Level subjects offered as a result.
  • 62% of individuals reported that changes to sixth form funding had resulted in a decrease in the breadth of subjects offered, and over half (54%) reported that the funding changes had led to an increase in class sizes in KS5.
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  • Just over half of respondents (55%) feel that the key stage 2 (KS2) scaled scores are less or much less useful than the previous KS2 levels.
  • Of those who responded, 85% reported having used year 7 assessments (e.g. CATs, reading and spelling tests) this year.
  • Looking forward, 69% are planning to implement or continue to use this type of year 7 assessments in the next academic year and for the foreseeable future.
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 Mental Health and well-being

  • More than one in five (21%) of individuals reported that their students currently have access to a full-time school-based counsellor, while a further 50% reported that their students had access to a part-time school-based counsellor, both of which are funded out of school budgets.
  • Worryingly, nearly a third of respondents (31%) report a decrease in services they offer for the emotional and mental well-being of students in the upcoming year, with only 13% of people reporting an increase. For those who reported a change in their offer, the most common reason for this is budget pressure (67%).
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The full report can be accessed below. 

If you're not yet a member of NAHT, but would like to join, you can find all the relevant information here