Exclusive: Teacher ‘unhappiness’ as exams tighten their grip on the curriculum

According to TES, the majority of both teachers and parents believe that the pressure on schools to deliver good exam results is increasingly leading to a narrowing of the curriculum.

Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said that government obsession with exam rigour was “turning secondary school education into a long grind towards GCSEs”.

The YouGov poll shows that three-quarters of teachers and three-fifths of parents believe schools have offered a more restricted curriculum over the past three years than previously.  

Of all teachers questioned, 90 per cent think too many schools are pressuring teachers to concentrate on an exam-driven syllabus to the exclusion of the wider curriculum.

School leaders have blamed the accountability system for putting too much pressure on them to deliver results.

The poll of more than 900 teacher and 1,000 parents of children under 18 also shows that:

  • Seven in 10 teachers (71 per cent) are concerned that teaching a more restricted curriculum has a negative impact on classroom behaviour.
  • Eighty-seven per cent of teachers and 76 per cent of parents believe teaching pupils a more rounded curriculum from a younger age would better prepare children for later academic success.
  • Almost eight in 10 (78 per cent) think a restricted curriculum does not address children who develop at a later stage than their peers.

The research, carried out by YouGov, also showed that more female (86 per cent) than male (73 per cent) teachers believe that a focus on exam results and grades adds to feelings of professional frustration.

The Department for Education has been approached for comment.

Read more Exclusive: Teacher ‘unhappiness’ as exams tighten their grip on the curriculum

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