‘New attainment gap’ opening up between Scotland’s state and private schools thanks to subject choice

A new attainment gap has opened up between privately-educated and poor children thanks to state schools cutting the number of exams pupils can sit, a think tank has concluded. The Telegraph reports. 

Reform Scotland confirmed the number of subjects state pupils can study in S4 has dropped in recent years, with a majority of schools now offering six and a few only five.

In comparison, those whose parents can afford a private education can sit up to 10 subjects, with none of the independent schools surveyed offering fewer than eight.

The think tank also discovered that state schools serving similarly wealthy areas offer eight subjects in one part of the country and only six in another.

Its research questioned how this could be justified and argued that the number of qualifications pupils can sit should be “based on their individual ability” and not where they live.

The report was published after the Telegraph disclosed last year that a majority of Scotland’s state secondaries are teaching their S4 pupils six subjects instead of the traditional gold standard of eight.

The research was conducted by Professor Jim Scott, of Dundee University, who appears on Wednesday before a Holyrood education committee inquiry into the issue.

Keir Bloomer, one of the curriculum’s authors and a Reform Scotland board member, said: “One of the purposes of CfE was to broaden pupils’ education, but instead the way in which it is being implemented is narrowing it significantly.

“There is ample opportunity for pupils to combine practical and academic options when they are enabled to sit nine, eight, or even seven exams, but when we narrow it down to six or five there is very little room for manoeuvre.”

Read the full article ‘New attainment gap’ opening up between Scotland’s state and private schools thanks to subject choice

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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