Thousands of poorer pupils miss out on traditional exam subjects

The Yorkshire Post is reporting that thousands of pupils from poor backgrounds miss out on taking on foreign language and humanities at GCSE limiting their future choices at university, a new report has warned.

Research published today has identified 15,000 disadvantaged pupils who it says should have been expected to take either history or geography but did not and another 11,000 who did not take a modern foreign language.

It found that many schools have changed their curriculum in response to a change in Government policy to allow more students to take on core subjects.

The coalition Government created the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) to encourage schools to ensure students take on more traditional subjects. The Government is also bringing in another new performance measure which scores schools for pupils’ progress and their results across eight subjects. 

Now a new report, by Dr Rebecca Allen and Dave Thomson of Education Datalab, looks at how the introduction of the EBacc and ‘Progress 8 and Attainment 8’ have affected school’s choices.

They found that it was disadvantaged pupils who benefited most from the curriculum change with poorer students at these schools more likely to have taken EBacc subjects than at those schools who did not change their curriculum. Dr Becky Allen, director of Education Datalab and the report’s lead author, added: “In schools that have led the way in re-orientating their curriculum towards EBacc subjects, students seem to have benefitted.”

More at: Thousands of poorer pupils miss out on traditional exam subjects

Should a student’s GCSE choices be dictated by government policy, or by their own interests? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Nellie

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  1. All pupils should have a broad and balanced curriculum to age 16.  There would then be no need for them to make choices at 14.  This policy would bring UK in line with most of the developed world where pupils don’t make choices until the end of lower secondary (age 15/16).

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