Schools on course to miss Government's GCSE exam target
The science pass rate is set to drop as a result of examiners making physics, chemistry and biology papers tougher
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Sunday 18 August 2013
A growing number of secondary schools are in danger of failing to reach the Government's minimum target for performance as a result of this Thursday's GCSE results.
The science pass rate is set to drop as a result of examiners making physics, chemistry and biology papers tougher in the wake of complaints that they were too easy.
In addition, maths is expected at best to be pegged at its present rate or even fall as thousands of pupils are put in for the exam a year early. Figures released by exams regulator Ofqual showed 90,000 candidates sat the exam a year early last year - with more expected to have done so this year.
Against this background schools are expected to improve their performance with a minimum of 40 per cent of pupils achieving five top A* to C grade passes including maths and English - compared with just 35 per cent last year.
Experts said that it would be the maths pass rate that would place schools in most difficulty of reaching the minimum target - partly as a result of a rise in the percentage of pupils taking the exam a year early to nearly one in four (23 per cent),
In English, too, experts believe it will be difficult to improve substantially on last year's pass rate when the grade boundaries were raised for those sitting the exam in June. The new boundaries have been fixed in line with the June figures - rather than the January ones which saw a flood of candidates achieving vital C grade passes.
Professor Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Employment and Education at Buckingham University, said: “More schools are probably not going to make it because some schools relied on continually improving grades to carry them over the floor target.”
Ofqual has clamped down on that - insisting that the pass rate should be “broadly” in line with previous years as a result of its policy of “comparative outcomes” between different years.
If schools fail to reach the minimum floor target, they face inspectors from the education standards watchdog Ofsted being sent in - and the prospect of being forced to become an academy with a sponsor appointed to it by Education Secretary Michael Gove. In such cases, headteachers often face the sack.
At present, around 200 schools are below the Government's target for last year of 35 per cent of pupils reaching the required five A* to C grade passes including maths and English.
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
Greece debt crisis: Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande issue Athens with 24-hour ultimatum to avoid crashing out of the euro
Greece crisis: Referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its lack of genuine legitimacy
- 1 Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
- 2 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 3 Nick Kyrgios calls former Olympian Dawn Fraser a 'blatant racist' after she tells Wimbledon star to 'go back where their parents came from'
- 4 World learns of app that shows you who unfriended you on Facebook, app promptly crashes
- 5 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
£22000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To contribute to the day-to-da...
£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: It is also essential that you p...
£27000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Edinburgh city centre scho...
£30000 - £31000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An independent boys' school sit...