SCHOOL STANDARDS: SUBJECTS UNDER EXAMINATION

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The Independent Online
ENGLISH

Pupils lack the "reading stamina" to finish a book because they are increasingly taught using short extracts.

A "culture of dependence" has damaged children's ability to write well because lessons now include too many highly structured writing exercises.

Children don't read enough different texts. Schools expect them to study the same classic texts over and over again.

MATHS

Shortage of well-qualified maths teachers in secondary schools. One in five maths teachers does not have a post-A-level maths qualification

Teachers are unhappy with the current GCSE arrangements which see less able students entered for a foundation exam where the highest grade they can achieve is a `D'.

SCIENCE

Teachers warn that the subject has been squeezed by the focus on literacy and numeracy in primary schools

MODERN LANGUAGES

Nearly one in five schools has cut the time spent on language teaching for pupils aged 11 to 14 after Government made the subject optional for GCSE students.

However, more primary schools report some sort of language teaching: 44 per cent, up from 22 per cent in 2001.

HISTORY

Given too low a priority in the curriculum. Too narrow in focus. The youngest primary pupils often learn little more than "the specifics of the Great Fire of London and the work of Florence Nightingale".

"Widespread disquiet" over the narrowing and "Hitlerisation" of history for the over 14s.

In secondary schools, topics such as the British Empire are not treated with the significance they deserve. Local history is being neglected.

GEOGRAPHY

Primary geography is "in poor shape". The subject is given low status and little time.

The number of students taking geography GCSE, AS and A-level has dropped by more than 20 per cent since 1996.

Fieldwork is hampered by schools' concerns about safety, funding and time.

MUSIC

There are doubts about whether children are learning the formal basics - such as a sense of beat and pitch - which are needed for further progression.

Music teaching is "still a lottery" in primary schools with many teachers lacking the confidence to teach it effectively.

INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY

Teaching in secondary schools "is still not as good as other subjects".

For 16 to 18-year-olds the proportion of good or better specialist teaching of ICT is low.

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