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Education in the media: 12 October 2017

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: A Level, GCSE results, Social work, Statistics


Today’s education in the media blog looks at our published provisional statistics on pupil performance in GCSEs and A levels, and the children’s social care sector.

Provisional statistics

Today, Thursday 12 October, the department published provisional statistics that show pupils have performed well in the reformed GCSEs and A levels. We’re pleased to see that the statistics show high numbers of pupils from 2014/15 have also progressed onto further or higher education successfully.

In summary, the statistics illustrate:

  • The number of students entering at least four of the five subjects which are part of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) – maths, English, sciences, humanities and modern foreign languages (MFL) – have increased by 6.2 percentage points this year up to 43.7 per cent in 2017 from 37.5 per cent in 2016.
  • Schools have recorded good results in the new GCSEs in English language, English literature and maths as 42.2 per cent of pupils achieved grades 9-5. 63.3 per cent of pupils achieved a grade 4 and above in the reformed GCSEs.
  • Although the numbers are relatively small, pupils at converter academies and free schools continue to perform above the state-funded school average. Eight out of the 10 top performing schools are either academies or free schools and their average Attainment 8 score is 4 points and 2.2 points higher respectively than local authority mainstream schools this year. The Progress 8 figures at these schools are also slightly higher.
  • The proportion of pupils entering at least one science GCSE increased to 91.2 per cent in state-funded schools in 2017, an increase of 4.5 percentage points compared to equivalent data in 2016.
  • Figures show that 94 per cent of pupils were in sustained education, employment or training in the year after completing their GCSEs, demonstrating that the commitment to raise the participation age to 18 has been a success.
  • Students from a disadvantaged background who achieved top A level grades were just as likely to attend a top university as their counterparts from more affluent backgrounds.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

These are excellent GCSE and A level results. Increasing numbers of pupils are taking core academic subjects. Since 2010, the proportion of pupils taking GCSE science has risen from 63 per cent to 91 per cent and 21 per cent more students are studying maths at A level - which remains the most popular A level.

The fruits of the government’s reforms are best seen in the performance of free schools and academies, which have achieved some outstanding Progress 8 scores. They account for eight of the top 10 performing schools in the country. Often serving areas of significant disadvantage, these schools show that a rigorous curriculum and a strong behaviour ethos is crucial to driving up academic standards in all parts of the country.

Please find a link to the statistics here:

Children’s social care

Today, Thursday 12 October, the Local Government Association (LGA) released analysis claiming that 90 children a day are being taken into care. The report claimed the number of children in the care system is at a record level.

The report’s figures have been covered by the Today Programme, Daily Mirror BBC Online, Guardian and The Sun.

Today, in a speech to the National Children and Adults Services (NCAS) conference in Bournemouth, Minister Goodwill announced up to £20 million of investment in a programme to help all councils improve their services – with a sharp focus on making sure those at risk of failure can make vital improvements.

The multi-million pound government initiative to improve the lives of vulnerable children and families will give councils the tools they need to build stronger services for our most vulnerable children. This includes:

  • Tailored peer support for local authorities, bringing in more councils to the successful Partners in Practice programme;
  • The testing of ‘Regional Improvement Alliances’, made up of neighbouring local authorities. Alliances will see councils challenging each other on standards, agreeing local improvement priorities, and sharing best practice, in order to deliver more for children and families.

Robert Goodwill, Minister for Children and Families, said:

Councils will receive more than £200 billion for local services, including children’s social care, up to 2020. This is part of a historic four-year settlement which means councils can plan ahead with certainty.

All children deserve the best possible support and while some councils are doing excellent work, we want to help ensure more LAs provide good and outstanding services.

That’s why we have invested £200 million through our Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme, providing councils and the voluntary and community sector with funding and support to develop new and better ways of delivering services for vulnerable children and families. As well as this I am also announcing up to £20m to support further improvement in children’s social care services.

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