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This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

Action for Children report

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Apprenticeships, Key Stage Two Tests, Mental Health, Primary Schools

Teacher and class

Today’s blog looks at Action for Children’s report ‘Choose Childhood’, examining the quality of childhood experiences in today’s society. We also look at the interim stats on this year’s Key Stage SATS and the value of high-level apprenticeships.

Action for Children report on childhood happiness

Today, Tuesday 9 July, Action for Children have published its annual ‘Choose Childhood’ report.

The report includes a range of findings, including that children are worrying about adult issues including Brexit, violent crime, online and offline bullying - and that this is impacting upon their childhood.

The Department for Education issued a response to this story, which appeared in BBC Online, Guardian (p5), Telegraph, The Times (p20), Metro (p7) and The Sun (p18). Minister Zahawi was also interviewed live on BBC London (radio), Good Morning Britain, and BBC Breakfast.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

Although in many ways this is the best time yet to be young, I certainly recognise the pressures and worries young people feel.  Growing up has never been easy, but technology and social media can exacerbate the need to fit in and the perception of others’ perfect lives, as well as make it harder to leave being bullied behind at the school gates.

But we are equipping young people for adulthood in a changing world, by identifying mental health problems and providing support in schools, encouraging young people to gain resilience and skills through activities such as sport and music, and teaching young people in school how to navigate the online world safely and constructively.

The Government is also giving young people a voice in the issues they care about, such as combating serious violence and knife crime, addressing mental and physical health challenges and concerns about the environment and climate change, through a new Youth Charter which is in development.

Key Stage 2 interim statistics

Today, Tuesday 9 July, the Department for Education has published interim statistics on this year’s Key Stage 2 national curriculum assessments – better known as SATs.

We are pleased that 65% of pupils met the expected standard in reading, writing and maths combined compared to 64% in 2018 and 53% in 2016 when the more rigorous KS2 tests were brought in, although changes to the writing teacher assessment since 2016 mean results from 2016 to 2018 are not directly comparable.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

These results show the majority of pupils are leaving primary school ready to deal with the challenges of secondary school. The pupils who performed well in these tests will have demonstrated sophisticated grammatical skills like using the subjunctive, the ability to divide fractions and mastery of complex spellings.

We reformed these tests in 2016 to make sure they assessed schools’ performance in equipping pupils to understand the new, improved primary curriculum. These skills will give them the chance to make the most of their potential – this is at the heart of the reforms we’ve introduced across the education system since 2010.

It’s testament to the hard work and dedication of teachers that we have seen results rising over time despite the bar of expectation having been raised.

High level apprenticeships

Also today, The Telegraph (p2) has a comment piece by praising high-level apprenticeships in science, technology and engineering as being as valuable as degrees. This follows the Department for Education’s launch of a consultation reviewing qualifications at Levels 4-5 which aims to boost the quality and access to these qualifications.


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