Secondary Curriculum and Assessment

2 April 2018

Commenting after the debate on Motion 45, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the NUT section of the National Education Union, said:

“Assessment and curriculum practices in secondary schools are sacrificing creativity and independence. The demands of EBacc are steering schools towards a narrow range of subjects, driving creative and vocational subjects out of the curriculum. This can harm students’ motivation, engagement and appetite for learning.

“Progress 8 is unlikely to encourage schools to diversify their vocational provision either. To count towards performance tables, vocational courses have had to take on many of the characteristics of academic qualifications and a student completing a non-recognised vocational course will score zero. Secondary teachers are also adamant that the Key Stage 2 SATs are not a reliable benchmark from which to measure pupils’ progress through to age 16.

“Secondary education, like primary, has taken a wrong turn, with classrooms ever more focused on exam and test preparation. A massive effort will be needed to get it back on course. It is essential that we develop a system in which the achievements of all students can be recognised and in which students’ individual strengths and interests can be used as catalysts for supporting good progress and positive life chances.”

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