There will be a General Debate on "Improving Education Standards". This will take place on Thursday 29th November 2018 in the House of Commons Chamber.
Information on relevant Government policies can be found in other Commons Library briefings:
At the end of the primary phase of schooling, children in state-funded schools in England undertake National Curriculum Assessments, commonly known as SATs.
The combined reading, writing, and maths measure uses the reading and maths test results along with the outcome of the writing teacher assessment (TA). To reach the expected standard in all of reading, writing and maths, a pupil must achieve a scaled score of 100 or more in reading and maths tests and an outcome of 'reaching the expected standard' or 'working at greater depth' in writing TA. Together, these subjects give a broad measure of pupil attainment.
In 2018, 64% of pupils reached the expected standard in all of reading, writing and maths, while 10% of pupils reached the higher standard. Attainment in all of reading, writing and maths is not directly comparable to previous years because of changes to writing TA frameworks. In 2017, 61% of pupils reached the expected standard in all of reading, writing and maths compared to 53% in 2016; 9% reached a higher standard in reading, writing and maths compared to 5% in 2016.
The DfE published provisional data for 2018 on pupils' performance in examinations at the end of compulsory schooling - i.e., GCSEs or equivalents - in October. On some headline measures, it is difficult to compare performance across years owing to changes to qualifications and their value in performance tables.
43% of state-school pupils attained a grade 5 or higher in GCSE English and maths or equivalents in 2018, compared to 42.2% in 2017. The 2018 data is subject to later updates.
Ofsted publishes an annual report sumarising trends in inspection findings. The conclusions of the latest report, relating to 2016-17 and published in December 2017, included that:
On 8 October 2018, Sir David Norgrove, Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, wrote to Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, raising "serious concerns" about the Department for Education’s "presentation and use" of statistics. He had earlier received a letter from Shadow Secretary of State for Education, Angela Rayner, about related matters. Among other things, Sir David criticised:
The Government's unqualified use of a figure that "appears to show a substantial increase in the number of children in high performing schools, as judged by OFSTED". This, Sir David said, was "accurate as far as it goes" but did not give a full picture because pupil numbers had been rising at the same time, inspection frameworks had changed, and some high-performing schools hadn't been inspected for some while.
Education Secretary, Damian Hinds MP responded to Sir David's letter, saying that the Government wanted "all departmental statistics to be both factually accurate and used in the right context".
Commons Debate packs CDP-2018-0261
Authors: Andrew Mackley; Robert Long; Nerys Roberts