'It is a national scandal': head of Ofsted calls for MORE tests as it's claimed secondary schools fail the brightest children

'It is a national scandal', head of Ofsted calls for more tests as it's claimed state schools fail the brightest children

More exams will help to raise secondary school standards, says Ofsted

Friday, June 10, 2016

The chief inspector of schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has told talkRADIO that secondary schools are failing the brightest children and that more testing, not less, is the way to ensure higher standards. 

Figures released by Ofsted have revealed that only 27 per cent of pupils who were high-attaining at primary school went on to achieve a minimum 'B' grade at GCSE in the core subjects of English and maths. 

Sir Michael, who heads up the schools' regulatory body, described the fall-off in achievement between primary and secondary schools as a "national scandal". 

"We have got to step up a number of gears on this one," he told Julia Hartley-Brewer. 

"The problem is in secondary. Two-thirds of youngsters do really well and get the top grades at the end of key stage two (11 years old), and then when it comes to 16 and GCSEs, two-thirds of them don't get the top grades.

"What we've called for in my report today is a return of the key stage three tests [at age 14], in English, maths and science.

"When [students] move to secondary schools there isn't a formal test examination until they reach 16, and that's why we're seeing so much drift in the first few years of secondary school."

The Ofsted head dismissed complaints from some parents and teachers that there is already too much testing.

"That's nonsense, and I speak as an ex-head teacher and teacher," he said. "I would always say forget about the tests, do not teach to the tests. What I want you to do is teach well.

"Children like to know how well they're doing, and like to compare their performance against other children."

But teacher Francis Gilbert, author of The New School Rules: A Parent's Guide to Getting the Best Education for your Child, told Julia that the continued testing of young people is not the answer. 

"I'd like to re-assure parents that Ofsted rates eight out of 10 schools as good or outstanding," he said. "So I am not sure it's fair to say that all secondary schools are failing the brightest pupils.

"To judge the whole of your school career on two or three hours in a written exam is not a fair assessment."