Curriculum and assessment

EBacc – October 2017

In light of the DfE’s EBacc consultation paper, We re-affirm our commitment to our previous statement, namely that ASCL believes in a broad and balanced curriculum and affirms the right of school and college leaders to exercise professional judgements over curriculum decisions. School leaders will continue to make decisions about what pupils study and when, based on the best interests of their pupils.


Methodology for estimating grades - October 2017

JCQ and all associated examination boards should immediately review the methodology for the awarding of estimated marks when one component is lost. The methodology should ensure there is no systematic unfairness to the individual due to the loss of scripts.


Severe grading in MFL - June 2017

ASCL supports Ofqual in tackling severe grading in GCSE MFL so that students learning mainstream GCSE MFL should have a reasonable expectation that they will get similar grades across EBacc subjects, without any systematic variation.


PSHE and SRE - February 2017

Personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education, including sex and relationships education (SRE), is an important and necessary part of all pupils’ education. PSHE (including SRE) should be a statutory* part of children’s learning.

To allow schools the flexibility to deliver high-quality PSHE and SRE which meets the needs of their communities, we consider it unnecessary for the government to provide standardised frameworks or programmes of study. 

*Statutory, but not prescriptive


School performance table qualifications - February 2017

There is need for certainty in the statement of intent over school performance table qualifications before students opt for and embark upon their subject choices.


National Reference Tests - October 2016

ASCL agrees with the proposed National Reference Tests which will enable system improvement to be recognised. We welcome the fact that our concerns have been addressed, particularly in relation to the potential impact on vulnerable students and tiering of the maths paper. However, we hope that a representative sample will be used in order to ensure the statistical validity of these tests.


Qualification Reform - October 2016

ASCL urges that national communication is urgently and frequency disseminated to all stakeholders in order to make clear the implications of qualification reform.


EBacc - October 2016

Whilst there has been no response to the DfE EBacc consultation paper, we re-affirm our commitment to our previous statement, namely that ASCL believes in a broad and balanced curriculum and affirms the right of school and college leaders to exercise professional judgements over curriculum decisions. We will continue to make decisions based on the best interests of our pupils. 


Year 7 resits - April 2016

The white paper proposes re-sits in Year 7 for those pupils “who have not achieved the expected standards” at the end of Key Stage 2. ASCL is in total opposition to this proposal.


PSHE January 2016

Building on the self-improving system, ASCL strongly supports an educational entitlement for every child to receive PSHE.


EBacc – July 2015

  • ASCL believes in a broad and balanced curriculum.

  • ASCL affirms the right of school and college leaders to exercise professional judgements over curriculum decisions – this is in line with the principles of subsidiarity.

  • ASCL has determined a set of outcomes for education and believes firmly that curriculum decisions should follow from these.

  • ASCL rejects determinism by either social background or by perceived intelligence.

  • ASCL believes that high-quality vocational education should be on a par with high-quality academic qualifications.

  • ASCL will work with government to develop a robust teacher supply strategy to ensure that we have enough teachers both nationally and regionally.


National Reference Tests – April 2015

ASCL agrees with the proposal to strengthen the GCSE awarding system by introducing national references tests which will also enable system improvement to be recognised. However, we remain concerned about several practical issues surrounding the test’s implementation, in particular, the need to tier the maths test and the potential impact on vulnerable or anxious students at a critical time in their lives. Heads should have the right to veto the inclusion of such pupils in the tests.


Separate Ofsted Grade on the Curriculum October 2014

In a school-led system, it is for each school to determine the curriculum that meets the needs of its students in particular contexts.

A separate grade for curriculum would imply compliance with a set view of an imposed curriculum which may not be in the best interests of individual students. Judging the curriculum as part of leadership and management ensures it is for senior leaders and governors to determine the curriculum for their students.


Separate Ofsted Grade on the Curriculum October 2014

We support the principle of system leadership in a self-improving school led system and where this is effective, it should be recognised. However we do not think it should be a requirement in formulating a judgement on leadership and management.


Assessment levels – October 2013

Assessing progress accurately is a vital tool for schools.

The current levels make clear what needs to be taught and learned at each key stage and they have become widely understood by the profession, learners and parents. Removing these levels without any attempt to put a coherent national system in its place would significantly affect schools' ability to measure progress meaningfully, adversely affecting students' progress and achievement.

We strongly recommend a review of assessment that takes into account the revised expectations at KS2 and KS4. For all students to make maximum progress, schools need to work within a nationally benchmarked system of assessment that spans through the key stages and allows for data to follow students coherently through their time in education.


Qualification reform – October 2013

An essential part of qualification reform must be a clear statement on the standards which are required to achieve particular grades at GCSE and A levels. These grades must be criterion referenced so that all those involved (students, parents, teachers, governors, colleges, universities, employers) have a clear understanding of what is required. This will also allow the education system to demonstrate whether standards are improving or not. Once the grades and standards for the new GCSEs and A levels have been fixed, they should be kept for a set period of time.