Reporting of linear results in August by exam boards - October 2018
What is the context? Access to detailed data on the results of general qualifications supplied to centres by awarding organisations has become more complicated as a result of linearisation. In previous years, the breakdown by units could be uploaded to respective centre databases, alongside the final grade. This allowed schools and colleges to automate the communication of the detail to pupils on the day of results. This in turn allowed for the centre to prioritise the needs of individuals who required specific support on the day.
It is now the case that detailed exam data for the new linear A Levels and GCSEs is only available on the boards’ extranets. As such, separate files need to be downloaded from each of the boards. The impact is that pupils are not receiving the detail in their results letters unless the school manually inputs the data having extracted it from the variety of different sources. This requires a significant volume of work under very tight timescales and has the added risk of human error.
ASCL position: Recent changes to the format of linear examination results do not provide sufficient information on grade boundary proximity. This prevents timely and necessary discussions with pupils and universities. For 2019, we urge JCQ-awarding organisations to agree a common accessible format for publication of such data to inform decision making for all stakeholders.
Why are we saying it? The administrative burden on centres has increased as a result of these changes. There is also an increase in anxiety for pupils who are not able to see the detail of their marks when they have not achieved the grade they had hoped for. We urge that Ofqual encourages JCQ to agree a common format for publication of such data.
Three-year Key Stage 4 - June 2018
What is the context? Following speeches from the HMCI Amanda Spielman, National Director Sean Harford and Ofsted’s initial review of the curriculum, Ofsted has been criticising secondary schools’ decisions to operate a three-year Key Stage 4.The revised Ofsted Framework is scheduled for 2019.
ASCL position: Evidence suggests that there is an even split of schools delivering a two-year and three-year Key Stage 4. ASCL robustly defends the right of school leaders to make such a moral decision in the best interests of students in their care. ASCL supports this basic tenet of a self-improving system.
Why are we saying it? Each school’s context is different and schools are responding to the demands of a revised national curriculum and reformed qualifications in every single subject at GCSE. School leaders are in the best position to determine how to structure their curriculum in order to give students the best educational opportunities and the best chance of success in these important qualifications.
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.
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.