Pupils who lead the field for work

25th May 2007 at 01:00
Ofsted's key stage 4 findings

WHEN JUDITH smith became head of Babington community college in Leicester eight years ago, she knew the curriculum needed radical change. The academic courses were not meeting the needs of the school's high proportion of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.

She set about creating partnerships with local businesses and was well placed to bring in the new work-related curriculum for 14- to 16-year-olds in 2004.

"Children need more relevance to their studies," she said. "Many of ours have low expectations and they need to be directed to the workforce. We have developed our curriculum so that it's hands-on and has a work-related focus."

Mrs Smith's success is now being replicated across the country as schools provide higher quality work-related key srage 4 learning.

Teaching and learning on the new work-related courses improved significantly during a two-year Ofsted study, published today. By the end, two-thirds of the lessons were good or better.

However, a significant minority of schools were not even providing such lessons. In 20 per cent of schools, the opportunities for work-related learning, which included vocational courses and work experience, were inadequate.

Miriam Rosen, Ofsted's director of education, said that offering a more diverse range of qualifications helped motivate pupils. "Some schools remain reluctant to expand the range of qualifications they offer, while others are not making vocational options available to all and they must broaden their curriculum," she said.

Some schools were worried that Ofsted's inspection regime would judge them harshly if they broadened their curriculum at the expense of improving their GCSE 'points' scores, inspectors said. Schools also tended to concentrate on higher level courses post-16. Demand for level 1 and 2 courses post 16 and for 14-19 diplomas far outstripped supply, they said.

* The Key Stage 4 Curriculum: increased flexibility. www.ofsted.gov.uk

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now