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Education commissions review of core subjects

12 November 2012

Full-scale reviews of maths, English and science are to be undertaken by the Education, Sport and Culture Department.

The maths review will start before the end of 2012 and the tendering process for the English review will begin early in 2013. A date for the science review will be published after that. All the work will be carried out by subject specialists from the UK.

The reviews, which will look at both primary and secondary schools in the States sector, are part of an ongoing drive to raise standards for all pupils and to close the gap between the highest and lowest performing students. The importance of core subjects was highlighted in the recent consultation exercise and literacy and numeracy have been the focus of comments from the business sector via the Skills Executive and Skills Board.

Priority areas

The Minister for Education, Sport and Culture, Deputy Patrick Ryan, said “The importance of core subjects is indisputable. It is absolutely essential that we have the strongest possible results in these areas. Teachers, employers and parents have recognised that this should be a priority. We are all determined to work towards the best possible results for the Island and for every pupil.”

While 2012 GCSE results overall are consistent with previous years - and broadly as expected for a highly selective system - some schools appear to have been disproportionately affected by the grade boundary controversy in the UK, which saw some students achieve below expected levels in English GCSE. The issue has particularly affected students in the C-D grade range.

Strong foundation

As a result, English GCSEs have fallen overall this year. However, maths results have improved in all Jersey schools. Island-wide they are the strongest for five years although slightly behind the UK average. Science results for separate subjects in biology, chemistry and physics remain strong, but core science and additional science are slightly down.

ESC Minister Deputy Patrick Ryan said “This is not just about GCSEs, although they are important. We need to equip our young people with strong numeracy and literacy skills, whatever their academic level, so they have a good foundation for their future careers.

“The grade boundary debacle has distorted results this year, but despite this there have been many positive gains at all levels. There is already a huge amount to celebrate in our schools and we will continue to aim higher.” 

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