Press release

New data shows that pupils miss out on core academic subjects

Thousands of pupils are missing out on the opportunity to study the core academic subjects, new figures reveal today.

The revelation comes as the Department for Education publishes over a million items of data - first published by the Coalition Government last year - about the performance of every state school in last year’s GCSE exams. This comes on top of the publication two weeks ago of 400 per cent more league table data.

The figures show that across England there are:

  • 137 schools where no pupils were entered for geography GCSE
  • 57 schools where no pupils were entered for history GCSE
  • 30 schools where no pupils were entered for a modern language GCSE
  • 219 schools where no pupils were entered for French GCSE
  • 1,067 schools where no pupils were entered for Spanish GCSE
  • 516 schools where no pupils were entered for any of the individual science GCSEs

Research published last year by the Department from NatCen showed the huge positive impact the EBacc is having on future GCSE choices. Since its introduction, 47 per cent of pupils taking GCSEs in 2013 are now studying a combination of EBacc subjects - English, maths, a language, history or geography, and two sciences. In 2011, only 22 per cent of pupils were entered for the EBacc in state-funded schools.

Today’s figures also show that schools are not entering as many boys as girls for the EBacc. In 2011, almost one in four girls (23.9 per cent) were entered for the EBacc subjects, compared to under one in five boys (19.4 per cent).

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said:

Today we have published even more data, which until last year was kept secret, so that parents can see what is happening in our schools. Parents can now tell how many children are entered for key academic subjects.

These core subjects are the stepping stone to higher education and employment. But far too many schools simply aren’t giving their pupils the opportunity to study them.

We should have high expectations for all children regardless of their circumstances. Thanks to the EBacc, more young people are now studying the subjects that universities and top employers value.

The statistics also reveal that thousands of disadvantaged children are being failed by their schools. White British boys who qualify for free schools meals are less than half as likely as their peers to get five or more A*-C grades at GCSE including English and maths. Only 26 per cent of them achieved this level, compared with the national average of 58 per cent.

Nick Gibb added:

All too often, talented children from poorer backgrounds simply don’t have the same opportunities as their wealthier peers, meaning they struggle to go onto further education or the jobs they deserve.

Through the Pupil Premium, we are specifically targeting funding at disadvantaged pupils, so that schools have the resources they need to make a difference.

We want to create good schools for all, by expanding the Academies programme to give more schools real freedoms over how they are run, recruiting the best graduates into teaching, and restoring order in the classroom.

The statistics also show a far greater proportion of children with Chinese (78.5 per cent) and Indian (74.4 per cent) origins achieve five or more A*-C grades at GCSE English and maths than their peers. As well as being the highest attainers, children with Chinese origins also have higher levels of progress for English (88.5 per cent) and maths (94.7 per cent) than their peers.

Girls continue to outperform boys. 61.9 per cent of girls achieved five or more A*-C grades at GCSE including English and maths, compared with 54.6 per cent of boys - an attainment gap of 7.3 percentage points.

Notes to editors:

  1. The school level subject data for Key Stage 4 for 2011 is available on our statistics website.

  2. The GCSE pupil characteristics data for 2011 is available on our statistics website.

  3. The NatCen survey was published in August 2011.

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