Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Underperforming Children

Oral Answers to Questions — Education – in the House of Commons on 4th February 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

What steps he is taking to identify children who perform well at primary level but underperform at higher levels of education.

Photo of Damian Hinds Damian Hinds The Secretary of State for Education

The Department, of course, measures the progress that pupils make between the end of primary education and their GCSEs, and those data can help schools to identify where and when to put additional support in place.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

This is nothing short of a national scandal and a national disgrace, because we all know where we lose these talented children. We lose them in this transition period, and who do we lose? Poorer children from deprived backgrounds. When will we have a big beast on the Government Benches who will see this as a national disgrace and do something about it?

Photo of Damian Hinds Damian Hinds The Secretary of State for Education

I assume the hon. Gentleman means the transition between years 6 and 7, to which I acknowledge we have not paid enough attention—both before and after 2010. That is one of the reasons why we are looking at this in the Opportunity North East programme, and in other piloting opportunities, but it is not the only thing to look at. I am pleased to be able to say that the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their peers has shrunk both at key stage 2 and key stage 4, but there is much still to do.

Photo of Lucy Powell Lucy Powell Labour/Co-operative, Manchester Central

Commiserations for yesterday’s football, Mr Speaker; I am sorry.

The recent University of Bristol report shows that 40% of so-called underperforming secondary schools would actually be out of category if the progress 8 measure were more rounded. That is in addition to the Education Policy Institute study that found a very strong correlation between the number of deprived children and a school’s Ofsted rating. Given the high-stakes accountability regime in schools, is it not about time we had a much more profound and deeper understanding of what makes a good school, instead of just hammering, time and again, the most challenging schools that are doing a very good job in difficult circumstances?

Photo of Damian Hinds Damian Hinds The Secretary of State for Education

Not at all. The progress 8 measure is materially better than the main measure in place during the last Labour Government, the “five-plus C-plus” measure at GCSE. Progress 8 measures the progress of all children, and it is right that we have high expectations for all children. Progress 8 is a much better measure.