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The Daily Poll – 07/11/2013

A survey has been released by The Historical Association which showed that 40 per cent of secondary schools questioned have restricted children in lower sets, defined in the original news report as “Less intelligent”, from continuing to study history to GCSE level.

This research has found that some children in lower sets are being encouraged to drop this tough subject between the ages of 14-16 as their teachers “fear their schools will be dragged down” the GCSE league tables. The data showed that ‘Restrictions are usually based on students’ prior or predicted attainment but very different standards are applied in different contexts.

“Some schools allow students to take history only if they seem likely to attain a grade C, while others regard much lower grades (F or even G) as nonetheless worthwhile.”

Doctor Katherine Burn from the Faculty of Education at Oxford University said that this approach “could be linked to the pressure on schools to get a high proportion of A* to C grades at GCSE.”

The report said that although for many there is a “genuinely free choice” for pupils wishing to pursue a History GCSE, “others simply rule out the option of any kind of history study beyond the end of Key Stage 3 for those who do not meet minimum requirements”.

The Department for Education denied the survey’s findings saying that submissions had increased by 16.7 per cent. A spokesperson said “This is a self-selecting survey which presents a picture which is simply not true.”

So what do you think? Is it right to restrict less abled students from studying harder subjects? Is it fair to put a child forward for a qualification they are unlikely to pass? Could the Pupil Premium be used to support these pupils?

Join the Twitter debate @_TheSchoolBus #DailyPoll0711 and don’t forget to answer the daily poll!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2488980/Thousands-pupils-barred-taking-GCSE-history-teachers-fear-schools-dragged-league-tables.html – Thousands of pupils barred from taking GCSE history because teachers fear their schools will be dragged down league tables

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10431008/Less-intelligent-pupils-barred-from-taking-history-GCSEs.html – Less intelligent pupils ‘barred from taking history GCSEs’

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I'm an ex-teacher with a real passion for education, politics and teaching. I am also a keen writer and blogger with strong opinions.

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