Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has announced a package of measures aimed at tackling underachievement. The changes include making primary school pupils face formal tests at the age of seven, whilst a pool of ‘elite teachers’ will be recruited to work in underperforming schools. Morgan said it was “tacit snobbery” to restrict pupils from taking core academic subjects and consequently she has announced a new target, requiring 90% of pupils to take core academic subjects at GCSE level.
However head teachers’ leaders have warned that a teacher shortage in some subject areas will make that target “immensely challenging”. Mrs. Morgan stated that “robust and rigorous” checks on progress at the age of seven would help ensure that all pupils had “mastered the basics” before leaving primary school. The Education Secretary also believes that at present there are 20 local authorities where most pupils do not achieve five good GCSE’s, including English and maths.