Summer term and exams go together, so best wishes to all the senior school pupils involved in A levels and GCSE exams – and to their support teams at home and at school who have helped them with their studies and revision.
This year, pupils have been taking new and more rigorous GCSEs. The gold-standard GCSEs cover the sciences, French, German, Spanish, history and geography. The science GCSE subjects include space physics and the human genome. There will also be a new grading system in operation, from 9 to the top grade to 1 for the lowest. Following changes to GCSE maths and English last year, 59.1 per cent of pupils achieved a grade 4 or above.
There will also be families where children will be moving on to senior school in September. Given the keen interest in education in my constituency and all the others in Buckinghamshire, there will be inevitably have been some families who have been disappointed when pupils have not been able to secure a place at their first choice of school.
Earlier in May, the Education Secretary, the Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, announced measures to create more school places. Although grammar schools were amongst those schools – which will be of interest to Buckinghamshire parents – the announcement covered free schools and new support for faith schools.
There should be a good school place available for every child, no matter what their background. For selective schools, the proposals would involve schools preparing and submitting a fair access and partnership plan, to set out what action they will take to increase admissions of disadvantaged pupils. £50 million in funding is being put towards this goal.
Overall, standards are rising in schools, so that now there are 1.9 million more children in good or outstanding schools than in 2010.
This article first appeared in the Burnham Advertiser on 1st June 2018