Improving under-performing schools

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion about the performance of schools with over 200 schools failing to meet GCSE targets. Many of these schools may face being taken over or turned into academies. Michael Gove, Education secretary said that “it is not acceptable for us to have schools where two-thirds are not getting good passes”. So, why have so many schools under-performed?

There are a number of possible reasons and as Michael Gove states “We want people to learn from the best schools, to shine a light on excellence.” When it comes to increasing performance, there is no doubt that advisers, teachers and parents will stress that it is ‘choosing’ the right subjects that can make a real difference. If pupils choose subjects that they are interested in, they will inevitably be enthusiastic about learning about them. If not so great choices are made, young people can feel de-motivated and may feel a bit lost on the direction they are taking.

I would say that for schools that are under-performing, it is even more important for them to provide their pupils with good advice and tutoring. The importance of good quality career guidance cannot be stressed enough. Young people also need to see a connection between what they are doing at school and how this will be transferred into the world of work. For example, if they have a burning desire to be an Aeronautical Engineer, then it’s important to be interested in physics  at school. This helps them to see the journey they are on.

For schools that are not performing as well as they can, they would be wise to put resources into their career guidance programme. Where time and manpower is limited, they should use software that can help. They can issue their pupils with access details to use an Internet-based guidance program (such as Kudos or Launchpad) and encourage parents to get involved in the decision-making process. All too often, enough thought isn’t given to these all-important decisions that face pupils before they even begin their study programme.

 For further information on Internet-based guidance for pupils aged 11-13 years old who are considering subject choice, click here for details of Launchpad. Also, to help older pupils aged 13 – 19 years old, see further information on Kudos which is an Internet-based careers program that helps them to match their interests to different jobs.

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