HMI Secondary Survey (1979)

Background notes

The complete report is shown in this single web page. You can scroll through it or use the following links to go to the various chapters.

Preliminary pages (page iii)
Contents, List of Tables

Introduction (1)

Part I Information about the schools in the survey

Chapter 1 (4)
The nature and conduct of the survey
Chapter 2 (6)
The schools in the sample
Chapter 3 (13)
Curricular provision
Chapter 4 (44)
Staffing and deployment of teachers

Part II Assessments and findings

Chapter 5 (67)
The assessments
Chapter 6 (71)
Chapter 7 (111)
Chapter 8 (164)
Chapter 9 (206)
Personal and social development
Chapter 10 (241)
Public examinations (at age 16)
Chapter 11 (251)
Pupils' behaviour - some special problems

Part III

Chapter 12 (260)
General reflections
Chapter 13 (265)
Looking forward

Glossary (271)

Appendix 1 (276)
The forms used in the survey
Appendix 2 (295)
Statistical appendix
Appendix 3 (301)
Further aspects of statistical evidence
Appendix 4 (306)
Gifted pupils

Index (308)

The text of Aspects of secondary education in England was prepared by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 4 June 2006.

Aspects of secondary education in England
A survey by HM Inspectors of Schools (1979)

London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office 1979
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.

[title page]

Department of Education and Science
December 1979

Aspects of
secondary education
in England

A survey by HM Inspectors of Schools

London   Her Majesty's Stationery Office

[page ii]

Crown copyright 1979
First published 1979

ISBN 0 11 270498 0

[page iii]


List of tablesv

Conventions adopted in Tables


Information about the schools in the survey

1 The nature and conduct of the survey

2 The schools in the sample
Introduction - type and ability range - catchment area - age range - size - single sex and coeducational schools - interdependence of factors - drawing conclusion from sample figures.

3 Curricular provision
I Introduction: Introduction - secondary school curriculum II The curriculum prior to the fourth year: Aspects of curricular provision - gifted pupils - prevailing curricular pattern to the fourth year - consultation on curricular choice III The fourth year curriculum: the 'core' - number of options - organisation of options - comparison with fifth year - class size in 'core' and options - class size and examination target in English and French - prevailing curricular pattern in the fourth and fifth years IV Some issues and practical problems: change in curriculum at 14 - curricular differentiation - complexity, 'balance' and coherence.

4 Staffing and deployment of teachers
Introduction - tabulations - staffing of particular subjects - distribution of teachers between schools - deployment within the school - deployment between different year groups - general considerations of staffing.

Assessments and findings

5 The assessments
Procedures - written reports - gradings - provision and response - ability categories - processing the evidence.

6 Language
Methods and criteria of assessment - reading - writing - talking and listening - the summary assessments - language and learning policies in schools - conclusions.

7 Mathematics
Assessment of mathematics in the survey - mathematics in the

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curriculum - types of courses - some aspects of content - accommodation and material provision - teaching approaches and pupils' responses - organisational aspects of the mathematics department - links with other subjects - staffing - summing up.

8 Science
Place of science in the curriculum - take-up by pupils - character and content of courses - science and other subjects of the curriculum - extracurricular activities - accommodation and resources - staffing - organisation and work of science departments - teaching styles - assessment and evaluation - general summary of provision - response of pupils - general summary of 'response' - general discussion of main findings and issues - Annex: assessments related to uptake of Nuffield project.

9 Personal and social development
Introduction - contribution of curriculum - arrangements for pastoral care - careers education, curricular and careers guidance - concluding comments.

10 Public examinations (at about age 16)
General - entry practice and policy - O-level and CSE - number and range of subjects offered in examinations by schools - number and range of subjects taken by individual pupils - factors influencing school policies with regard to examinations - effects of decisions regarding examination entry - reasonableness of entry policies - effects of examinations on the fourth and fifth years - constraints affecting schools - schools' use of examinations.

11 Pupils' behaviour - some special problems


12 General reflections

13 Looking forward


Appendix 1 The forms used in the survey

Appendix 2 Statistical appendix
Processing the information - sampling error - comparison of sample with national statistics

Appendix 3 Further aspects of statistical evidence

Appendix 4 Gifted pupils


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List of Tables

Chapter 2 The schools in the sample
2A Distribution of sample: by type of school7
2B Distribution of sample schools: by the percentages of pupils with serious learning difficulties and type of school8
2C Distribution of sample schools: by catchment area and type9
2D Distribution of sample schools: by age range and type9
2E Distribution of sample: by type and size of school10
2F Distribution of sample: by type of school and sex of pupils10

Chapter 3 Curricular provision
3A Differentiation by sex in craft subjects: by type of school15
3B Organisation of teaching groups in year 3: by type of school16
3C Subjects set in year 3: by type of school17
3D Additional languages offered in years 2 and 3: by type of school18
3E Consultation before curricular choice: by type of school20
3F Curricular organisation in year 4: by type of school21
3G Time allocated to 'core' subjects in year 4: by type of school22
3H Provision of religious education in year 4: by type of school23
3I Incidence of additional subjects in the 'core' in year 4: by type of school24
3J Number of option blocks in the timetable for year 4: by type of school25
3K Number of optional subjects provided in year 4: by type of school25
3L Average class size for 'core' and options in year 4: by type of school32
3M Classes in English in year 4 and their examination targets33
3N Average sizes of classes in English in year 4: by type of school and examination target34
3O Distribution of class sizes in English in year 4: by type of school34
3P Classes in French in year 4 and their examination targets35
3Q Average sizes of classes in French in year 4: by type of school and examination target35
3R Distribution of class sizes in French in year 4: by type of school36
3S Pupils taking French in year 4: by sex and by type of school36

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Chapter 4 Staffing and deployment of teachers
4A Qualifications of teachers: by type of school45
4B Proportions of women teachers within each type of qualification: by type of school46
4C Teachers on each scale: by type of school46
4D Women teachers on each scale: by type of school47
4E Heads of departments: by type of qualification and proportion of women48
4F Teachers: by age and teaching experience49
4G Teachers who have a qualification in their first stated subject of teaching50
4H Qualifications of teachers who teach religious education as their first subject: by type of school53
4I Teachers with qualifications in English: by subjects taught53
4J Qualifications of teachers of English: by type of school54
4K Teachers with qualifications in French: by subjects taught55
4L Qualifications of teachers of French: by type of school56
4M Pupil-teacher ratios: by size of school58
4N Contact ratios of all secondary schools59
4O Teaching time and contact ratio for all schools: by Burnham scale for teachers60
4P Teaching provision in two 11-16 comprehensive schools of the same size for each year group of pupils62
4Q Operational pupil-teacher ratios for each year group of pupils: by type and age range of school64

Chapter 7 Mathematics
7A Examination target of pupils in years 4 and 5: by type of school and sex116
7B Types of course: by year group and type of school122
7C Type of course and examination target of pupils in years 4 and 5 in full range comprehensive schools125
7D Schools and pupils involved in the use of computers: by type of school134
7E Overall average sizes of teaching groups in years 4 and 5: by type of school and examination target147
7F Links between mathematics teaching and other subjects148
7G Assessments of provision and response: by ability groups156

Chapter 8 Science
8A Numbers of science subjects studied in years 4 and 5: by type of school and sex of pupils166
8B Science subjects studied by pupils in years 4 and 5: by type of school and sex of pupils167
8C Science subjects studied by girls in years 4 and 5 in single sex and mixed schools: by type of school169

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8D Science subjects studied by boys in years 4 and 5 in single sex and mixed schools: by type of school170
8E Science teachers: main subject taught by type of qualification and type of school178
8F Science teachers: match between main subject taught and subject of qualification179
8G Science class sizes in year 4: by examination target181
8H Schools making use of science projects205

Chapter 9 Personal and social development
9A Provision of careers education programme in years 4 and 5: by type of school230
9B Arrangements made by schools offering careers education programmes to all pupils231
9C Provision of teachers with responsibility for careers education: by size of school233
9D Responsibilities of heads of careers233

Chapter 10 Public examinations
10A Number of subjects offered in examination: by type of school243
10B Number of subjects offered in examinations: by size of school243

A2A Pattern for hypothesis testing on distributions of gradings297
A2B Standard errors of proportions of types of school298
A2C Standard errors of proportions of subsamples of teachers298
A2D Comparison of sample with national population of schools: by type and size of school and sex of pupils299
A4A Gifted pupils: by type of school306
A4B Schools making special provision for gifted and talented pupils: by type of school307

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Two symbols are used in tables:

- where a figure is negligible (less than half a per cent).

* figure omitted because of small number of sample schools.

Percentages are usually indicated by an italic typeface. Owing to the accumulation of rounding errors, they may not add to exactly 100 per cent.

The following abbreviations are used throughout the tables in the report:

FR CompFull ability range comprehensive
RR CompRestricted ability range comprehensive

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0.1 The report which follows is the outcome of a survey extending over the years 1975-1978. Over some fifteen years a large part of the secondary school system had undergone reorganisation; substantial curricular research and development had been sponsored, partly in direct response to comprehensive reorganisation planned or in progress, partly also in preparation for the raising of the school leaving age which occurred in 1973; a new examination, the Certificate of Secondary Education, had been introduced, styles of examining had been diversified and the proportion of 16 year olds entering for public examinations had markedly increased.

0.2 This survey was therefore begun when some stocktaking of the secondary scene seemed timely. During the next three years the nature of secondary education for all, and public expectations of schools, emerged as matters of wide general debate. The period, as it happens, also coincided with one of economic restraints, still continuing, with cumulative consequences for the resources of schools and the services which support them. At the present time, the prospect of falling school population and consequent further reorganisation, a proposed new system of examinations at 16-plus and the continuing efforts of teachers to make the curriculum responsive to developing needs all indicate further changes ahead. This report is about schools in transition in more than one sense.

0.3 There were practical limits to what could be attempted. A detailed study of every aspect of secondary education would certainly have imposed a formidable burden on the schools in the scale and length of inspection visits and in the quantity of information required. To employ such an approach over a sufficiently large national sample of schools would also have made impossible demands on HMI manpower, since much other essential work had also to be maintained while the survey was in progress. Consequently, readers are unlikely to find comment on all the matters which they might hope to see here. For example, no study was undertaken of links between primary and secondary schools on the one hand, or between secondary schools and further education on the other. Both were considered, but the much wider visiting of institutions which would have been necessary to see both ends of each 'link' made it impracticable to include these enquiries within this survey. Again, although in broad terms the survey took account of how schools sought to provide for the range of needs represented in their pupils, no special study was made of the education of ethnic minority pupils.

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0.4 The survey concentrated on the final two years of compulsory schooling. The experience, capacities and attitudes which young people have acquired by the age of 16 represent the educational capital with which they either enter directly adult working life or embark on further and higher education. It seemed an appropriate stage at which to sample what was on offer.

0.5 The inclusion of some standardised testing was considered, but at the time when the survey was being planned a sufficient range of suitable tests for pupils of that age group was not available. Such tests in any case could have touched only a very small fraction of the pupils' education. Assessment based on normal inspection methods of observation in the classroom and about the school, discussion with teachers and pupils and scrutiny of recorded work made it possible to take account of a far wider range of learning and teaching.

0.6 Nevertheless, some selection had to be exercised. It would have been possible simply to assess the pupils' work in a number of subjects. But to do so would have done less than justice to the complexity of the tasks facing the schools or to current curricular thinking. Thus, for example, the 'Bullock Report'* had recently highlighted the importance of language in learning and the implications of this for teaching in all subjects. To discover, therefore, what the schools were doing for their pupils in respect of language development, it was necessary to look beyond the work in English lessons alone. Again, in looking at mathematics and science, it was important to take account of how far the pupils' understanding and skills were being reinforced in the teaching of other subjects. Another consideration was how far, and by what means, schools fostered the personal and social development of their pupils. Later parts of this report describe how the survey was designed to take particular account of these concerns. Both the concept and the assessment of 'personal and social development' presented peculiar difficulties, and the conclusions are necessarily more tentative. Given the interest and the importance of this aspect of education, the attempt was nevertheless worth making.

0.7 There are substantial sections of the report concerned with language, mathematics, science education, and personal and social development. The fact that other aspects or subjects of the curriculum are not so highlighted implies no undervaluing of their importance, nor, indeed, that they were ignored in the visits to schools. Work was seen in all subjects of the curriculum and, within the limits of time available, the life of the schools outside the classroom was also explored. This wider sampling 'across the curriculum' was essential to the assessments attempted, especially for language and for personal and social development.

0.8 The substantial amount of factual information supplied by the schools on curriculum and staffing provides the contexts for the discussion of the work observed. It also indicates the different and sometimes unequal circumstances in which schools operate.

*A language for life. Report of a Committee of Enquiry appointed by the Secretary of State under the chairmanship of Sir Alan Bullock. HMSO. 1975.

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0.9 This report offers, then, some account of how well schools provide and their pupils respond in the fourth and fifth years of secondary education. Those years are important for the pupils' future. They are also years in which public examinations, as the report itself shows, exert a heavy pressure. We are grateful to the schools for cooperating so readily.

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1 The nature and conduct of the survey

1.1 The survey was planned as a series of inspections covering a 10 per cent sample of maintained secondary schools. Attention was to be focused on the last two years of compulsory schooling, without precluding observation of some classes in other years where this seemed appropriate or helpful to appreciation of the school's work and organisation in the fourth and fifth years. Schools of all types and age ranges were included, with the exception of sixth form colleges and middle schools, since neither of these contained fourth and fifth year pupils.

1.2 A feasibility and pilot study was carried out with the helpful cooperation of 29 schools in the spring term 1975. The proposed procedures were tested and the forms and questionnaires to be used were tried out. As a result some small but important modifications were made, and the 29 pilot schools could not, in consequence, be included in the survey.

1.3 The survey proper began in the autumn term 1975 and continued to the end of the Easter term 1978, a total of six effective school terms, since the impact of public examinations on secondary schools in the summer term made it impracticable to visit at that time.

2.1 As the introduction has indicated, the inspections were particularly directed towards four aspects of education, chosen in the belief that these would be widely acknowledged as essential by all schools. These were: the development of language skills, written and spoken, the development of mathematical understanding and competence, the development of scientific skills and understanding, and the personal and social development of the pupils and their general preparation for adult living. Later chapters of the report deal with each of these in detail, and describe the criteria used in assessment.

2.2 Under each of these four headings separate assessments were made of the quality and appropriateness of the 'provision' made by the school and of the 'response' of the pupils. For language, mathematics and science, separate assessments were made also in respect of the more able, average and less able pupils within each school. A different categorisation was employed in the assessment of personal and social development: here, in view of the significance of the preparation of the pupils for the next stage of their lives, separate assessments were made for those pupils thought likely by the school to be

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leaving at 16 and those thought likely to be continuing in full-time education. Chapter 5 gives further details of the assessments.

3.1 The teams of inspectors for each school visit consisted normally of from four to six members, depending on the numbers of pupils in the fourth and fifth years. Suitable reductions or additions were made to the size of team for exceptionally small or exceptionally large schools. Each team or inspection panel included specialists in English, mathematics and science, with additional members drawn from any of the broad range of subject specialisms found in secondary schools.

3.2 Inspection panels were organised on a national not a local basis and other arrangements were made which aimed at ensuring reasonable consistency of approach and comparability of standards. These included an initial two-day conference of all the Inspectorate likely to be taking part, a careful review of the outcome of the feasibility study, interim stocktaking conferences and provision for the induction of inspectors who came into the programme at a later date. Guideline papers and check lists which included detailed discussion of the criteria were initially evolved by groups of the Inspectorate and subsequently issued to all taking part.

4.1 Substantial factual information was collected from each school, to provide a context for the inspection and base-lines for comparison of schools in the sample. Copies of the forms completed by each school are assembled in Appendix 1. In addition, HMI consulted the school and compiled as a result of discussion some detailed information on external examinations, the incidence of special problems of behaviour, discipline, and the identification of and provision for exceptionally gifted pupils. Each of these matters is dealt with later in the report.

4.2 No reports were issued on individual schools as an outcome of the inspections, but full discussion took place with the head and members of staff at the end of each visit.

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2 The schools in the sample

Introduction - type and ability range - catchment area - age range - size - single sex and coeducational schools - interdependence of factors - drawing conclusions from sample figures.


1.1 A structured sample of approximately 10 per cent of secondary schools was drawn by computer early in 1975, together with a reserve list. Schools included in the original sample were omitted only for the most compelling reasons, and temporary difficulties such as illness of senior staff led to postponement rather than exclusion. During the survey visits were made by HMI to 384 schools; this sample included schools of different types and sizes which provided for pupils of various ranges of age and ability coming from a variety of catchment areas. This Chapter discusses the sample in terms of the characteristics just referred to and describes how schools were categorised for purposes of analysis.

1.2 As far as possible these categories were used when carrying out statistical analysis, but in some cases, in order to obtain a sufficiently large sub-sample, some of the sub-categories were combined. Where this has been done, an indication is given in the text and the corresponding tables. Very large and very small schools were of special interest, but as there were not enough of them to allow statistical treatment, they were examined separately as special cases.

Type and ability range

2.1 Schools were initially classified into four types: modern; grammar; comprehensive; technical or other secondary. The group of ten schools which appeared in the fourth category was too small to be treated separately and, using information supplied by the school together with the advice of HMI with local knowledge, it was possible to recategorise them and place them in one of the other groups. Three were reclassified as modern, four as grammar and three as comprehensive schools.

2.2 Schools were asked to give the approximate ability range, in percentiles, of the current fourth and fifth years. Where, because of a change of intake policy, these two years differed in terms of the range of ability, the range for year 4 was recorded*. A grammar school, taking a selective entry of the top 20 per cent of pupils by ability, recorded 80 to 100; 0 to 100 indicated a comprehensive school with the full ability range; 0 to 80 could be either a modern school in an area maintaining 20 per cent selection or a comprehensive school where there were very few able pupils. This information was used to divide the comprehensive schools into two sub-categories: those with the full ability range (0 to 100) and those with a restricted range of ability (0 to 80). For

*See Section 14 of Form 1 in Appendix 1.

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purposes of analysis schools stating they had an ability range of 0 to 90 were included with the 0 to 100 group, and schools recording an upper limit below 80 were included with the 0 to 80 group.

2.3 The survey took place over a period of three years, at a time when secondary reorganisation along comprehensive lines was still proceeding. Since such change was part of the educational scene, it had been decided that schools in process of reorganisation should not be excluded from the survey. A school is reclassified as comprehensive by the DES as soon as it receives a non-selective intake. A former grammar school, now classified as comprehensive, could have a non-selective intake in the first year only and pupils selected for their ability in the higher years. Another comprehensive school, formerly a modern school, could have an all ability range in the first three years and a restricted ability range in years 4 and 5. Although both schools would be categorised as comprehensive, the pupils seen in years 4 and 5 in these two schools would have had different educational backgrounds and ranges of ability.

2.4 In order to take account of such differences, schools were asked to record the year of reorganisation and the previous classification of type if the school had been reorganised since the present year 5 entered. It was thus possible to identify comprehensive schools where the reorganisation to year 5 was complete and the school could be regarded for the purposes of the survey as an established comprehensive school. In other comprehensive schools it was possible to determine how far the reorganisation had proceeded, and whether years 4 and 5 had been affected. Using this information two former grammar schools and two former modern schools were recategorised and transferred to their classifications prior to reorganisation. Schools where years 4 and 5 differed were classified according to the ability range of year 4, but where years 4 and 5 were the same but different from years 1 to 3, schools were classified as transitional. Transitional schools were almost all restricted range comprehensive schools formed from secondary modern schools with a non-selective intake working up the school from the first year. There were only two cases of transitional schools stemming from grammar schools. With these adjustments the sample of 384 schools was divided up as in Table 2A.

2.5 As well as being asked to state the approximate ability range of the current fourth and fifth year, schools were also asked to give an indication of the proportion of pupils who were considered to have serious learning difficulties. As it was considered that figures for the most recent intake would be more

Table 2A Distribution of sample by type of school

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readily available than for years 4 and 5, schools were asked to give the approximate percentage of the first year intake, in the September of the current academic year, who, for whatever reason, were found to have serious learning difficulties.* Table 2B is based on the returns received from the schools.

Catchment area

3.1 The catchment area describes the environment from which the pupils come rather than the location of the school. In some cases the district in which the school is situated is quite different from the area from which the majority of the pupils come: for example, a grammar school in a city centre might draw the majority of its pupils from the suburbs. Schools were asked to record from a given list of categories the one which best described the area from which the pupils came. Where groups of pupils were drawn from more than one category, the predominant one was to be selected. In the pilot survey three categories had been used, but the replies received placed the majority of schools in a category which covered a diversity of catchment areas. In order to make a clearer distinction five categories were used in the survey itself. The numbers of schools by type and ability range within each category are set out in Table 2C.

Age range

4.1 Schools recorded the age range of the pupils for whom they normally provided, but any pupils under 11 or over 19 were omitted in the definitions of age ranges used although the pupils were included in the numbers on roll. Schools in the sample received pupils at 11, 12, 13 or 14 and provided for them up to the age of 16, 17 or 18. For purposes of analysis the eight ranges recorded were reduced to six. On the basis of whether Advanced Level examinations of the General Certificate of Education were offered, nine 11 to 17 schools were grouped with the 11 to 18 or 11 to 16 schools and two

Table 2B Distribution of sample schools by the percentages of pupils with serious learning difficulties and type of school

*See Section 15 of Form 1 in Appendix 1.

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12 to 17 schools were included with the 12 to 18 schools. Details of age ranges by type of school are given in Table 20. 11 to 18 and 11 to 16 predominated, with 189 of the former and 127 of the latter; 243 schools had sixth forms.


5.1 Schools recorded the numbers of boys and girls and the total number on roll at the time the forms were completed just prior to the visit. As visits were made in the Autumn and Spring terms, these figures indicated the whole intake for which the school had made provision at the beginning of the academic year and included those pupils who intended to leave at Easter. Additionally schools gave the number of pupils in each year group*. Size was measured in two ways: by the total number on roll and by the number of pupils in years 4 and 5 together. The numbers of schools within size bands by type categories

Table 2C Distribution of sample schools by catchment area and type

Table 2D Distribution of sample schools by age range and type

*See Sections 11 and 12 of Form 1 in Appendix 1.

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are given in Table 2E. Both grammar and modern schools averaged about 600 pupils on roll and there were very few instances of schools of either type exceeding 1,000. Comprehensive schools averaged about 1,000 pupils with half of the schools having between 800 and 1,200 pupils. Among the comprehensives there were 15 very large schools with over 1,600 pupils, and 20 schools with fewer than 600 pupils. Neither group was sufficiently large for statistical tests to be used. The written reports and assessments of the smallest comprehensive schools were examined for any common characteristics, as were those of the very large schools.

Single sex and coeducational schools

6.1 The numbers of girls', boys' and mixed schools within type categories are given in Table 2F. Of the 51 grammar schools 38 were single sex, while 70 of the 97 modern and 205 of the 236 comprehensive schools were coeducational.

Table 2E Distribution of sample by type and size of school

Table 2F Distribution of sample by type of school and sex of pupils

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Interdependence of factors

7.1 The sample of schools has been described in terms of type, ability range, catchment area, age range, size, and sex of pupils. The tables show that these factors are not entirely independent of each other and it is useful to consider associations between school characteristics in more detail.

7.2 Types of school were not distributed evenly among the five categories of catchment area. Few of the grammar schools had catchment areas in the city centres and less prosperous suburbs and the majority served the prosperous suburban areas. Few of the modern schools were in the long-established manufacturing areas. Comprehensive schools catering for the full ability range were fairly evenly distributed over the five areas, but there were few comprehensive schools with a limited ability range in the rural areas and the catchment areas of such schools were concentrated in the city centres and less prosperous suburbs. When schools are considered by type and ability range, the environmental background from which the pupils come also needs to be taken into account.

7.3 It is clear that ability range and age range are associated with type of school. Grammar schools are intended to provide for pupils up to the age of 18 selected for their ability, modern schools for pupils up to the age of 16 in a lower range of ability, and comprehensive schools for the full ability range with an age range depending on local circumstances.

7.4 The size of a school is affected by the age range for which it provides but may also be associated with other characteristics. With the exception of one modern school, all the 16 very large schools, with over 1,600 pupils, were comprehensive schools catering for pupils up to the age of 18 and the majority were to be found in the suburbs of large towns. The small schools with fewer than 600 pupils were mainly modern and grammar schools, and the few comprehensive schools in this size band were nearly all for pupils in the 11/12 to 16 age range.

7.5 Education is a very complex process and the effects observed are the result of a combination of many factors, not all of which were included in the survey. Moreover, those factors on which information was obtained have been seen to be interdependent. This needs to be borne in mind when factual information, written reports and coded assessments are examined for evidence of associations between particular characteristics of schools and assessments of pupils' response. Evidence of such an association may indicate some underlying causal relation, but cannot be taken to establish this firmly.

Drawing conclusions from sample figures

8.1 In the report figures are given about the schools in the sample and the teachers in the schools. When considering these figures it is important to know roughly to what extent and with what confidence they can be regarded as holding good for the national population of schools and teachers from which the sample was drawn.

8.2 The possible discrepancies between figures relating to the sample and the corresponding unknown figures for the population arise from two distinct

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sources. First, sampling error is found in any sample survey, however representative, because of the limited size of the sample. Secondly, the sample may be biased, or unrepresentative of the population in some important respects.

8.3 However large a sample is, it will not entirely reflect the characteristics of the national population. The smaller the sample, the more likely it is that a characteristic measured for the sample will deviate by chance from the same characteristic of the population. A sample of 384 schools is quite large and the deviations, or sampling error, on figures derived from the whole sample are correspondingly small, but sampling errors associated with small subsets of the sample, such as modern schools, can be large enough for inferences about the subset to be treated with a degree of caution.

8.4 Although there is no way of knowing exactly the size of each sampling error, it falls within limits which can be calculated. If, for example, 25 per cent of modern schools in the sample have a certain characteristic, then there is a 95 per cent chance that between 17 and 33 per cent of all modern schools will have this characteristic. Appendix 2 shows a table of such limits for a variety of proportions in different types of school.

8.5 The other type of discrepancy, arising from a sample which is not completely representative, is discussed in Appendix 2. Some biases were found, but they are not large enough to invalidate the general conclusions drawn from the sample. In many instances where comparisons are made the observed biases are not relevant to the analyses.

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3 Curricular provision

I Introduction: Introduction - secondary school curriculum II The curriculum prior to the fourth year: Aspects of curricular provision - gifted pupils - prevailing curricular pattern to the fourth year - consultation on curricular choice III The fourth year curriculum: The 'core' - number of options - organisation of options - comparison with fifth year - class size in 'core' and options - class size and examination target in English and French - prevailing curricular pattern in the fourth and fifth years IV Some issues and practical problems: Change in curriculum at 14 - curricular differentiation - complexity, 'balance' and coherence.



1.1 This Chapter is concerned with what is provided in the formal teaching timetable; the many activities and experiences which contribute to the curriculum in its broader sense are considered later, in the chapter on personal development. Curricular provision is discussed mainly in terms of the familiar specialist 'subjects' which appear in school timetables, although common titles such as 'English' or 'mathematics' may conceal differences of content and approach. Where time allocations are quoted, they are based on a week of 40 periods of 35 minutes each, the timetable most commonly in use; where schools followed a different pattern, appropriate conversions have been made. School 'years' are designated according to the practice of the majority of schools where 11 remains the age of entry: the first year ('year 1') refers to the first year of compulsory secondary education and the fifth year ('year 5') to the last.

1.2 Attention is principally focused on the fourth year since it proved to be here, in practice, that the essential features of the curriculum for the final two years of compulsory education are established. Such minor differences as were found between the programmes of the fourth and fifth years are mentioned in paragraph 10.1 below. Some necessary background material was also gathered about the earlier years, particularly the third year. Details of curricular provision were recorded on three forms, copies of which are included in the appendix. The first of these sought to discover in how many schools the curriculum up to the age of 14 had a uniform subject structure for all pupils, and where this was not so, what was the extent of the differentiation and what this implied for the curriculum of the final two years. On the second form schools set out their curricula in the fourth and fifth years. The third form provided more detailed information on four particular subjects (English, mathematics, science and the first foreign language), the sizes of the various teaching groups in the fourth and fifth years, their examination targets and the qualifications of those who taught them.

1.3 Of the five types of school mentioned in Chapter 2 one is omitted in the following discussion of curricular provision. The curriculum in the fourth and fifth years in those schools defined in the previous chapter as 'transitional' proved to be almost wholly related to the type of school to which they had belonged prior to reorganisation. Moreover the survey

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returns covering the third year applied to the curriculum followed in that year by pupils who at the time of the visit were in the fourth year. Accordingly in this chapter these 28 'transitional' schools have been reallocated to their previous types, 26 of them being added to the 97 modern schools and two to the 51 grammar schools.

The secondary school curriculum

2.1 Schools are presented with a considerable variety and range of needs among their pupils, and these needs are continually altering as pupils develop and their interests and talents emerge. The task of providing an appropriate curriculum and the organisation for it is made more difficult by the often competing demands expressed by parents and society at large. There are limits to what can be included in a school curriculum and inevitably compromises have to be made. The policy of the majority of schools of whatever type is to keep the curriculum as broad as possible in the first, second and third years and avoid premature specialisation. It is clear from the survey that up to the age of 14 all pupils within a school study substantially the same programme of subjects; virtually every traditional subject is represented with some slight enlargements of this programme for the more able in, if not before, the third year. In the vast majority of schools the structure of the curriculum then undergoes a major change: the number of subjects which are studied by all pupils is reduced considerably and much of their programme is drawn from an often large and nearly always complex system of options. Only four schools* from the sample indicated that their full options system was introduced in the third year. By offering choice in the fourth year the schools aim to provide additional motivation and cater more fully for a wide range of interests and needs.


Aspects of curricular provision

3.1 The evidence for this Section comes from returns made by 365 schools. Five of the 384 schools did not admit pupils below the fourth year and in 14 other cases (including the four schools which introduced a full range of options in the third year) the information was incomplete or not clear.

Curriculum not wholly common in the first three years

3.2 Only 11 per cent of the schools stated that they offered a wholly common curriculum in the first three years; by this they meant that all pupils in the school concerned followed the same timetable in terms of named subjects with broadly similar, though not necessarily identical, allocations of time each. The distribution of these schools by type was 17 modern, 8 grammar, 6 full range comprehensive and 9 restricted comprehensive schools. The majority of the 365 schools indicated that there was some differentiation in the curriculum according to the sex and ability of the pupils.

Differentiation by sex

3.3 Some subjects, mainly crafts and sciences, have been traditionally associated with one sex more than the other. In the first three years there is very little differentiation in science according to sex; in only three schools were girls obliged to take biology and boys physics. Apart from this,

*Two of these schools were grammar, one modern and one comprehensive.

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differentiation was confined to the craft subjects, with woodwork and/or metalwork for boys, and home economics and/or needlework for girls. Some mixed schools made this distinction prescriptive; others provided an organisation which would have allowed pupils to cross the traditional boundaries had they chosen to do so. Some schools (notably single sex schools) lacked appropriate or sufficient specialist accommodation or staff to offer free choice. The schools which claimed that craft opportunities were wholly open were not required to state how this was achieved but about one-third of them ( 42 schools) volunteered this information. Twenty-three schools relied on simultaneous timetabling, of, for example, woodwork and needlework, with encouragement to pupils of both sexes to choose freely; several of these schools added that the numbers crossing the traditional boundaries were few. The other 19, all larger schools, divided all the pupils, boys and girls in a whole year group or a substantial subsection of it, into groups of about 20; each group was then committed in turn to most or all of the available crafts for a limited span of time so that over a period of one, two or three years all had some experience of the full range of crafts available. Art was sometimes included in this pattern. In general, therefore, differentiation by sex in the craft subjects occurred in practice if not by design in something over 65 per cent of the 365 schools. This situation obtained in schools of all types, although to a markedly less extent in the full range comprehensive schools, and applied to pupils of all abilities. Nevertheless traditional attitudes were observed to be changing during the survey, and more pupils were taking advantage of a free choice of craft subjects. (See Table 3A.) Further references to sex differentiation can be found in Chapters 8 and 9.

Differentiation by ability

3.4 Almost all the other instances of curricular differentiation applied to pupils at the two ends of the ability range. In the third year schools were found to have responded to the differences in pupils' abilities and needs through four main types of organisation: streaming, banding, mixed ability grouping and division into 'populations'.* Some schools used combinations of these organisational patterns; nearly all modified their main pattern

Table 3A Differentiation by sex in craft subjects: by type of school

*This term is defined in the Glossary.

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through setting* in some subjects, and some made use of 'withdrawal' from the normal teaching group to provide individual or very small group tuition for pupils (in most cases for the less able, including those with serious learning difficulties). See Table 3B.

Mixed ability

3.5 Only 34 out of the 365 schools whose returns were examined recorded a mixed ability organisation for the whole curriculum in the third year, and some of these made special arrangements to withdraw individual pupils with serious learning difficulties. Of these 34 schools only four had to provide for the full range of ability. A further 113 schools taught part of the curriculum in mixed ability classes but made some use of setting.


3.6 In roughly two-thirds of the schools, whatever their organisational pattern, setting in some subjects was adopted in order to differentiate the content and approach to a subject according to the ability of the pupils. The subjects treated in this way are listed in Table 3C. The figures given are incomplete because some of the returns gave imprecise information, such as 'some setting' and 'setting in academic subjects'; they cover those returns which were quite explicit and those in which setting in the subject in question could reasonably be inferred. No totals are recorded as many of the schools set in more than one subject.

3.7 Information on setting was not sought about the first and second years, but some schools provided additional information. This limited evidence showed a tendency for the extent of differentiation in curricula to increase from the first year to the third year as the strengths and weaknesses of pupils became better known and their interests more apparent. The extent of setting in the main foreign language in the third year depended on the numbers and abilities of pupils continuing the subject to that stage.

The less and least able

3.8 Discussion of either extreme of the full ability range, especially its lower end, presents problems of definition. Reasons for pupils' lower than average

Table 3B Organisation of teaching groups in the third year: by type of school

*This term is defined in the Glossary.

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performance may vary considerably, and when schools made references to less able pupils, they could have included slow learners whose general ability was clearly below average, pupils whose learning difficulties might be remedied and pupils whose difficulties might be persistent and require special consideration throughout their school life and beyond. The term 'remedial' was often applied to provision for all three groups of pupil and could be seriously misleading. Among the basic details which schools were asked to provide on Form 1 was the approximate percentage of the first year intake in the September of the current academic year who were found to have serious learning difficulties. No systematic or detailed enquiry was made about the nature of these learning difficulties or about the schools' provision for these pupils, but the 384 returns of Form 1 give some indication of the numbers of such pupils as schools see them. Details are given in Table 2B.

3.9 There was an observed tendency for the percentage of total teaching time which was allocated to designated remedial teaching to decrease in each successive school year; by the fourth year it had virtually disappeared. Schools which sought to provide a special curriculum for the less able stated that their streamed or banded structure was in effect used for this purpose; or that, in subjects which were set, the lowest set was regarded as remedial provision. Detailed information was not supplied but the curriculum of the less able differed from that of their average and more able counterparts mainly in French and Science. The science offered was sometimes restricted to rural science or incorporated into 'environmental studies' to which a substantial amount of time ranging from 8 to 16 periods might be assigned according to the number of traditional subjects which were being absorbed in this way. Such a combination of subjects tended to be the responsibility of one or two teachers.

3.10 The first foreign language (French, in more than 95 per cent of schools) presented its own difficulties in comprehensive schools of both kinds and in modern schools. Of the 123 modern schools that provided evidence, 81 said that some pupils were not studying French as such in year 3. These included

Table 3C Subjects set in the third year: by type of school

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pupils, usually from the lowest band or streams, for whom it bad been decided that they should not take a foreign language at all or who had given up the subject by the end of year 2; some pupils from the middle range of ability had also dropped the subject. For such pupils alternative provision varied: about a third substituted French studies or European studies, some turned to an entirely unrelated subject (commerce was named in five schools, and an additional practical subject in 12), while many of the remainder used the time for further study of English and mathematics. Of the 44 restricted range comprehensive schools, 26 indicated that not all pupils were studying French in the third year, as did 51 of the 148 full range comprehensive schools. Only two grammar schools appeared not to continue French for all their pupils to the end of year 3; in one of these the pupils not taking the subject were part of a late entry at 13.

The more able

3.11 Pupils in the higher streams, bands or sets were often given the opportunity in the second or third years to start one or more additional foreign languages and, somewhat less frequently, to substitute separate physics, chemistry and biology for the 'combined science' they had been studying hitherto and with which other pupils would continue. Special provision of this kind in science caused little alteration to the rest of the curriculum of the pupils concerned since usually no more than a marginal increase occurred in the allocation of time to science. By contrast to find the time (usually four periods per week) for an additional language it was necessary either to make some slight reduction in the time allocated to three or four other subjects or to make the new language an alternative to one other subject. Of those schools which provided evidence on this matter (not all did so) two-thirds indicated that they had chosen the latter course of action. Almost always this second method had to be used for pupils starting more than one additional language. The subjects most likely to be dropped were craft subjects; of the traditional academic subjects only geography appeared occasionally to be involved in the choice to be made. From the details submitted it proved possible to discover which additional languages were made available in the different types of school:

Table 3D Additional languages offered in the second and third years: by type of school

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3.12 Schools which offered no language other than French in the second and third years did not necessarily exclude a further language from their provision altogether; this may simply have been deferred until the fourth year or possibly later. Discussion in the schools revealed that teachers of modern and classical languages believe strongly that such a postponement would lead, even for good French students, to a 'crash course to ordinary level in five terms'. But the price usually paid for the introduction of a second (still more a third) language into the second and/or third year is the loss or severe reduction of contact with the creative/aesthetic area of the curriculum (art, music and the crafts) for the able pupils concerned.

Gifted pupils

4.1 In the course of the survey each school was asked whether it contained gifted pupils. Two categories were specified: pupils who had been identified as having outstanding talent of a particular kind, whether in an academic subject like mathematics or in art, sport, dance and so on, and pupils identified as having all round superior intellectual ability. The latter did not mean pupils who might more accurately be described as 'well above average', nor the potential genius, but pupils from roughly the top 2 per cent of the absolute ability range, of whom it could be said with confidence that they would be likely to go to university or some other form of higher education and emerge with distinction. Not all the schools said that they had pupils in either or both of these categories. It was observed that identification of all round intellectually superior pupils was greater in the schools which catered for pupils in and above the 80th percentile of ability, while the reverse was true in the rest of the schools where proportionately many more pupils were identified with particular talents. Details are given in Appendix 4 where the identification practices and agencies used and the provision made are also set out.

The prevailing curricular pattern prior to the fourth year

5.1 The curricular differences mentioned above will be seen to affect only minorities of pupils and a proportion of the timetabled week (rarely exceeding a quarter). For most pupils in all types of school and for most of the time the curriculum emerged as substantially the same programme of subjects, although there were differences of content and approach according to discerned differences of ability and to the type of organisation adopted by the school. Time allocations varied between schools, and also from the first to the third year and between groups of pupils within any particular school, but the pattern appeared to be as follows:

English:5-7 periods
Mathematics:5-7 periods
Religious education:1 or 2 periods
Physical education (including games):3 or 4 periods
History and geography (whether separately taught, combined as social studies or part of a more extensive 'integrated' programme):4-6 periods in total

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Sciences (with wide variation in title and content):4-6 periods
A first foreign language (for most but not all):4 or 5 periods

The rest of the programme certainly included some or all of the following subjects: art, music, a variety of craft subjects (including technical drawing) within which some choice may have been offered, careers education and drama.

5.2 The limited curricular differentiation in the first three years meant that there were relatively few limitations on the choice of optional subjects in the fourth year, except in science and foreign languages: these particular limitations affected the more and the less able pupils. With only four stated exceptions all the schools indicated that second or third foreign languages and separate specialist sciences were normally available in the fourth year only to pupils who were committed to these opportunities at an earlier stage when they were first introduced. The four exceptions, one grammar and three large full range comprehensive schools, explicitly indicated that a second opportunity was provided in the fourth year for pupils to start these additional subjects. One further influence on pupils' choice of options for the fourth year was mentioned in the schools: any subject dropped during the first three years (such as French by the less able and a craft/aesthetic subject by the more able) would be unlikely to be included in the fourth year programme of the pupils concerned.

Consultation on curricular choice

6.1 Schools were asked with whom consultation had taken place before curricular choices were made at any stage in the first three years, and especially during the third year. Their responses showed that schools in general take great care over this. Pupils were almost always consulted. Consultation with parents in some schools was said to be thorough and to involve individual interviews with all concerned. In other cases parents were sent a document explaining the choices available, though not always, it seemed to HMI, in language that would be readily understood; some schools simply relied

Table 3E Consultation before curricular choice: by type of school

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on pupils to consult their parents. A disturbing feature however was that in nearly 20 per cent of the schools curricular choices were made without the benefit of advice from specialist careers teachers about the possible effects of such choices. Even where advice was sought, more than a quarter of the schools indicated that this did not involve the careers service provided by the local education authorities. Careers advice delayed until year 4 or 5 is too late to avoid the closing of certain opportunities to pupils who have made earlier subject choices.*


The 'core'

7.1 In broad terms the fourth and fifth year curricular programme offered by the schools consists of 'core' and optional subjects. The use of the words 'core' and 'core subjects' does not in this Chapter or in the schools imply conformity with any curricular pattern externally advocated or prescribed; what constitutes the 'core' in one school may be very different from that in another. 'Core' subjects present what each individual school considers, as a matter of policy, essential to all its pupils.

7.2 Two main types of organisation were discernible. In the first the 'core' was wholly common in that the same subject programme was followed by all pupils within the school. The second was found in banded schools which provided a common 'core' for all pupils within each ability band but with some variation between the bands. In practice this distinction was blurred since, for example, the banded schools almost always included English and mathematics as separate subjects in the 'core' of all bands, though they may have added other different elements to each. Some schools could not be classified under either of these main types because their curricular pattern was idiosyncratic or because insufficient detail was supplied.

Table 3F Curricular organisation in the fourth year: by type of school

*Further discussion of careers and curricular guidance may be found in Chapter 9.

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The extent of the 'core'

7.3 The curricular policies of the schools, as indicated by the extent of their 'core', differed considerably. The average percentage of the total timetable devoted to 'core' subjects in all types of school was 47 but in individual schools the percentages ranged from 23 to 93. Amid this diversity grammar schools in general differed from the other types of school in providing a somewhat larger 'core' and correspondingly fewer optional subjects per pupil. The majority of schools, other than grammar schools, allocate roughly 45 per cent of their timetable to 'core' subjects. The details are shown in Table 3G.

The content of the 'core'

7.4 Just as the time given to the 'core' differed from school to school, so did its content. All 384 schools recorded mathematics of some kind in the fourth year. Chapter 7 reveals that fewer than 1 per cent of pupils were allowed to drop the subject at some stage during the last two years of compulsory education, most frequently in the fifth year after the 'mock' examinations had taken place. The position in English is virtually the same: one of the 243 schools with a wholly common 'core' offered English as part of an integrated humanities course and in four other schools a similar arrangement was made for some of the pupils. In more than 90 per cent of schools physical education, usually including games, was part of the 'core', and in most of the remainder where it was optional nearly all the pupils appeared to be involved. No other subject was found in the 'core' of virtually all the schools.

Religious education

7.5 The majority of schools included two other subjects in the 'core'. Religious education and careers education figured in some schools as single subjects, in others as elements (not necessarily together) within some form of combined study or course devoted to aspects of personal and social education. As a separate subject, religious education was usually given one or two periods, more in some denominational schools. 58 per cent of schools

Table 3G Time allocated to 'core' subjects in the fourth year: by type of school

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included religious education as part of the 'core' for all pupils except those withdrawn at parental request. A further 24 per cent included it for some but not all pupils. Those for whom it was not provided ranged from a small minority of those pupils with high academic ability to the whole of the top stream or band, and this was generally to permit these pupils to undertake an examination programme more extensive than that available to others. The reasons for not providing religious education for some pupils were obscure in 8 schools which differentiated pupils by ability in 3 groups for their 'core' subjects: 5 offered religious education to the top and bottom groups but not to the middle, while in 3 others the situation was reversed. In 30 of the 70 schools whose returns provided no clear evidence of any provision of the subject there was a combined studies course for all or for some pupils, but it was not possible to determine whether this included any significant component of religious education or not. Details are given in Table 3H.

Careers education

7.6 Careers education was provided in about two-thirds of all the schools, either as a separate subject or as a component of combined studies, but it was included in the 'core' for all pupils in just less than half the schools. As with religious education, the pupils for whom it was not provided tended to be those of higher ability. The absence of timetabled periods did not necessarily imply that nothing at all was done about careers education. Most schools, for example, arrange for individual careers counselling, some in a structured programme which guarantees that all the pupils are involved, others relying on individual initiatives*.

Additions to the 'core'

7.7 Minor additions were recorded in some schools: a form, house or tutor period (in about 20 per cent of schools), a period of music, not for examination (in about 8 per cent), and a period of private study (in just under 3 per cent). Adding a further subject or subjects, however, called for the allocation of

Table 3H Provision of religious education in the fourth year: by type of school

*A fuller treatment of careers education can be found in Chapter 9.

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four or five periods per subject. The number of such additional subjects was often only one, fairly frequently two, and more than that only in the very few schools where the 'core' was given 60 per cent or more of the timetabled week. See Table 3I.

No single one of these subjects, or groups of subjects, was found as an extension to the core in more than a minority of schools. The larger 'core' of the grammar schools most frequently included the continuation of the first foreign language, or, to a lesser extent, one or more of the specialist sciences. History and geography featured to some degree in both grammar and modern schools; the difference was that the modern schools were more likely to offer both or neither while in many of the grammar schools there may have been a choice between the two. In comprehensive schools of both kinds there were fewer additions to the core.

Summary of 'core' provision

7.8 The figures given for 'no additional subject' confirm that in more than half the schools the 'core' was limited to major courses in English and mathematics and a variety of minor courses (none offered for examination) which might broadly be described as elements in personal or general education. In the majority of schools the 'core' was allocated between 14 and 18 periods per week, roughly as follows: English and mathematics 5 or 6 periods each; 3 or 4 periods of physical education; careers and religious education (where and in whatever form they were provided) 1 to 3 periods between them.

The number of options

8.1 It is already clear, for example in Table 3G, that in the majority of schools of all types options accounted for more than half the total curriculum. In the

Table 3I Incidence of additional subjects in the 'core' in the fourth year: by type of school

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243 schools analysed in that table pupils were generally required to select between 4 and 6 subjects from the total number available; with very few exceptions in the whole sample 4 or 5 periods were allocated to each of these optional subjects. As is explained more fully in paragraph 9.1, most schools arranged their optional subjects in a number of option 'blocks' and timetabled all the subjects in anyone 'block' simultaneously. The number of such 'blocks' indicates the number of optional subjects generally taken by each pupil: Table 3J displays these numbers for the four types of school.

8.2 The total number of optional subjects provided by each school varied considerably, from 3 to 32 subjects; they were not all available to every pupil.

Table 3J Number of option blocks in the timetable for the fourth year: by type of school

Table 3K Number of optional subjects provided in the fourth year; by type of school

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Tables 3J and 3K indicate that no clear relationship emerges between the number of subjects a pupil has to choose and the number provided for all the pupils in his or her year in the school. There was in fact great diversity across all types of school: at one extreme pupils were asked to choose 6 optional subjects from a total of 12, and at the other only two from a total of more than 20. Roughly 60 subjects were recorded over the whole sample of schools; though subjects overlap and though examination courses designed for different pupil groups or levels of ability may often cover similar material, the average number of between 19 and 24 separate subject or course titles recorded in individual schools may be regarded as large.

8.3 A variety of factors, separately or combined, such as size, type, age range and staffing policies might have determined which particular subjects and how many were included in the options provided by anyone school. Generalisations, however, are difficult to make because of the number of individual exceptions to them. Grammar schools appear to have offered slightly fewer subjects than other types of school, and from a somewhat smaller list of options. They were more likely to provide a larger number of academic subjects, especially additional foreign languages and the three major sciences, and at the same time to reduce their provision in the creative and aesthetic area of the curriculum. Nearly three-quarters of the grammar schools were single sex schools whose craft subjects were generally limited to those traditionally associated with the sex of the pupils.

School size

8.4 School size, measured by pupil numbers in the fourth year, seemed to have little effect on the number of optional subjects. For the full range comprehensive schools providing all pupils with a free choice of options the average number of subjects offered in the largest schools (those with over 300 in the fourth year) was found to be 24, compared with 19 in the smallest (under four form entry) schools. The range of subjects, however, as distinct from the number, was restricted in the very small schools, modern or comprehensive, particularly the small full range comprehensives. From the evidence of the survey, confirmed from other sources, such schools offered limited opportunities in modern and classical languages and the separate sciences because they could not afford to provide for the very few pupils who wished to have such opportunities and were likely to make effective use of them. Small schools faced the dilemma of choosing between excluding some or all of these subjects entirely or devoting much of the time of a few specialist teachers to a small minority of pupils in small groups.

8.5 No differences between schools in the number or nature of optional subjects provided appeared to be wholly attributable to a later age of pupil entry, probably because 13 to 18 or 14 to 18 schools contained fourth years of at least medium size, often larger. Moreover, rather surprisingly, there was no clear relationship between the number of additional languages offered and the presence or absence of a sixth form, or its size. For example, 17 full range comprehensives offered three or more languages in addition to the first foreign language; the age range of 6 of these was 11 or 12 to 16; conversely of 31 schools of this kind which offered only one additional language, 25 were

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schools with sixth forms. However, generalisations from samples as small as these should be treated with caution.

8.6 The absence of observable effects of school type, size and age range (except in the case of small schools and grammar schools) probably reflects variations both in the level of staffing and in the qualifications of the teachers which, as Chapter 4 reveals, were extremely wide. Differing staffing policies, both in terms of overall ratios and in respect of internal decisions about the proportion of teaching resources assigned to the fourth year, may be masking the consequences of type, size and age range, which might otherwise be more manifest.

8.7 The number and nature of subjects provided by a school may also reflect its local environment and its response to pressures from outside as well as within the school. Schools face constant demands for the introduction of 'new' subjects, usually to meet the needs of society at large. Within the school itself attempts are sometimes made to improve pupils' motivation by means of courses and topics thought to be of particular interest to them. But whatever the factors that explain why so many optional subjects and courses are provided, schools are faced with considerable problems of organisation in order to meet their objectives.

The organisation of options

9.1 More than two-thirds of all the schools visited and nearly 80 per cent of the 243 with a wholly common 'core' arranged all their optional subjects in a number of option 'blocks'. All the subjects in any such 'block' were simultaneously timetabled, and each pupil was required to take one subject from each: the number of 'blocks' therefore corresponded to the number of optional subjects permitted to each pupil. The distribution of subjects to these option 'blocks' inevitably raises difficulties. The choice of one subject from any 'block' automatically excludes the pupil from all other subjects in the 'block' and the combination of subjects which he or she wanted may prove impossible to achieve. The pupil may be unenthusiastic about all the subjects in a particular option 'block' and have to make what amounts to a negative choice. A further complication arises from the popularity of certain subjects: some may require the provision of more than one teaching group: very popular subjects in large schools may require as many as ten such groups. Some schools placed several, perhaps all of the teaching groups in anyone subject in the same option 'block', thereby allowing the pupils to be differentiated by ability and examination target; the disadvantage was that when a subject was confined to one 'block', here again the number of possible subject combinations was reduced. Other schools therefore preferred to distribute the teaching groups for any one subject among as many option 'blocks' as possible; this enabled the number of possible combinations of subjects to be increased, but since it precluded differentiation in the composition of the teaching groups concerned, the resultant teaching groups were in consequence found to be mixed in attainment, ability and aspiration. This could, of course, also be true of the less popular subjects in which there might be only one group; but some of these, music for example, tended to be

[page 28]

chosen by well motivated pupils, producing groups of less diversity. Some schools sought to control the membership of particular teaching groups (designated perhaps by a particular examination target) by making access to the subject dependent on pupils' previous experience or performance. The restrictions sometimes reflected the personal predilections of the subject teachers concerned; the bar could be placed at different levels, producing in one school a small group of carefully selected 'high flyers', while in another there would be a larger group containing a wider spread of ability.

9.2 Some limitations to pupils' choices are inescapable. Schools must decide how much choice to offer and how much and what sort of guidance to give. From discussion in the schools there appeared to be four principal approaches to the initial task of drawing up the option lists. Some of these approaches can be combined. The first was based on 'consumer research' and involved informing all third year pupils of the total list of subjects available in the fourth year, inviting them to select from this list and then attempting to allocate subjects to the various 'blocks' in order to meet to the maximum extent possible the expressed choices of each pupil. The following is an example of five option 'blocks' drawn up in a small 11 to 16 modern school after choices had been made; each 'block' was allocated four periods in a week:

Technical drawing
Physics with chemistry
Home economics
Combined studies
Technical drawing
Home economics

The second approach was similar, the only difference being that the distribution of subjects was decided in advance in the light of previous experience of the popularity of individual subjects and of the combinations of subjects frequently requested. The third variation also placed some restrictions on choice; the subjects available were grouped in such a way that in anyone option 'block' they were confined to one particular area of the curriculum; one 'block' might consist exclusively of sciences, another of social studies, another of crafts and so on. Such a structured system was normally designed to achieve a 'balanced' curriculum by ensuring that all or most areas of the curriculum were included in each pupil's programme; this reflected the school's view of what was desirable for every pupil on general educational grounds without prejudice to his or her career prospects or intentions. For example, in one comprehensive school there were six option 'blocks' allocated four periods each: pupils were free to choose as they wished from three of these 'blocks' but the other 'blocks' were confined to science, history or geography, and craft respectively. The former 'blocks' included some subjects from the latter either because the subjects were popular, and/or because limitations of staffing or specialist accommodation made it necessary to add to the number of teaching groups. This interpretation of 'balance' was also found in the many schools in which option 'blocks' were arranged in various other ways but pupils were instructed to choose at least one science, one craft or aesthetic

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subject and so on. In some schools, however, the word 'balance' was used more loosely, and a 'balanced' programme was one in which the essential subjects were those thought to have vocational importance or significance for higher education, which were then 'balanced' by a subject or subjects from a different, otherwise absent, area of the curriculum. This might still mean that 'balance' in the former sense was achieved, but it equally well might not. These two rather different principles of guidance were seen to be at work in the general advice or prescriptions passed on to pupils when decisions had to be made, whatever the type of options system employed. In what follows the words 'balance' and 'balanced' are used to describe a programme for the individual which includes all areas of the curriculum.

Banded options

9.3 A fourth approach to the organisation of option groupings was specially designed to cater differently for the different bands of ability and therefore did not offer an open option choice across the whole ability range. Of the 163 full range comprehensive schools 38 differentiated between two or three bands, each differing in the subjects offered and in the ways in which choice was presented. Banded options were not always associated with a banded 'core' in full range comprehensive schools: nine schools of this type provided banded options together with a wholly common core.

9.4 The options provided were rarely totally different for each band. Some subjects, notably history and geography, general or integrated science, art and some of the more common craft subjects appeared in the curricula offered to pupils of more than one band, sometimes in all. Subjects which were limited to particular bands were additional foreign languages (almost always reserved for the top band) and the separate sciences. These sciences were similarly limited, although in some cases pupils in the middle band could take one or two but only very exceptionally all three: in a few of these schools the provision for the bottom band included separate physics or biology, but never both. Another general feature was the likelihood that the lowest band would have more practical subjects and more general subjects thought to contribute to personal education. These replaced the more academic subjects for these pupils. Where there were three bands a gradual shift of emphasis could be observed.

9.5 In a number of schools with an apparently open options system some pupils were, in effect, banded because of the restrictions placed upon their choice. Though not designed for this, the option system could and often did permit programmes differentiated not by ability but by sex: an emphasis on physical sciences and technical subjects for boys, with the exclusion of humanities subjects; and languages, biological (not physical) sciences, typing and home economics for girls. Such partial or concealed banding could also arise from the choices which were confined to certain pupils in or before the third year; see, for example, paragraph 3.11 above.

'Packaged' courses: the less able

9.6 Less typical examples of sharply defined differences occurred. When, for example, the lowest of three bands consisted of a small minority of pupils (20 or fewer), they were sometimes supplied with a 'packaged' course.

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Such courses represented a large or occasionally total extension of 'core' provision and choice was therefore largely or completely denied. A course of this kind was provided, for example, in the 14 schools mentioned at the end of paragraph 7.2 for those pupils whose programme was quite separate from that of the majority. 'Packaged' courses for less able pupils were by no means identical in content but prevalent features included some extension of the time for English and/or mathematics and the replacement of separate subjects by large time allocations (between 10 and 18 periods) to 'environmental studies', 'integrated humanities' and other combinations of subjects, some concerned with personal education. These last appeared under a variety of titles such as 'design for living' and some included an element of community service which in other schools figured as a subject in its own right. In some cases the package included several practical and/or semi-vocational subjects, with some degree of choice; in others, when the 'package' did not occupy the whole timetable, some access was possible to the craft options offered to abler pupils. Arrangements of this kind usually involved one or two teaching groups which were almost always smaller in numbers than the 'core' classes elsewhere in the school and therefore facilitated attention to individual pupils. The packaged course could sometimes be designed to provide a broad curriculum. Nevertheless while some schools which made provision of this kind regarded the programme as 'remedial', it seemed often to be a continuation of the special courses for early leavers made available in many schools prior to the most recent raising of the school leaving age.

'Packaged' courses: the more able

9.7 Packaged courses were also provided for the more able pupils in a small minority of schools of all types. In modern schools and restricted range comprehensives they were frequently taken by all the pupils committed to a GCE O-Ievel programme in all subjects, while other pupils in the school were working mainly towards CSE examinations, though perhaps attempting O-Ievel in one or two subjects. In about one-fifth of the grammar schools, mainly streamed three form entry schools, the top stream were similarly separate; this enabled their progress to be accelerated in some subjects with O-Ievel mathematics, for example, being taken at the end of the fourth year, followed by additional mathematics a year later. Such arrangements were found very occasionally in the full range comprehensives of medium or larger size. When such schools did not have an open options system, the most common alternative (one which enabled them to deal with the large year groups involved) was a banded scheme in which the top band could be given more choice than was possible within the 'packaged' course provided for a single class. Almost all the special 'packages' which schools provided for a single group (occasionally two groups) of the most able pupils had similar features: a strong emphasis on academic subjects, commitment to a large number of examination subjects, no time for careers education (nor sometimes for religious education), and little, if any, provision for wider general education.

'Packaged' courses: an example

9.8 The curriculum of an 11 to 16 boys' modern school may serve to illustrate some of the features discussed above and also the problems of 'balance'

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they raised. All three streams had separate 'packaged' courses. The ablest had an academic examinations course with English, mathematics, history, geography, French, combined sciences, art, religious education and games, but no craft subject or music. The average pupils had English, mathematics, history, religious education, rural science, art, woodwork, metalwork, technical drawing, physical education and games (a programme heavily biased both in time and content towards the crafts). The lowest stream had a more balanced course which included English, mathematics, history, geography, religious education, art, music, rural science, woodwork, metalwork, physical education and games: since the majority of subjects in this course for the least able were taught separately and received an allocation of only two or three periods each, the result was a very fragmented programme. This is a problem that can be avoided only if teachers take positive steps to help the pupils relate their learning in different subjects. Such fragmentation, however, was not typical of the majority of 'packaged' courses found elsewhere and in other types of school.

Timetable 'fillers'

9.9 Subjects or activities to which only one or two periods are allocated were not infrequently found in the programmes of less able pupils. Some of these were clearly included, not for any positive purpose, but in order to provide an alternative to subjects or courses taken by more able pupils. One period of European studies, one of 'humanities' and one of art, set against three periods of history or geography, for example, did not seem likely to be of great benefit to the pupils concerned. Subjects or courses also obviously intended for the less able pupils could often be found in option blocks to which four or more periods were allocated. Some of these courses lacked appropriate content or clear design, and it was difficult to avoid the conclusion that they, too, were timetable fillers.

Pupil choice

9.10 In general, however, scrutiny of the forms and discussion in the schools left no doubt that schools spend much time and effort (and exercise considerable ingenuity) in devising arrangements of great complexity to permit the maximum amount of pupil choice and provide for different levels of ability within the constraints of time, accommodation and staffing. Exceptional cases of individual need were almost always treated sympathetically, and where timetabling difficulties could not be overcome, extra teaching was sometimes provided during lunch time and after school.

Comparison with year 5

10.1 In the majority of schools pupils continued in the fifth year on the courses which they had started in the fourth year, subject to occasional individual adjustment and sometimes to small changes in the programme such as the provision of work experience in the fifth year or the inclusion in one year but not the other of careers education, community service or some other 'general' feature. Major changes occurred in the minority of schools, usually grammar or modern, which delayed the introduction of some or all of their option choices until the start of the fifth year.

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Class size

Class size in 'core' and options

11.1 The 'core' was taught in classes considerably larger than those provided for optional subjects. Paradoxically, therefore, English and mathematics, which were found to be the only 'academic' subjects universally made compulsory for all pupils, attracted fewer staffing resources than the optional subjects. In 80 per cent of the 243 schools with a 'core' common to all their pupils the rate of use of teachers for optional subjects was between 1.3 and 1.6 times that for the 'core' subjects. In half of these schools the 'core' subjects were taught in classes whose number corresponded with the number of forms of entry; in other words where a year group consisted of (say) 180 pupils, its 'core' subjects were taught in no more than six classes. Of the remainder of these 243 schools the majority provided seven teaching groups in the 'core' for a year group of this size, while a few provided eight. By contrast each of the option 'blocks' in nearly all such schools contained nine, ten or more teaching groups. Extra groups in English and mathematics were more common in medium-sized and larger schools whose additional teaching resources were often used to allow the non-examination groups to be quite small without requiring others to exceed 30 pupils per group.

11.2 Fewer large groups were found among the options. They occurred when the examination target of a particular group attracted a disproportionally large number of pupils in comparison with other groups and when the subjects within any option 'block' ranged widely in popularity. The numbers choosing a particular optional subject could be influenced by many factors: its vocational value in the eyes of pupils and parents, the difficulty of the subject, the success with which it had been previously taught, the restrictions that may have been placed upon size or composition of the teaching group and the personal popularity of the teachers involved. Not surprisingly, therefore, an attempt to identify which optional subjects were giving rise to

Table 3L Average class size for 'core' and options in the fourth year: by type of school

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particularly large or small teaching groups produced no really significant result, even when the investigation was confined to one type of school. Whatever the reason, groups of fewer than 12 pupils occurred most often in additional second languages and in music, in all types of school, and particularly in small schools and in larger schools where the ability range was restricted. Needlework also was frequently taught in small groups.

11.3 Some of the details of average class sizes for the 'core' and optional subjects in the four different types of school are set out in Table 3L. In no school was the average size of teaching group for 'core' subjects below 17.5; in only 12 was it less than 20. By comparison the average class size for optional subjects was below 20 in more than two-thirds of the schools analysed, namely 167 out of the 243 whose 'core' was identified as common to all pupils. In over a quarter of the 243 schools the figure was below 17.5. On the other hand 117 schools had 'core' groups the average size of which exceeded 25, while this was true of the optional subjects in only 3 schools. Five of the 42 grammar schools taught their 'core' subjects in groups of over 30 pupils, while only one full range and one restricted range comprehensive school did so. Of the 81 modern schools, 34 (42 per cent) taught optional subjects in groups of under 17.5.

Class size and examination target in English and French

12.1 Chapters 7 and 8 analyse the information the schools provided on class sizes and examination targets in mathematics and science. The schools also supplied a number of details about teaching provision for English and French. The staffing aspects are included in Chapter 4, but since details not only of class sizes but also of examination targets bear upon curricular provision they call for brief mention here. Again the figures given are for the fourth year, but they were found to differ little from those in the fifth year.


12.2 With regard to English it is clear that at least 81 per cent of such classes in all 384 schools were following an examination course in the fourth year. The classes mentioned include 'English language', 'English literature' and 'English' (language and literature combined). Within the 9 per cent

Table 3M Classes in English in the fourth year and their examination targets

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mixed and undecided classes there would have been some pupils who would have entered for the examination in English. Only 10 per cent of all classes can be said with certainty to have been taking a non-examination course. Except in grammar schools which enter virtually all pupils for examinations in English, there is very little difference between types of school. The fact that four out of every five pupils were aiming at a GCE or CSE examination must have meant that for some the course was likely to have been inappropriate since these examinations between them were intended to cater, subject by subject, for the top 60 percentiles of ability. English is not the only subject to which such a criticism applies.

12.3 The average size of O-Ievel, O-Ievel/CSE and CSE classes in English was generally high by comparison with optional subjects. Table 3N displays the average size of English classes by examination target and by type of school and Table 3O records the distribution of classes by size. There is a broad relationship between the size of a class and the examination target at which its pupils are aiming. With average sizes as high as those recorded for O-Ievel, it is not surprising that 416 classes out of 2,686 (about 15 per cent) exceed 30. The possible effect of these large group sizes on teaching and learning styles

Table 3N Average sizes of classes in English in the fourth year: by type of school and examination target

Table 3O Distribution of class sizes in English in the fourth year: by type of school

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was a matter for concern. Pupils were likely to suffer when mixed targets (O-Ievel/CSE for example) coincided with relatively large average class sizes and especially if the teacher lacked confidence or experience in teaching pupils with a wide range of ability or aptitude.


12.4 Unlike English, French was always an optional, not a 'core', subject in modern and comprehensive schools in the fourth and fifth years. In schools of these types French may not be offered at all to some pupils either as a matter of policy or because the school has insufficient suitably qualified teachers. In grammar schools on the other hand French was taken principally as a subject in the 'core' and so by the majority of the pupils. But whatever the type of school, the majority of pupils taking French were studying for an O-Ievel or CSE examination in the subject. In modern schools 93 per cent of French classes were taking an O-Ievel or CSE examination course, compared with 95 per cent in the two types of comprehensive school and 98 per cent in grammar schools. Non-examination classes in French were mainly to be found in modern schools and there they accounted for only 4 per cent of the total. There are proportionately more classes containing more than 30 pupils in grammar schools than in other types of school. As far as classes of 12 or fewer pupils are concerned modern and restricted range comprehensive schools have the highest proportion.

Table 3P Classes in French in the fourth year and their examination targets

Table 3Q Average sizes of classes in French in the fourth year; by type of school and examination target

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Take-up of French

12.5 The number of girls and boys taking French was generally in the ratio of 3:2, except in modern schools where the ratio was nearer 7:3. The percentage of fourth year pupils (both boys and girls) taking French in relation to all the pupils in that year in the schools visited ranged from 75 per cent in grammar schools to just under 25 per cent in modern and restricted range comprehensive schools. The ratio of girls to boys in French classes may interestingly be compared with the ratio of boys to girls in science.*

Table 3R Distribution of class sizes in French in the fourth year: by type of school

Table 3S Pupils taking French in the fourth year: by sex and by type of school

*The latter is discussed in Chapter 8.

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The prevailing curricular pattern in the fourth and fifth years

13.1 Though there is great diversity between schools it may be said that in general about two-fifths of each pupil's timetable in both fourth and fifth years is devoted to 'core' subjects; these are normally limited to English, mathematics, physical education and games as far as most pupils are concerned. Religious and careers education as timetabled separate subjects are not always included in the 'core'. Class sizes are larger for the 'core' (by definition the essential) than for the optional subjects. The options provided in any one school are likely to present a pupil with between 19 and 24 subjects, whatever the size, type or age range of school, and between 4 and 6 subjects or courses are chosen. Small schools find difficulty in offering the range of choice (especially in modern and classical languages and separate sciences) which is available in bigger schools. Variations in provision may reflect variations in the staffing and the previous history and circumstances of the school. Schools respond to the many demands made upon them by parents, pupils and society at large by extending the range and number of subjects they offer. This, they believe, also improves pupils' motivation.

13.2 The organisation of options that results is almost always complex and frequently necessitates compromise on the part of both pupils and school. Less able pupils are given in effect less real choice than other pupils. The examination courses they take are sometimes inappropriate and were not designed for the levels of ability for which they are used. The more able pupils may have opportunities to take additional languages and separate sciences but may suffer from the loss of practical, aesthetic or humanities subjects and courses devoted to aspects of personal and social education. Whereas in the first three years all pupils within a school follow a broad programme covering all or most areas of the curriculum, the introduction of options in the fourth and fifth years leads to the abandonment of some important subjects and to insufficient breadth in some individual pupils' programmes.


14.1 Such is the broad pattern of curricular provision in the schools visited. In individual schools, however, and within the many different types and age ranges of schools the picture is very much more complicated. During the survey very many schools were settling down from undergoing, or were about to undergo, considerable changes in their organisation and curriculum. Circumstances differed in different schools, and resources were uneven. But many schools provided evidence of thoughtful and careful planning, of a desire to do the best they could for their pupils and of energy in tackling their problems.

The change in curriculum at 14

15.1 The evidence of the survey raises a number of issues and questions about prevailing curricular patterns. The first group relate to the nature of the curricular break at 14 and the consequences which flow from it. It is widely assumed, with some evident justification, that the opportunity to start

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some new subjects, to drop others, and possibly to spend more time on some studies, increases pupils' motivation. Young people in their fourth and fifth years at school may be developing more clearly defined interests as well as becoming more aware of their own strengths and limitations, and are likely to welcome a chance to express some preference. It is less commonly acknowledged that the prospect of being able to drop some subjects may constitute a disincentive to sustained effort well before the stage of choice is reached.

15.2 Further, it is clearly important that the design of schemes of work should take account of the fact that for some pupils the course terminates in the third year. Too often pupils simply stop three-fifths of the way through a five year course, without much consideration apparently being given to the nature of the experience and the value of the attainment this represents. There is a matter for more thought here: schools anxious to present the possibility of choice will not wish so to differentiate syllabuses for groups or individuals that all decisions are virtually pre-empted; on the other hand they will wish to ensure that for those pupils who do discontinue the subject the preceding years constitute something of value in its own right and are not simply the preparation for a later stage which is never reached.

15.3 In respect of both these problems, it is at least worth asking what might be the effect on the content, rhythm and pace of work throughout the secondary school as a whole if fewer subjects disappeared from pupils' programmes during the period of compulsory education. There could still be positive options, related to a smaller number of subjects, with room for some choice also of type and level of course within subjects. 'Choice' thus interpreted could still take account of diverse abilities and interests, but the possibilities for continuity and progression could be better secured.

15.4 All schools need to take account of the effects of major changes at 14 in planning for progression. Schools with age ranges of 13 or 14 to 18 have particular problems of establishing continuity with their contributory or 'lower tier' schools and of guiding pupils to appropriate choices - in some cases before they have actually received them into the school.

15.5 Allowing substantial numbers of pupils to drop subjects at 14 has other implications, especially in respect of those subjects most likely to be dropped and of the pupils who drop them. Science, the position of which is discussed more fully in Chapter 8, history and geography give particular cause for concern. The recent National Primary Survey revealed that skills and ideas in science and in geography were given insufficient attention before the age of 11 and also that few primary schools had schemes of work and teachers responsible for planning courses in history. Study of these subjects may therefore for many pupils be effectively confined at present to the early secondary years, ending before the pupils are mature enough to acquire important ideas, concepts and skills particularly associated with those disciplines. Much is expected of pupils when they leave school, including 'basic skills'. But for young people growing up today, 'basic skills' arguably need to include not only literacy and numeracy, important as they are, but also

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some understanding of the society in which they will soon have adult responsibilities. Cultural, social, environmental, economic and technological needs interact: it may be important to consider how far the curricular programme pupils follow just before they leave school provides sufficient and varied opportunities for enlarging their understanding of those needs.

Curricular differentiation

16.1 Curricular differentiation occurs mainly in the fourth and fifth years and may take various forms. As has already been indicated, certain subjects may be included in the programmes of some pupils but not of others. There may be differences between the programmes of the abler and of the less able pupils and between those of pupils of different sex. For particular groups of pupils curricula may be biased towards or away from aesthetic or practical subjects, particularly crafts, sciences or foreign languages. Some of these differences are sensibly based on the assessed capacity of pupils to profit from the subject, as well as on personal preferences; some may be a consequence of lack of sufficient specialist teachers or facilities. Too often, though, there is little evidence of a clear rationale of policies and practices.

16.2 Differentiation of another kind is possible by the arrangement of teaching groups to take account of varying abilities among the pupils studying a subject. This is most commonly done by 'setting', which also offers a ready means, by the provision of one or more extra sets, of reducing the size of some or all of the teaching groups. There are limits to the number of subjects in which setting is likely to be practicable in most schools, given the implications for the numbers of subject specialist teachers required; there may also be some limits on how much setting is desirable, given that such an organisation, pressed to extremes, could result in the pupils working in differently composed teaching groups for every subject. There is, however, again a need to base decisions on setting on some positive appraisal of the nature of the subject and of specialised abilities in respect of it, the pace at which pupils of widely varying abilities are likely to progress, the variety of teaching methods likely to be employed, the need for practical work and, where applicable, safety aspects. It is possible that careful consideration would largely confirm present practice by which mathematics, foreign languages, sciences and, to a lesser extent, English are commonly selected for 'setting'; but it is also possible that more homogeneous and generally smaller groupings in some other subjects also would be helpful to pupils at the fourth and fifth year stages.

The curriculum of the more able pupils

16.3 The curricular programmes of the more able pupils were markedly similar in both grammar and full range comprehensive schools. The main difference appeared to be that Latin was more likely to be provided in the grammar schools and careers education in the comprehensive. Schools of all types had similar problems to solve in providing suitably for the academically most able pupils. On the one hand, the need to keep open later opportunities can result in a very heavy programme of academic subjects; on the other the need to provide a sufficient depth of study for subsequent advanced work and preparation for higher education can lead to a concentration on particular areas of the curriculum to the exclusion of other valuable ex-

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perience. Although some schools had found that a course in physical science along with biology (a two-subject course occupying about 8 periods a week) provides an adequate foundation for any sixth form science programme, schools more commonly expected intending scientists to devote 4 (sometimes 5) periods a week to each of the three separate sciences. Yet 8, rather than 12 or more periods out of 40 would seem to be a satisfactory proportion of the timetable for this area of the curriculum.* Potential linguists were expected (and needed) to add a second foreign language, modern or classical, and sometimes a third. Broadly, the system commonly resulted in able pupils having to choose at 14 or earlier between science and languages; or the school enabled them to retain both at the expense of the humanities and the creative-aesthetic areas of the curriculum; or these curricular areas were retained with such a short time allowance that rushed teaching reduced their educational value.

The curriculum of the less able pupils

16.4 All types of school had problems in providing appropriately for their 'less able' pupils, as the assessments recorded in Appendix 3 confirm, but their problems were not all of the same kind. In the grammar school, the 'less able' are still likely to be within the top quarter of the absolute ability range, and have indeed been selected to attend the schools on the evidence of their academic potential. It is therefore a matter of concern if these pupils appear to lose motivation or perform below their real capacity. The causes may not lie exclusively within the schools, but perhaps schools need to consider whether comparison with their even abler contemporaries may have led to unduly low expectations of these pupils by their teachers or by the pupils themselves. It is perhaps also too readily assumed that uniform teaching methods are suitable, whereas greater flexibility and variety in teaching approaches may be needed.

16.5 The less able in comprehensive and modern schools, as was indicated earlier in this chapter, may include pupils who present teaching problems varying in kind and degree, though they are frequently grouped together. Almost always the curriculum of the less able groups was different from that of their contemporaries. Sometimes it was wholly separate, sometimes restricted through a banded organisation or effectively limited within an apparently open system by the examination targets of particular subject groups. They frequently had the advantage of being taught in smaller classes, with the possibility of receiving greater individual attention, but the programmes offered to them were seldom successfully pitched at a level which both retained interest and demanded worthwhile achievement. Schools made various attempts to cater for needs as they perceived them. Sometimes a considerable choice of practical activities was offered, but with little coherence in the curriculum as a whole. In other schools 'packaged courses' might be designed to give greater coherence, with large blocks of time devoted to some form of combined studies, but the content of such work was often observed to be undemanding, and the rest of the pupil's programme outside the special course could be even more inconsequential. The schools have a considerable problem in providing both a sufficient range and depth of content of work and the appropriate skilled teaching needed by pupils with

*Further discussion can be found in Chapter 8, paragraphs 14.1 and 12.1.

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basic learning difficulties. Remedial education, as such, was rarely provided in the fourth and fifth years, although many schools regarded the work of the lowest sets in English and mathematics as serving this need. It was difficult, however, to provide the right teaching for such sets, which might be taught by someone with experience or qualifications in the subject or in remedial education, but rarely in both and sometimes in neither. It is not easy to provide the necessary combination of specialist skills and knowledge either in a single teacher or through the cooperative working of two teachers. Nor is the difficulty confined to English and mathematics. For the greater and as yet largely unsolved problem for the schools is to devise and sustain a curricular programme for their less and least able pupils which satisfies their broad objectives for the education of all young people at this age, and to take account of particular learning difficulties through the teaching skills employed.

Complexity, 'balance' and coherence

17.1 The provision of an extensive range of choice undoubtedly necessitates an extremely complex organisation, so complex indeed that one head confessed to being defeated by the organisation. It is not always fully understood by teachers, let alone parents. Many of the inherent problems and dilemmas emerged in the course of describing it. Best intentions are not always realised. Emphasis on options resulted in larger classes in the essential subjects of the 'core', and the more options permitted to each pupil, the less time was left for these subjects. Very few schools offered a completely free choice from the total list of options they made available, but the principles used to guide pupils in the choice of their programmes were not observed in practice by every pupil; even where a school had a firm policy, exceptions were often allowed (some probably always should be), and once the fourth year programme was under way, the number and extent of these exceptions were not always known to or reviewed by the head or senior staff. Something would seem to have been wrong with guidance when, for example, a boy was found with a programme of English, mathematics, religious education, physical education, physics, chemistry, computer studies, geology and metalwork, and a girl with a course which consisted of English, mathematics, religious education, physical education, home economics, careers, typing, shorthand and commerce. It could indeed be argued that each of these programmes exhibited a degree of coherence but it will be noted that both pupils had discontinued history, geography, all aesthetic subjects and modern languages; the girl had also dropped science altogether. What was lacking was breadth in that important areas of the curriculum were excluded, wholly or almost wholly, from the programme of both pupils. The loss of some subjects reduced the range of opportunities, whether for employment or for continued education, open to those pupils at the end of their fifth year. The loss of other subjects removed opportunities to enlarge experience and understanding in ways potentially valuable for the future quality of their lives as adults and citizens. Further discussion of this and other curricular issues affecting personal development will be found in Chapter 9.

17.2 Such is the complexity of option systems that it is often extremely difficult for any teacher to keep in mind what constitutes the total programme

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which the school has agreed for any one individual pupil in his class. That programme, taught principally by subject specialists, is made up of about 7 to 10 separate subjects, each with its own distinct syllabus, taught at a particular level usually related to a particular examination target. If the teacher seeks to discover the programme of all the pupils in his class, he finds no single curriculum but a bewilderingly large number of different curricula. Theoretically they could all be different, and indeed it is extremely unlikely that more than a small minority of pupils are taking exactly the same combination of subjects; those that are may be taking different examination courses in different classes or sets. While individual teachers knew which pupils had chosen their subject, details of the programmes taken by individual pupils were generally kept centrally by heads, deputies or directors of studies. In well-organised pastoral systems, heads of year or of house often had this information. What was extremely rare was the recognition that subject teachers needed easy access to it, or evidence that they actually used it.

17.3 Apart from such difficulties, inevitable when much of each pupil's programme is a matter of choice, the achievement of full inter-subject relationships is never easy. Much can be and often is done when the connection between the content of two subjects, such as history and geography or mathematics and science, is strong and can be planned for in advance. Wider problems exist when linkages are less patent and when they involve the analysis of overlapping skills and concepts.

17.4 Teachers need a view of the school curriculum as a whole and the part they are playing in it if they are to coordinate their pupils' learning and provide them with some sense of coherence in their programmes. Some teachers are aware of this need, but many are not. Indeed, many teachers have thought such a view unnecessary and have been able to live happily with a system that is unsuited to it. Specialist teachers naturally want to teach their subject to the highest level and to maintain the highest standards in it. This has been and will continue to be an admirable feature of secondary schools. The survey provided no evidence on the value of faculty organisations and little on integrated studies; whatever their merits may be, they are not a necessary means of achieving the change in attitude required nor could their adoption guarantee such change. Pupils need a range of experiences which in practice is provided through the subjects in the timetable. But if these subjects are to contribute more effectively to the broad education of the pupils many specialist teachers will have to break away from the isolation in which they commonly work.

17.5 There is a further need for their doing so. Teachers generally acknowledged the need to provide more personal education in the curriculum of all pupils, by including careers education, health education and political education, and by stimulating awareness of economic realities and social obligations. How far this may require the development of new and separate courses, and how far these needs may be better met by shifts of emphasis and content within existing subjects requires careful consideration. Some elements of what is wanted are already provided within existing examination

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subject syllabuses, and more may be possible in the future. Subjects can be interpreted in appropriate ways to meet identified needs, but only if the subject specialists have consulted and planned together with the pupils' overall programme in mind.

17.6 There are other matters which call for review. The size and composition of the 'core' vary considerably among pupils of different levels of ability and within and between types of school. Such variations (and the parallel ones in the options) may not be fully justified and are bound to create particular problems when circumstances compel a pupil to change school. Organisation has grown increasingly complex and it is surely time to think about a somewhat simpler structure. The principle that some choice is desirable is scarcely open to question. Much more doubtful is the apparently widely accepted corollary that the more choice there is the better. The curriculum, starting from that traditionally provided in grammar schools often on amalgamation enlarged by the practice of modern schools, has been subject to many further additions. These reflected the wish of schools to capitalise on what they believed to be of interest to pupils and to meet a diversity of needs as they saw them. Each addition, considered by itself in these terms, might be justified but perhaps too little account has been taken of the cumulative effects of continuous expansion. The process has been one of aggregation rather than a revaluation of changing circumstances accompanying the growth of comprehensive education. The present position of many subjects gives cause for concern: religious education, foreign languages (classical and modern), science, history and commerce are notable examples. While there are schools where the arrangements for religious education are such that it can make a full contribution to the general education of all pupils it is clear that in many schools provision for the subject is unsatisfactory in terms of time and appropriately qualified staff, and in some it is completely absent from the curriculum for the majority of pupils in the fourth and fifth years. Classical languages are not always available and there is a disquieting paradox that while many more pupils are starting French the numbers continuing its study to ordinary level and beyond are falling. Commerce is rarely studied by able pupils; many grammar schools do not offer it and while it is almost always available in comprehensive schools it is rare to find pupils combining commerce with modern languages. The restricted nature of science education in some schools for some pupils is discussed in Chapter 8. The consequences have been noted earlier of making history and geography optional.

17.7 It is not difficult to appreciate how this situation has come about. Schools have been subject to increasing, sometimes conflicting, pressures and many of them have responded as best they can within a framework which itself calls for reconsideration. Whether, to what extent and how the whole should be revised to serve the changed and changing needs of today are the most important questions arising from the evidence set out in this Chapter.

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4 Staffing and deployment of teachers

Introduction - tabulations - staffing of particular subjects - distribution of teachers between schools - deployment within the school - deployment between different year groups - general considerations of staffing.


1.1 This chapter is concerned with the staffing of schools: how schools are staffed and how staff are deployed within the schools. Although the survey concentrated on the fourth and fifth years, what is offered to these particular year groups has to be seen in the context of the total staffing of the school. Information is given about the teachers in the schools in terms of numbers, qualifications and experience, subjects of teaching, time spent in teaching and other professional duties, and the ways in which schools deployed their staff. Much of the chapter is concerned with detailed analysis of this information, and a general summary of the results appears in the concluding section.

1.2 Information about staffing was obtained from Form 2 which consisted of two parts. The first part (2a) listed the teachers in terms of their position in the school, place on the Burnham Scale, age, sex, total teaching experience, service in the school, type of qualification, main subject(s) of qualification and main subject(s) actually taught. The second part (2b) recorded the number of periods for which they were timetabled for the separate year groups, their non-teaching time and special responsibilities.*

1.3 When the forms were returned every school and every teacher were given a survey number so that in all subsequent analyses complete anonymity was preserved.


2.1 The tables which follow show how the total of over 20,000 teachers was divided into a range of categories, and how these were distributed among various types of school. Although the distribution patterns revealed in these tables will closely resemble the total national picture, the precise national distributions cannot be deduced by simple multiplication from the sample since, as explained in Appendix 2, the sample could not reflect all the varieties of types and sizes of school in exact proportion to their national incidence at any one time.

2.2 In all the tables the 384 heads and the 'external' teachers (equivalent to 152 full-time teachers) have been excluded. 'External' teachers were those who were members of other institutions who contributed to the programme of the school; these were principally further education teachers concerned with linked courses and teachers in other schools associated with cooperative arrangements. 'Other' refers to teachers who did not fit any of the categories

*See Appendix 1 for copies of the forms.

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listed in the particular table or for whom data was not given, and the very small number of unqualified teachers.

Qualifications of teachers

2.3 Teachers' qualifications were recorded in one of six categories: trained graduate, untrained graduate, Bachelor of Education, certificated teacher with secondary training, certificated teacher with junior/secondary or junior training, other qualifications. The percentages of teachers with the various types of qualification in modern, grammar, full range comprehensive and restricted range comprehensive, and transitional schools are displayed in Table 4A. By comparison with schools of other types, grammar schools had a much higher proportion of trained graduates, a smaller proportion of Bachelors of Education and very much smaller proportions of both kinds of certificated teachers. Full range comprehensive schools had a higher proportion of trained graduates and a smaller proportion of certificated teachers than restricted range comprehensives. This was also true of restricted range comprehensives when compared with modern schools. The higher proportion of women teachers in grammar and modern schools is probably accounted for by the higher proportion of girls' schools in these two types of school in the sample. Almost 80 per cent of all teachers in grammar schools were graduates (including BEd), nearly 50 per cent in full range comprehensive schools, about 40 per cent in restricted range and transitional comprehensive schools and 30 per cent in modern schools. While some 47 per cent of all the teachers in the sample schools were graduates, these figures show that they were distributed very unevenly among the different types of school.

Table 4A Qualifications of teachers: by type of school

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Table 4B Proportions of women teachers* within each type of qualification: by type of school

Table 4C Teachers on each scale: by type of school

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Scale posts

2.4 Information was obtained about the distribution of scale posts and Table 4C shows the percentages of teachers on each Burnham scale in the various types of school. Modern schools had a much smaller proportion of senior teachers and transitional schools had a higher combined total for deputies and senior teachers. Transitional schools were in the process of reorganisation and in some cases the final staffing arrangements for the reorganised school had yet to be implemented. For teachers on Scales 1 to 4, the table reveals generally higher scales in the grammar schools. This is because the number of posts above Scale 1 is determined by the Burnham Unit Total, in the calculation of which there is a heavy age-weighting; grammar schools with their proportionately large sixth forms benefited from this arrangement. Grammar schools also had much smaller proportions of Scale 1 teachers and probationers and a slightly higher proportion of part-time teachers than other types of school. The higher proportions of girls' schools among the grammar and modern schools in the sample account for the higher proportion of women in very senior posts in such schools. Just over 75 per cent of the men and 60 per cent of the women in full-time appointments were in posts above Scale 1. In all the schools the part-time teachers were mainly women; 3 per cent of men and 15 per cent of women teachers were employed part time.

Table 4D Women teachers(1) on each scale: by type of school

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Heads of departments

2.5 Just over half of the heads of department were graduates, of whom one quarter were women, and just under half were certificated teachers, of whom two-fifths were women. The distribution of graduate and certificated teachers and the proportions of women teachers among the different types of schools followed the same patterns as those described for all teachers in paragraph 2.2.

Table 4E Heads of department: by type of qualification and proportion of women

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Age and teaching experience

2.6 Teachers in grammar schools, and to a lesser extent in modern schools, tended to be older and to have had longer teaching experience than teachers in comprehensive schools. Just over one third of all the teachers had more than ten years' teaching experience, but they were not evenly distributed among the various types of school: in grammar schools almost one-half of the teachers had such experience while in comprehensive schools the fraction was about one-third. See Table 4F.

2.7 The corresponding figures for heads of department showed similar age distributions among the types of schools and between men and women teachers. Fifteen per cent of all heads of department had had five years' or less teaching experience (13 per cent men, 19 per cent women), while 58 per cent had had more than ten years' teaching experience (60 per cent men, 54 per cent women). Heads of department in grammar schools tended to be older and to have had longer teaching experience than heads of department in other types of school.

Table 4F Teachers: by age and teaching experience

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Subjects taught and subjects of qualification

2.8 Teachers stated the one or two main subjects taught and also recorded the major subject of study for their certificate, degree or other qualification. Where teachers were qualified in more than one subject, they entered on the form the two which they regarded as most significant.

2.9 Sub-dividing the teaching force by subject is difficult, whether it is attempted by subject(s) of qualification or by subject(s) actually taught. Many teachers taught more than one subject and a large number were qualified in more than one, although not necessarily at the same level. Some specialist subject teachers had been promoted to senior administrative positions and no longer had a main subject of teaching and others had developed a main interest in a subject different from that of their original qualification. Further complications arose when a main subject of teaching was recorded as 'combined' or 'integrated' studies.

2.10 An attempt was made to assess the extent to which teachers were qualified in the subjects they taught by looking for match between the first stated (or only) subject of teaching and the subjects of study stated with their qualifications. The results are displayed in Table 4G.

2.11 Lack of match between subject of teaching and subject of qualification was particularly noticeable in physics, religious education, metalwork,

Table 4G Teachers who have a qualification in their first stated subject of teaching

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needlework, English and mathematics. There were shortages of appropriately qualified teachers of religious education in schools of all types. In grammar schools other shortages occurred mainly in metalwork and needlework. The shortages in English, mathematics and physics affected mainly the modern, restricted range comprehensive and transitional schools; such schools also had fewer graduates in these subjects and this was particularly marked in the modern schools.

The staffing of particular subjects

2.12 Table 4G shows that teachers who had appropriate subject qualifications were not distributed evenly over the schools. Generally there was a good match between the subject taught and the subject of qualification in grammar schools, and the match in full range comprehensive was slightly better than in restricted range comprehensive or modern schools. Further investigation of the match by level of qualification made these differences even more marked and indicated a hierarchy of grammar, full range comprehensive, restricted range comprehensive and modern schools, both in the subject match and the levels of qualification of the teachers.

3.1 The shortages of teachers with appropriate subject qualifications often occurred in subjects in which there is particular public interest: religious education, English, mathematics and science. As the survey was concerned with language, mathematics and science, considerable data were obtained about the teaching of English, the first foreign language, mathematics and science in the fourth and fifth years. Use has already been made of some of this information in Chapter 3 on the curriculum, and further comments are made about mathematics and science teaching in Chapters 7 and 8. Limited information was also obtained about staffing provision for remedial teaching and careers education and it is possible to say something about the teachers engaged in these matters in the schools in the sample. Careers education is discussed in Chapter 9, and the remainder of this section is devoted to staffing provision for remedial teaching, religious education, English and French.

'Remedial' teaching

3.2 The word 'remedial', as has already been indicated in Chapter 3, had different significance in different schools. Schools varied correspondingly in their approaches to provision for slow learners and pupils with learning difficulties and the kinds of arrangements they made have already been described. The number of 'remedial' teachers required by any individual school depends on its size and the ability of its intake but even more on the school's decisions about the range of ability and the range of learning difficulties which require special provision, the amount of time needed per school year and the number of years for which such provision is to be continued.

3.3 Remedial teaching is not a subject for which initial qualifications are obtainable although a number of teacher training institutions provide substantial optional courses which students may choose. The most common form of training for it is obtained by teachers who after some experience of teaching are seconded from their schools for a relevant course which carries

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certification or who undertake a variety of courses of in-service training for which there is no certification. Such courses were not recorded on Form 2, and so although it is known from experience and from the written accounts on individual schools that there are shortages of suitably qualified teachers for work with children with learning difficulties, there are no detailed figures to enable these shortages to be quantified.

3.4 Of the teachers in the schools surveyed, 336 did remedial teaching only, 311 stated this as their first subject of teaching and 167 recorded it as their second subject - a total of 814 teachers, of whom two-thirds were women. A significantly high proportion of the teachers concerned only with remedial teaching were part-time teachers; over 15 per cent of these teachers were teaching for three days or less per week. For teachers to make an adequate response to the many and complex demands of remedial teaching a reasonable basis of teaching experience would appear to be desirable; but roughly 12 per cent of this same group of 336 teachers were probationary teachers and 35 per cent had had five years' experience or less. Scrutiny of the first stated subject of initial qualification obtained by these 336 teachers revealed that the vast majority (197) studied humanities subjects (in which English is included) and only a minority (49) studied mathematics or science. These figures may well reflect the priorities schools attach to reading and literacy in remedial teaching.

Religious education

3.5 In Chapter 3 it was indicated that one or two periods of religious education were generally included in the curriculum of secondary pupils up to the age of 14, and that the subject was found in a majority of schools in the fourth and fifth year curriculum, either as a discrete subject or as an element within some form of combined study. When, earlier in the present Chapter, subjects taught were compared with subjects of qualification, it was found that religious education was less well matched than any other subject. Of the 608 teachers (331 men, 277 women) who taught religious education as their first or only subject 122 (20 per cent) did not record this as their first or second subject of study. Of the 486 teachers who had qualifications in the subject, 213 were graduates and 202 certificated teachers in secondary education. While rather more than half of the grammar school teachers were graduates, the figure for comprehensive schools was just over one-third and for modern schools about one-fifth. 44 (7 per cent) of the 608 teachers were part-time, 17 per cent were probationary teachers and 43 per cent had had 5 years' teaching experience or less. Table 4H displays the distribution of the teachers among the various types of school and shows that all the schools are affected by shortages of staff qualified in the subject. This gives a clear indication of the difficulties faced by schools in staffing religious education.


3.6 Of the 20,284 teachers (excluding heads and external teachers) in the schools surveyed, 1,525 taught English only, 1,016 taught English as their main subject, and 685 taught English as their second subject - a total of 3,226 teachers in all. This was 15.9 per cent of all the teachers in the schools surveyed. Of these 3,226 teachers, 696 (21.6 per cent) had no qualification in English. Of these, 147 taught English only, 225 taught English as their main

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subject and 324 taught English as their second subject. On the other hand, there were 1,269 teachers with a qualification in English who were not teaching English as a main or second subject. Table 41 shows that 3,799 out of a total of 20,284 teachers had some qualification in English within their higher education, but that only 2,530 of them were teaching the subject.

3.7 The distribution of teachers with different qualifications in English in the different types of school is worth noting. Modern schools had the

Table 4H Qualifications of teachers who teach religious education as first subject: by type of school

Table 4I Teachers with qualifications in English: by subjects taught

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highest percentage of certificated teachers; they had also the highest percentage of teachers whose qualifications did not include English as first or second subject of study. They had the lowest percentage of graduates of all kinds. Grammar school English departments were more likely to be staffed with graduates, and to make less use of teachers without English qualifications. The full range comprehensive schools had a higher percentage of graduates and a lower percentage of certificated teachers than the limited range comprehensives. The figure of 21.6 per cent of teachers of English in all schools who did not have English as their first or second subject of study during training indicates that many English departments were not staffed by a team of appropriately qualified specialists. See Table 4J.

3.8 There were 216 teachers whose only responsibility was head of the English department and whose only subject of teaching was English. There were, of course, many other heads of English departments who taught mainly English, and many English teachers who had other responsibilities, for example as head of faculty, as librarian or as coordinator of examinations. Of the 216, there were 174 who taught in schools which had a first year, but 67 of them (38 per cent) did not teach in that particular year. Of the 195 who could have taught in the second year, 75 (38 per cent) did not, and of the 212 who could have taught in the third year, 56 (26 per cent) did not. Because a considerable amount of the teaching of English was being done by inappropriately qualified teachers, many heads of English departments necessarily confined their own teaching to the examination years and the sixth form.

Table 4J Qualifications of teachers of English: by type of school

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3.9 The figures for the staffing of English in the schools surveyed indicate that there are three kinds of inadequacy - the proportion of the subject-teaching force which is engaged only part-time with the subject, the considerable proportion which is not fully qualified to teach the subject (with results of the kind noted in the previous paragraph) and the uneven spread of qualified teaching over different types of school.


3.10 Modern languages teaching was not a subject of special study in the survey, but schools were asked to provide information about the first modern language taught. 371 of the 384 schools in the sample taught French first, and information about teachers of French, limited to the data on the staffing form (Form 2), is discussed here.

3.11 672 teachers taught French only, 541 taught French as their main subject, and 331 taught French as their second subject - a total of 1,544 teachers. Almost two-thirds of these teachers were women, and about 10 per cent of the total were employed as part-time teachers. Of these 1,544 teachers, 216 (14 per cent) recorded no qualification in French. Of these, 44 taught French only, 55 taught French as their main subject and 117 taught French as their second subject. On the other hand, there were 311 with some qualification in French who were not teaching French as a main or second subject. See Table 4K.

3.12 The distribution of teachers with different qualifications in French in the different types of school, displayed in Table 4L, merits comment. The percentage of professionally qualified graduates with French as first or second subject in their degree was very much higher in grammar schools and very much lower in modern schools than in comprehensive schools. Among the comprehensive schools those with the full ability range had a higher proportion of trained graduates than those with a restricted ability range; those with pupils starting at 11 or 12 had a higher proportion of trained graduates

Table 4K Teachers with qualifications in French: by subjects taught

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than those where pupils started at 13 or 14 years of age. Modern schools and restricted range comprehensive schools had higher proportions of certificated junior and junior/secondary teachers and also of teachers for whom French was neither the first nor the second subject of qualification. In grammar schools French was taught to the majority of pupils up to the age of 16, while in comprehensive and modern schools it was almost always an optional subject in the fourth and fifth years. In such schools French may not be offered at all to some of the pupils of lower ability, either as a matter of policy or because, as has been indicated already, the school has insufficient suitably qualified teachers.

Distribution of teachers between schools: pupil-teacher ratio

4.1 Staffing policies are the responsibility of LEAs and are generally based on some kind of staffing ratio, simple or complex. A simple ratio is a single overall one for the whole school; for example, a school of 850 pupils staffed at 1:17 has 50 teachers. Complexities may include the use of differential ratios for different stages; a typical example is 1:19 for years 1, 2 and 3, 1:15 for the fourth and fifth years and 1:12 for the sixth form. Additions may be made above the LEA's general formula to meet a variety of special needs: schools with exceptional social difficulties, very large schools, very small schools, schools operating in divided premises, schools with a high proportion

Table 4L Qualifications of teachers of French: by type of school

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of pupils with learning difficulties. Figures published by LEAs make direct comparisons difficult partly because of these variants and partly because announced pupil-teacher ratios are not necessarily all calculated in the same way. Some LEAs include the head, some do not; part-time teachers may be treated differently, visiting peripatetic teachers may or may not be included and varying account may be taken of joint arrangements with other institutions.

4.2 Whatever the staffing policies, their outcome is to provide each school with an establishment of teachers. For the purposes of the survey heads of schools were always included, part-time teachers were converted to the fuII-time equivalent fraction for which they were paid, visiting teachers were counted only if their service was regarded by the LEA as adding to the staffing establishment and systematic account was taken of the contribution of teachers in other institutions. For each school the number of pupils on roll was divided by the total teaching force, calculated as just described, to give the overall pupil-teacher ratio for the school.

4.3 Differences in these ratios are much more important in operation than might appear from a simple scrutiny of the figures. Two comprehensive schools in the survey providing for 905 and 903 pupils of the same range of age and ability were staffed respectively at 1:19.8 and 1:17.4. This means that the first had a staff of 45.6 teachers and the second 52. Such a difference, sizeable in numerical terms, is even greater when its working consequences are examined. In both schools the time of nearly 40 teachers would be needed to staff the simplest possible curriculum with very few options and almost everything taught in full-size classes of 30. But provision at this level would manifestly have made it impossible to cater for the many needs that could be met only in smaller groups or by individual arrangements, and the schools had consequently been allocated more teachers. In terms of the availability of staff to permit the organisation of small teaching groups the second school was much more favourably placed. While both schools offered similar options in the fourth and fifth years, the teaching groups in the first school were larger than those in the second school and in the second year particularly there were some very large classes.

4.4 An examination of the pupil-teacher ratios for schools of different sizes within each of the five types showed that the smallest modern and comprehensive schools tended to be somewhat more generously staffed than larger schools of the same type. Apart from the effect just noted, no other pattern relating pupil-teacher ratio directly with size of school was apparent. In general, grammar schools had lower pupil-teacher ratios than comprehensive schools, which in turn had lower ratios than modern schools. Schools with sixth forms had lower overall pupil-teacher ratios than those without them, and as the age of entry increased above 11 the pupil-teacher ratios fell.

4.5 Apart from the indications already described, the main feature of Table 4M is the wide variations in practice it reveals. Staffing ratios ranged from 1:11 in one 11-16 full range mixed comprehensive school with 190 pupils to 1:20 in one 11-16 mixed modern school with 416 pupils in another

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authority. Even within schools of the same type and size and catering for the same age range there were very marked variations, the widest variation being between two full range comprehensive schools, both with 1,400 pupils and sixth forms of 190, one of which was staffed at 1:11.1 and the other at 1:19.1.

Deployment within the school: teaching loads: contact ratio

5.1 Within its staffing establishment, the balance of specialisms and the way in which the teachers are to be used rest largely with the individual school. The timetable shows how the total potentially available time of all teachers is divided between regular teaching commitments and the variety of other professional functions in which they are required to engage and for which time must be set aside. The allocation of teaching time among individuals varied widely within each school, ranging commonly from 34 or 35 periods out of 40 for teachers who had no assigned special responsibility, to quite small regular teaching assignments for the head and sometimes one or more deputies. About one-third of the teachers held posts of special responsibility for curricular matters and a further 10 per cent for pastoral care. Their 'middle management' responsibilities included social/pastoral duties as heads of years, houses, or blocks, oversight of subject departments or of groups of subjects within a faculty structure, as well as other specific roles such as personal counselling, careers guidance, curriculum development, or liaison with other schools. Schools chose either to concentrate a major responsibility in the hands of one senior member of staff with substantial non-teaching time or to share the same responsibilities among a number of teachers, each with a much smaller allocation of non-teaching time.

5.2 Whatever the pattern it needs to be recognised that, in practice, teachers rarely get all the non-teaching time theoretically assigned to them. Absence of colleagues must be covered, whether this is due to illness or to the growing

Table 4M Pupil-teacher ratios: by size of school

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demands on teacher time for various professional activities within school hours. Many teachers are involved in working parties on curricular developments, reorganisation and other issues, are released for locally based inservice training, or are members of committees and panels of examination boards. Demands arising from these sources are uneven in their impact on individual schools and subject to variation at different times of the year. The load which teachers actually carry is likely to be heavier than that revealed by the timetable.

5.3 A measure of the assigned average load per teacher can readily be determined by calculating the proportion of the timetabled week which teachers spend in teaching. Because schools use different numbers of periods in a week, it is more convenient when making comparisons to express the proportion either as a decimal fraction or as a percentage. The resulting figure is called the 'contact ratio' (see Glossary).

5.4 Later paragraphs refer to the contact ratios for the schools in the survey analysed in a variety of ways. It may be of interest, first, to present the current national picture with an indication of how it has recently developed. Table 4N shows the overall national pattern for secondary schools (excluding middle schools deemed secondary) for the past 10 years. Superficially these figures might be regarded as remarkably constant; in practice very small changes in contact ratio are important. For example, in 1971 when the contact ratio was 0.80 each teacher was on average timetabled to teach 32 periods in a 40 period week. On this basis a school with 50 teachers would have been able to provide 1,600 periods (ie 50 x 32 periods). In 1978 when the contact ratio was 0.78 the average teacher deployment was 31.2 periods and the teaching time of the 50 teachers would have been reduced from 1,600 to 1,560 periods (ie 50 x 31.2 periods). This change exceeds the teaching time of one teacher and would significantly affect the curricular provision that could be made.

5.5 Contact ratios as revealed by the survey were slightly higher than the current national figures, partly because the information was collected in a different way, but more particularly because the national figures include the sixth form colleges where, for recognisable reasons, the ratios tend to be markedly lower. The average contact ratios for the five types of school were: modern 0.80, grammar 0.78, full range comprehensive 0.79, restricted range comprehensive 0.78, transitional 0.80. Because of the practical differences made by small changes in contact ratio; the higher figures for modern and transitional schools probably reflect differences in the way staff are

Table 4N Contact ratios* of all secondary schools

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deployed in these schools. The variation over the whole sample was from 0.70 in a restricted range 11 to 18 comprehensive with some 900 pupils and a staffing ratio of 1:14.1 to 0.89 in a modern school of 450 pupils with a staffing ratio of 1:18.4. In general, the larger schools and those with the more generous staffing ratios had lower contact ratios. More detailed analysis of the contact ratios revealed a complex picture which was difficult to interpret on account of wide disparities between individual schools in the same category. For example, of two modern schools, both with 520 pupils, one staffed at 1:16.1 had a contact ratio of 0.85 and the other staffed at 1:16.3 had a contact ratio of 0.76. The first school had timetabled 1,098 periods and the second 970 periods; the difference of 128 periods was the contact time of four teachers. Such wide variations between schools of the same type and size reflect different kinds of compromise between the wish on the one hand to give more time for important non-teaching functions (careers advice, and individual support in socially disadvantaged schools are examples) and the desire on the other hand to provide a range of curricular choice, to cater for pupils with special needs and to keep class sizes within acceptable limits. In schools, except the fortunate few which are very generously staffed, the allocation of more non-teaching time must reduce the time spent on the curricular programme while, conversely, any increase in the teaching

Table 4O Teaching time and contact ratio for all schools: by Burnham Scale for teachers (1)

[click on the image for a larger version]

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programme can be organised only by reducing some of the already slender allocations of time to important non-teaching responsibilities. The appropriate balance for any individual school is difficult to achieve and in making its decisions the school needs to recognise that small changes in contact ratios will significantly affect the programme it offers its pupils.

5.6 Table 4O sets out an analysis of the contact ratios of teachers of different seniority according to the scale posts they held. The average teaching load for all the teachers in all the schools was just under 80 per cent, and if the 8 per cent of teachers who are sometimes collectively described as 'top management' - heads, deputies and senior teachers - had been omitted, the average load would have exceeded 80 per cent. Such evidence does not support the claim sometimes made that teachers are spending too much time on duties other than teaching. Large schools are particularly open to the charge of being 'over-managed'. An examination of detailed figures reveals that in some such schools four or five of the most senior members had light teaching programmes. But against this it should be remembered that if the large school were replaced by (say) three smaller schools each would have a head and at least one deputy carrying limited teaching loads, so that there would be little difference in the total of non-teaching time given to management duties.

5.7 The 'middle management' situation also merits comment. The contact ratios for teachers with major academic responsibilities only, major pastoral responsibilities only and those fulfilling dual roles (mainly found in small schools) were respectively 81.5 per cent, 73.2 per cent and 79.7 per cent. These figures mean that in a 40 period week their respective average teaching loads were 32.6, 29.3 and 31.9 periods and their corresponding non-teaching time 7.4, 10.7 and 8.1 periods. With about six non-teaching periods generally being the basic allocation for all teachers, it follows that the average additional time set aside for heads of department was less than two periods, for teachers with a major pastoral role between four and five periods and for those with both responsibilities just over two periods. In some subjects which were allocated a large fraction of the total curricular time, the departments had large memberships with a second-in-command taking some of the administrative load. Some subjects called for the management of resources and equipment and in some the supervision of ancillary staff was included in the duties of the head of department. It was somewhat surprising, then, to find that analysis of teaching loads of heads of department by subject revealed only marginal differences.

5.8 This evidence suggests that most schools had not been able to relate the allocations of non-teaching time to the special responsibilities which these teachers were expected to fulfil. Instead, it appears that schools could do no more than squeeze a little extra non-teaching time and hope that any gaps would be filled. While it is not unreasonable, for example, to expect a head of department to devote personal time to his need to keep abreast of new developments in his subject, it must be recognised that this is only one of his responsibilities. Another, possibly of greater importance, is the guidance, supervision and support which he should be giving to the members of his

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departmental team. Much of this he can do only when the school is in session. In the same way, teachers with major pastoral responsibilities need time to support the members of their team and, while some duties of the team can be carried out in out-of-school time (consultation with parents or other teachers are examples), many pastoral duties can be performed only when the pupils concerned are present.

Deployment between different year groups

6.1 The extent of the teaching programme depends on the number of teachers available (fixed by LEA policy) and the loads they carry (determined by the individual school). More teaching time cannot be provided unless one or both of these is increased.

6.2 One measure of how teaching resources are used in the school or any part of it is the average class size. Although this can easily be calculated, it must be remembered that it is an average and conceals a wide variation in the sizes of classes as actually taught. For practical subjects groups are generally between 15 and 20, and remedial provision may be made either by withdrawal of individuals or very small groups of pupils or by setting up a special class which is almost always kept below 20. When small groups are formed, for whatever purpose, other groups need to be correspondingly larger unless it is possible to provide an extra teacher for a substantial part of the time. It is, therefore, quite possible for an average class size which appears reasonable to conceal the existence of a considerable number of large classes. Variations in sizes of classes as actually taught have been discussed in

Table 4P The teaching provision in two 11 to 16 comprehensive schools of the same size for each year group of pupils

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Chapter 3 and are referred to again when the teaching of particular subjects is considered in later chapters.

6.3 The distribution of teaching resources may also be measured by relating the number of pupils in a year group to the number of teachers used to teach the year group. The number of teachers is found by dividing the number of periods allocated to the year group by the average teaching load; and the ratio of the number of pupils to this number of teachers gives the rate at which teachers have been deployed. This ratio is called the 'operational pupil-teacher ratio'. It is not the same as average class size, because in calculating the rate at which teachers are used account needs to be taken of their non-teaching time. Both measures, average class size and operational pupil-teacher ratio, give an indication of how teachers are deployed between different groups of pupils.

6.4 To illustrate this distribution it is convenient to refer back to paragraph 4.3 where two comprehensive schools of the same size but staffed at ratios of 1:19.8 and 1:17.4 were compared. For these two schools, Table 4P shows the number of pupils per year and the teaching provision made for them.

The patterns revealed are fairly typical and show two main features: first, the variation in successive year group numbers, sometimes slight but sometimes quite substantial, and second, the more generous use of staff for the older year groups, particularly the fourth and fifth years where it is devoted mainly to the options systems which feature in the curriculum at this stage.

6.5 The questions which schools face are how to distribute the staff they have between the years, and for what purpose. Special provision for pupils with particular learning problems is one contender; another is found in schools which 'set' by ability in certain subjects and recognise the advantages which follow if the number of sets can be greater than the number of forms from which they are created. The provision of additional groups through extra deployment of teachers is of similar value if the school chooses to organise classes each containing the whole ability range, since all the groups will be smaller, with advantage to teacher and pupils. As has been seen in the two examples quoted, the main contenders for teacher time are the fourth and fifth years, and even more markedly the sixth form where a school caters for pupils beyond the age of 16.

6.6 Table 4Q gives the operational pupil teacher ratios used in each year by type and age range of school. Each entry records the average value and the high and low end values of the central 80 per cent of the school category for a particular year group. 10 per cent of the schools at the two extremes were omitted in order to exclude from the figures for a particular year group the few schools operating with very exceptional ratios in that year.

The table shows the marked improvement in the staffing of the fourth and fifth years and the sixth form when compared with the first three years. The figures indicate that the presence or absence of a sixth form makes no

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significant difference to the operational pupil-teacher ratios in any of the first five years in modern, full-range comprehensive or restricted range comprehensive schools. This is not to say that a sixth form has no effect, but that any effect is masked by the large variation among schools of the same type. When comparing one type of school with another, only one thing shows up clearly: grammar schools have significantly higher operational pupil-teacher ratios in the first two years and somewhat higher ratios in the third year.

Table 4Q Operational pupil-teacher ratios for each year group of pupils: by type and age range of school

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6.7 More remarkable than this slight variation between the grammar schools and schools of other types is the very wide variation among schools of the same type. Further comparisons of the operational pupil-teacher ratios in the same schools revealed unexpected differences between adjacent years. A poor correlation between the third and fourth years was to be expected because of the more generous staffing of the options in the fourth year, but poor correlations between the first and second, the second and third, and the fourth and fifth were unexpected. This variation from year to year within each individual school is clearly one of the factors contributing to the very wide variations observed among schools of the same type.

General considerations of staffing

7.1 The outstanding feature of the evidence described in this chapter was the very wide variation in the staffing of schools which existed in practice. It affected schools of all types and was apparent even among schools of the same type and size catering for pupils of the same ability range. Inequalities were revealed between grammar, comprehensive and modern schools in the staffing establishments set by local education authorities and in the qualifications and experience of teachers who had been appointed to the schools. These differences applied both to the level of qualification and to the match between the subject taught and the subject of qualification. Teachers in grammar schools had longer teaching experience and were more highly qualified in the subjects they taught, and modern and comprehensive schools were particularly affected by shortages of appropriately qualified teachers, often in subjects such as English, mathematics and science about which special concern has been expressed.

7.2 The claim that schools are over-managed and that teachers are spending too much time on duties other than teaching was not supported by the evidence of the survey. Indeed, in most schools teachers with posts of special responsibility for the teaching of particular subjects or for the social and pastoral care of pupils were allocated few additional non-teaching periods and often had insufficient time to carry out fully those duties which could only be performed when the pupils were present.

7.3 Schools have to decide how to group pupils within each year group and how to allocate teachers to the teaching groups they have organised, determining how best to take account of the expertise, qualifications and experience of the teachers they have. Schools generally deployed teachers more generously in the fourth and fifth years and the sixth form than in the first three years. But there were very marked variations in the ways in which teachers were used for any particular year group in different schools, even when they were of the same type, and in individual schools successive years were often staffed quite differently. Within the constraints imposed by the staff they have, schools are faced with the difficult task of making choices about the deployment of staff expertise, the time to be allocated for important professional duties performed outside the classroom, the sizes of teaching groups, the amount of curricular choice to be given to pupils and the provision for pupils with special needs. All these matters are interrelated and a decision

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about one affects all the others. The evidence of the survey shows that in similar circumstances schools do make quite different choices. Before coming to any conclusions schools need to consider all the possibilities open to them; at present many schools may not be fully aware of the range of solutions available.

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5 The assessments

Procedures - written reports - gradings - provision and response - ability categories - processing the evidence.


1.1 Chapter 1 describes the procedures followed during the visits to schools and gives an outline of the form of the assessments and the methods by which these were determined. Assessments were of two kinds: written reports and a set of summary gradings in each of the four aspects inspected. This Chapter discusses in general terms the nature of these assessments while succeeding chapters deal in more detail with the separate assessments of language, mathematics, science and personal development and attempt to relate the findings to particular characteristics of schools.

1.2 For each of the four aspects, guidelines and check lists were used as an aid to achieving consistency in making assessments. In language separate consideration was given to talk, listening, reading and writing; in mathematics a supplementary document was used which asked for judgements on specific items to be made; and in science specific criteria were included which were discussed with the school beforehand. Observations of the use of language were made in all the lessons seen and it proved easier to assess language 'across the curriculum' than mathematics and science 'across the curriculum' where most of the evidence came from lessons in these particular subjects. Personal development was looked at under the three broad headings of curriculum, pastoral care, and curricular and career guidance.

1.3 During the visit to a school each member of the team contributed to the assessment of each of the four aspects with which the survey was concerned. At the end of the visit the whole team discussed all the findings, and for each aspect one member, acting as coordinator, wrote a report of the joint conclusions reached. In addition the team agreed on a set of codified gradings summarising their findings on the provision for and response by various 'categories' of pupils in each of the four aspects.

Written reports

2.1 In the written reports HMI attempted to preserve a balance in references to strengths and weaknesses and, as far as possible, to identify likely factors contributing to comparative success or failure. Teams drew attention to individual schools which were achieving considerable success in difficult circumstances and to schools where the relatively favourable conditions suggested that more might have been achieved.

2.2 The reports commented on the character and quality of work in relation to the four aspects and included descriptive and illustrative material. They

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took particular note where some of the objectives were more fully attained for some pupils than for others. In arriving at each grading much had to be taken into account and the reports enabled HMI to state the considerations on which their assessments were based and the emphases given to particular factors in making a composite judgement.


3.1 The provision for and response by pupils in language, mathematics, science and personal development were assessed separately, and within each assessment there was a further division by 'category' of pupil. For language, mathematics and science the pupils were divided into the more able, those of average ability and the less able within each school. For personal development, because such classification seemed inappropriate, pupils were divided into those who, in the opinion of the school, were likely to leave full-time education at 16-plus and those who were likely to continue whether in the same school or elsewhere.

3.2 Provision and response were, in all cases, separately assessed in six gradings defined as follows:

A. Of exceptionally high quality
B. Very creditable but not meriting grade A
C. Acceptable without serious reservation
D. Acceptable but with some important reservations
E. Unsatisfactory but not meriting grade F
F. Of poor quality giving very serious cause for concern.
Provision and response

4.1 The concepts of provision and response are complex in themselves and, in addition, there is the problem of their interrelationship. A particularly difficult aspect of this involves judging how response may be influenced by the suitability of the provision to the capacities of the pupils for whom it is made. The specific interpretations of provision and response when applied to the four aspects of the survey are treated in greater detail in the relevant later chapters. Here it is perhaps useful to indicate their meanings in more general terms.

4.2 'Provision' was taken to include the quantity, quality and use made by schools of resources of all kinds, accommodation, equipment, textbooks, reference books, books for wider general reading, audio-visual and other aids to learning, supporting staff, the teaching resources deployed and the appropriateness of the time allocated. It also involved a judgement of how well matched were the demands made on pupils with their apparent capacity to respond. Such a judgement took account of whether the teaching groups were constituted by ability, examination target, pupil choice or were mixed, and of the suitability of the teaching style for the pupils concerned and of the work which they were asked to undertake.

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4.3 There were some obvious difficulties in combining all the factors mentioned in the previous paragraph into a single grading. The teachers might be doing their best with inadequate or inappropriate material resources; conversely, those who had been provided with sophisticated resources might not have the expertise or sufficient time to make the best use of them. In mixed ability groups the teaching style and the level of demand might be right for some pupils but not for others. All the aspects of material provision might be creditable and the teaching more than satisfactory, while the time allowance might be inappropriate or the work in question might be offered to an unreasonably restricted minority of pupils.

4.4 'Response' included professional judgement of the standard of work achieved, quantitatively and qualitatively, and of the attitudes that appeared to be generated.

4.5 In personal development, the assessment of provision and response was particularly difficult, and response, in any case, can be judged only in a limited short-term sense. Many outcomes of personal development can only be judged when it is possible to observe what kind of people the pupils have become. In general, provision included the way in which the school saw its obligations to all its pupils, and how it sought to fulfil these obligations through its curriculum in the widest sense and by its organisation of appropriate support and guidance, all of which contributed to the general climate of the school. The assessment of response, within the limitations indicated, could be no more than a judgement of how effectively pupils seemed to be using and benefiting from all that was provided for them. In coming to such a judgement inspectors could reply only to a limited extent on direct observation, but much could be learned by talking with pupils and teachers.

Ability categories

5.1 It was indicated earlier that for language, mathematics and science pupils were divided into three categories by ability within each school. There would have been advantages had it been possible to locate these three groups within a national framework, in that this would have permitted comparisons of how groups of pupils of similar abilities fared in different types of school. Reluctantly, after much discussion, this was not attempted on the grounds of impracticability. To classify pupils in this way with any confidence would have required comparative information of the kind that can be obtained only from appropriate standardised tests. In only a minority of local education authorities was such information readily available; in many it did not exist at all and there was no possibility of incorporating any such testing procedure into the survey.

5.2 Schools gave the approximate ability range of the present fourth and fifth years, and as far as possible this was checked by HMI's observation of the pupils during the visit. On this basis the inspectors assessed separately the provision for and the response of the three categories of pupil within that range. In particular, in assessing the provision for each of these categories note was taken of the ways in which schools attempted to adjust what they offered in relation to their perceptions of the varying abilities of their pupils.

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This was comparatively straightforward where differentiated groups were organised, but much more difficult to achieve where there was a wide spread of ability within a single teaching group. As one means to this end teachers were asked to select samples of work in a wide range of subjects from pupils in each of the three categories. Additionally all the written work in all subjects was examined for a small sample of pupils in each category.

5.3 It must be re-emphasised that the classification by ability categories was within the estimated ability range of the individual school and not on any absolute scale. The least able pupils in a very selective grammar school could well be of higher ability than the most able group in a modern school in another area where a much higher proportion of pupils transferred to grammar schools. This point needs to be borne in mind when references are made to ability categories later in the report.

Processing the evidence

6.1 Groups of specialist HMI examined all the evidence relating to language, mathematics and science, and other appropriate groups extracted generalisations on personal development. Using a structured way of scrutinising the written reports these various groups worked on similar lines, sharing information and impressions throughout the process.

6.2 In addition to this systematic review of the written evidence, analytical work was carried out, wholly or partly by computer and by manual extraction, on factual data and the coded gradings. These gradings, defined in paragraph 3.2, represent a rank order only and in all analysis care has been taken to do nothing which attributes to them numerical properties which they clearly do not possess; all work done on them has been based on counts and frequency distributions and there has been no attempt to add or average them. In some of the subsequent chapters it has been found more convenient to discuss the assessments in broader categories and accordingly the six gradings have been grouped; for example, A and B have been combined into 'creditable', C and D into 'acceptable', E and F into 'unsatisfactory'. Where these shortened terms are used it must be remembered that they are abbreviations for the definitions given above and that there is variation within each of them.

6.3 The gradings were used in two ways. Their frequency distributions were compared for two groups of schools selected according to some particular feature. As an example, comprehensive schools were grouped according to the five categories of catchment areas and the frequency distributions of gradings for every pair of catchment areas were tested for statistically significant differences*. The gradings were also used to identify groups of schools which might be worth more detailed study including, for example, schools where the overall picture was most encouraging and those which gave the greatest cause for concern. The written reports were used in a similar way to select groups of schools exhibiting particular characteristics which appeared to justify further investigation.

*The results of this investigation are reported in Appendix 3.

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6 Language

Methods and criteria of assessment - reading - writing - talking and listening - the summary assessments - language and learning policies in schools - conclusions.

Methods and criteria of assessment

1.1 That part of the survey which was concerned with language reflected ideas which have been developing during recent years about the relationship between language and learning.* It was planned to include the whole school's 'language-life', its 'climate' for language, and was not restricted to the work of English departments.

1.2 As in other parts of the survey, a distinction was made between the school's provision and the pupil's response. The four modes of language, reading, writing, talking and listening were considered, though not in isolation from each other. More than one language activity is likely to be taking place at any one time, and all relate to each other in particular contexts. In the survey all four activities were observed and assessed, though talking and listening were treated as a combined oral activity.

1.3 Each survey team included an English specialist as coordinator of the language evidence. Responsibility for assessing the use of language, wherever observed, was, however, shared by the whole panel. Some 25,000 lessons, in all subjects of the curriculum, therefore, provided the background to this chapter. During the visits attention was given to, for example, the school's reading resources and how they were used, the writing tasks undertaken by pupils and the spoken language of both pupils and teachers in the classroom. The teams examined the written work of pupils who were representative of the more able, the average and the less able, as these groups were perceived by the school. This took the form of scrutinising all the notebooks and files of some fourth and fifth year pupils chosen by the school to illustrate its spread of ability, supplemented by the reading of written work in classes and sets of books in individual subjects. In addition, many other experiences contributed to the total picture, including conversations with pupils and teachers outside the classroom, assemblies, form and tutor periods.

1.4 It was not possible to look at more than a cross-section of the work and life in the schools, but account was taken of activities, subjects and teachers recommended by each school as having particular interest for the language element of the survey. The contribution of the English department and the language exchanges in science and mathematics were noted in all schools. The personal development assessment included some attention to the language of pupil and teacher relationships.

*Notably discussed in A language for life. Report of a Committee of Enquiry appointed by the Secretary of State under the Chairmanship of Sir Alan Bullock. HMSO. 1975.

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1.5 The 'provision' assessed included certain physical resources, for example, books and other aids to learning, but opportunities for pupils to use language were also considered. Variety and balance in the language work were clearly important - the extent and nature of talking, reading and writing and the proportions of time given to them. In the oral work, the extent and nature of exposition by teachers were considered, as also were the opportunities for pupils to extend their language either in class discussion or in discussion in small groups. In writing, the amount expected, its range and specification, the ways in which pupils were encouraged to experiment with language, and the kind of help given in the reception and marking of written work were all relevant concerns. So also were any opportunities for pupils to write for themselves in various ways and for different purposes. The survey teams took account of the books and other reading material available, their appropriateness in respect of the range of ability of pupils, and ways in which schools ensured that reading was developing and continuing to be a part of the pupils' learning in all subjects. They looked for signs that the relation of language to learning was being actively discussed by the staff, and for good practice by particular departments or individual teachers.

1.6 The assessment of 'response' related to the quality of pupils' oral communication with their peers, their teachers and others, to their ability to understand and respond to print and to write for themselves and others. It included indications of sustained effort and ability to use language appropriately for a variety of purposes. In spoken language, the response of pupils included their ability to discuss productively in the classroom and outside it and the quality of their listening. Not only their ability to read but also their appreciation of the values and satisfactions of reading was important. In their writing, their achievement in both reproductive and original work, any evidence of revision and reshaping, and any examples of self-initiated writing were noted.

1.7 Through this detailed consideration of the work of the schools the enquiry sought to discover how far pupils are being equipped to develop their use of language - as learners, as young adults, as users of leisure and as individuals in society; in other words, how far they have the language they need to make sense of themselves, of their relationships with other people and of the complexities in the modern world with which they will need to become involved.


The setting for reading - the overall picture

2.1 The setting in which reading takes place depends on a complex interaction of school and home, of the expectations of pupils and teachers, and of particular features of teaching and learning in these last two years of compulsory education. There were schools of all kinds (about one in ten) in which the provision for reading was memorable. This quality was determined by attitudes to learning and reading, rather than by differences of size, composition, catchment area, organisation or even material provision. The vigorous reading environment of the kind characteristic of these schools was found in all departments and nearly always flourished where there were good

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relationships, involving respect for individual needs and interests, and a general sensitivity to language.

2.2 Where such pervasive enthusiasm for reading occurred, it seemed to derive in large part from the teachers' interest in their own subjects. Keen, speculative readers themselves, often in the face of persistent and conflicting demands on their time, they had thought about ways of extending the reading of their pupils, and were thus able to share this or that reference with individuals or groups at the telling moment. Where the majority of the staff shared these attitudes, subject specialists were more likely to devise and keep under revision their own policies for encouraging reading. They were less inclined to assume that wider reading would be taken care of by some 'outside' agency, whether this was a library or, where schools had highly favoured catchment areas, the parents. At the same time, they were likely to be more aware of what the school might provide by way of resources, including those of the library and of other subject departments (for example, geography drawing on local history, child-care courses using writing about childhood available in the English department), as well as what pupils' private reading might contribute. Such collaboration between teachers or departments was the best example to their pupils of an active use of reading.

2.3 It was a characteristic of these schools that reading for pleasure, for interest and for information, was undertaken by many pupils as a normal part of their learning. In one mixed comprehensive, doing well for its inner-city catchment area, the curriculum encouraged sustained and varied reading, with a range of texts and source materials deliberately introduced, especially in history, economics, science and home economics. In this school the library, with its excellent stock of books and periodicals, was well used, over seventy five per cent of all fourth and fifth year pupils having books on loan at the time of the visit. Many pupils were also using the extended resources of public libraries for study and for following up their own interests. In the remedial department, suitable material for the less able was available and was being used. In another, smaller, selective school with a much more supportive catchment area, varied and thoughtful reading was taken for granted as an important part of fourth and fifth year learning, nearly every department having its own supply of specialist books and up-to-date periodicals.

2.4 The picture in the majority of schools surveyed was much less encouraging. Whatever enthusiasm for reading might have been developed in the earlier years, the survey revealed a narrowing in the scope and quality of reading by most fourth and fifth year pupils. There were important examples of stimulating varied provision within one or two departments, but in nearly all schools there were some subjects (not always the same ones) in which books played scarcely any part. It was frequently taken for granted that pupils could develop without help their skills of reading for different purposes, including their own satisfaction. Reading material, whether in the form of textbooks or of the worksheets frequently provided for mixed ability classes, was rarely differentiated in linguistic difficulty, and pupils of widely varying

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abilities were sometimes expected to be able to assimilate quantities of information to be stored in files and reproduced in tests and examinations. In at least a quarter of the schools it was the least able who suffered particularly from a failure to extend their reading or to provide an appropriate range of material. This was particularly true in some comprehensive and modern schools. Although remedial help was often programmed in the lower forms, provision for poor readers in years four and five was much rarer. A number of the grammar schools also provided least well for the lower end of their particular ability range.

2.5 Exclusive concentration on the requirements of public examinations appeared to be an important factor in the impoverishment of reading in at least one-fifth of the schools. Where curriculum and teaching styles were particularly circumscribed by examination objectives pupils' (and teachers') attitudes to reading were seen to be affected accordingly. In the fourth and fifth years, especially the fifth year, pupils were often reading little more than they were directed to read, and that only in so far as they could see it to be necessary for examination purposes. Books had come to be seen as sources of information to be remembered and restated and rarely, if ever, as affording material for comparison, speculation or collation. Many pupils were thus developing attitudes to reading which undermined much of the good work done in the primary and early secondary years and might well outlast the examinations themselves. Some of the more able had developed poor reading habits, which were narrowly centred on examination requirements and were marked by too little attention and exertion.

2.6 The difficulties for teachers and pupils should not be underestimated. There were, however, various ways in which a few schools of all kinds and a good many more individual departments sustained enthusiasm for a wider range of reading while at the same time preparing appropriately for examinations. By introducing a variety of texts and making the most of opportunities for comparison or discussion schools often showed that they were concerned to encourage careful, thoughtful responses in pupils. In some cases, work was so structured as to lead to frequent use of the library for references. Individual reading was encouraged by the use of private study time and by collections of books made available in class and especially assembled for required work on this or that topic. Several schools continued to monitor pupils' personal reading interests in the fourth and fifth years. O-level English literature syllabuses, devised by the school and accepted by the board, or well taught CSE syllabuses in a number of subjects, sometimes helped to extend the range of reading. Some of the best Mode 3 English syllabuses encouraged pupils to enjoy a wider range of literature than they might otherwise have encountered. In some history and geography classes, stimulating and well illustrated textbooks were supplemented by extracts from other books or periodicals, and by actual documents or their facsimiles. These schools took full advantage of opportunities in the syllabus for individual enquiry; pupils were accustomed to reading in order to elicit information, to reorganise it, draw inferences from it or evaluate it - pursuing these activities separately or in combination. The work was characterised by a teaching style which allowed for the free expression of

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ideas, refined by frequent and sustained discussion and a good deal of individual contact between pupils and teachers, a good supply of books and a well used library. In English, books were widely used as starting points for talking and writing, work on them being related to pupils' own perceptions and experience.

2.7 The pupils' response in reading rose and fell according to the enthusiasm generated and the opportunities and resources for reading made available in class. Even where relationships were good and pupils felt relatively secure, it seemed that the sense of pressure made it difficult for the more able or average fourth and fifth formers to develop their reading. Private reading, mainly among the more able pupils in a small minority of all schools, was undertaken through the school or the public library. Such reading, especially where it went on in spite of a low level of inducement in school, was not always something pupils were expected to discuss, perhaps because it was associated with their 'world apart' from school. It was also clear that the majority did much less reading on their own account and were largely dependent on what the school offered, both for stimulus and for opportunity. The reading of most fourth and fifth year pupils, especially the fifth year, was already restricted by the pressures on their time out of school. The volume of written work for the examinations made heavy demands, and from discussion with pupils it appeared that television viewing and more casual reading of magazines in the time remaining very often made absorbed or sustained reading less likely. Opportunities for reading in school time were limited. Most secondary school pupils were required to read in class for a very small part of every lesson period, mainly in short bursts. Reading records for older pupils were rare; nor were pupils themselves involved in maintaining a profile of their reading.

Pupils' experience of reading

2.8 In a typical week most fourth and fifth formers met widely varying expectations of themselves as readers as they moved from lesson to lesson; at best they were seen - and were helped to see themselves - as young adults, and were acquiring a growing complexity of skills and purposes in reading which in turn contributed to their maturity and understanding. Elsewhere they were treated very largely as passive recipients of information or ideas.

2.9 In the latter case the reading material provided was often too difficult. An example was that of a history group in one comprehensive school, described as 'non-readers', who were reading and copying such phrases as "damnable heresy" from a worksheet. In another comprehensive school, average and a few less able pupils in a biology lesson carried out practical exercises on blood and then had to read a paragraph from the textbook which included: "Red cells (erythrocytes): minute biconcave discs, the red cells consist of spongy cytoplasm in an elastic skin ...". Inadequately differentiated reading material was a feature of at least a quarter of the schools in the survey, and often particularly affected those who needed special consideration. In a few schools, the problems of 'readability' were being examined by staff working parties concerned with the whole context of language and learning. One such working party, chaired by the headmaster

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and with the head of the English department as secretary, had provided for the meetings papers on reading skills, on textbooks, and on the readability of materials. They had arranged an exhibition of books used in the school, and had analysed extracts by standard procedures, with results which seemed to have caught the attention of many of the staff. Approaches of this kind may help to shift the emphasis from the pupil as 'passive recipient' to the individual actively seeking meaning in his reading. There were, however, enough instances of good teaching mediating 'difficult' material to prove that pupils were capable of doing better than any measures of readability could have predicted, and other examples of pupils finding for themselves the incentive to read above their apparent abilities. Mark Twain hints at this when, in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck lights upon a copy of Pilgrim's Progress and finds "the statements ... interesting but tough". Reliance on readability graphs alone might have ensured that Bunyan was not among the authors he encountered.

2.10 The heavy writing programmes of many fourth and fifth formers clearly affected the extent of their reading, and the overwhelming quantities of written classwork and homework frequently crowded out reading for pleasure or the voluntary extension of knowledge. One pupil, an able fourth year girl, commented at the end of a nine page summary of part of The Guardians, an English set text, "all in all I thoroughly enjoyed the chapter and am glad that I have finished this writing so that I can get on with the book".

2.11 The reading experience of pupils right across the ability range and in schools with very differing characteristics was often fragmented, even within subjects. For example, where whole-class teaching in streams or sets prevailed, the reading of the more able and average might be a single textbook, together with notes which had been processed for them and examination exercises. They were rarely asked to read widely or attentively or to synthesise information from several different books. In over half of the schools, mainly comprehensive and modern, the less and the least able spent too much time on such resources as worksheets and graded reading exercises; in others, including selective schools, pupils were spending a good deal of time on short duplicated extracts which made little demand on reading stamina. In English, the fare could consist largely of 'comprehension' exercises, worksheets and reading laboratory cards. The quality was uneven and often not considered important, and there was little reference either to experience or to a theme being explored in depth. Here and there it was refreshing to find 'comprehension' material carefully chosen for its intrinsic interest and quality of language, and being used to illuminate (and be illuminated by) some central text or topic. The more general habit of reading mainly short disconnected extracts as another kind of exercise appeared in several instances to be having a cumulative effect: even some of the more able pupils seemed to have lost the habit of sustained reading.

2.12 On the other hand, there were commendable attempts to widen the range of reading beyond the course book, to shift the emphasis from teaching

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to learning, and to provide a variety of opportunities and resources for mixed ability classes. Wall charts, newspapers, source materials, audio-visual aids, together with all the output of multiple copying and reprographic services, made available a kaleidoscopic range. There were some encouraging examples of the use of worksheets and magazines in art, needlework or home economics courses, to supplement a range of books of excellent quality. In some history and geography departments, 'local' material had been made available in duplicated form and used with a good selection of books or a well written and finely illustrated textbook. There was some stimulating use of a single textbook of quality. Much depended on how the opportunities were taken - on the teachers' presentation of the material and on how fully the pupils were involved in, for example, varied discussion and careful attention to the illustrations and the text.

2.13 There were few schools in which worksheets were not being used, and in well over ten per cent of all comprehensive and modern schools worksheets were used regularly in several subjects. In general, where there had been such a move towards individualised learning, it had not been well managed, especially where worksheets, applied without discrimination of pupils' ability, had simply replaced the textbook, or where they had been used primarily as a means of class containment. A few schools had begun to explore ways of developing a more discriminating use of worksheets, alongside a variety of attractive books provided both in class and in the library. In these schools, worksheets were being used to complement other reading, and to provide extra material or alternative modes of work. Some science departments had given careful thought to the preparation of such sheets. Especially where their use was related to a tutoring style of teaching, or to experimental work in groups or pairs, much was being done to avoid the isolated self-communion of pupils and the reduced opportunities for discussion which often accompany a reliance on worksheets. One such department, in notes for staff on a Nuffield Combined Science syllabus, raised many of the important questions about the provision of worksheets, especially for mixed ability classes: "It is clear that no single worksheet is suitable for a mixed ability group, and the possibility of using 'audio worksheets' must be considered for those with reading difficulties. At the same time, it is vital that we do not neglect the brighter members of the class. The more able pupils need extra work to extend their experience ... Supplementary worksheets should therefore be available ... The extra work need not necessarily be a written worksheet, however; it could be a further practical investigation, a look at some slides, or even some additional research by visiting the library."

2.14 The quality of pupils' involvement in their reading was seen to depend very much on the rhythm of working achieved. The experience of individual reading for different kinds of information and the processes of reading, reflection, discussion, further reflection and further reading all take time. The survey afforded several glimpses of a working rhythm which did allow time for reflection, and encouraged pupils to connect their reading with their own experience, and their reading in one area of knowledge with that in

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another. Often, however, where time was short and extensive syllabuses had to be covered, dictated or copied notes provided a processed and inferior alternative to the more thoughtful personal reading which might have been undertaken. Such notes were a predominant feature in the work of several subjects in at least thirty per cent of all the schools, and of the curriculum as a whole in a further sixteen per cent. They tended to inhibit the pupils' personal engagement in reading, while at the same time leaving them to fend for themselves when they really needed help with a text on which notes had not been provided. Any consequent fumbling or uncertainty on the part of these pupils in their reading could be - and on occasion was - taken to confirm the assumption that they were 'not readers' and therefore needed the processed material.

Provision for less able readers

2.15 The majority of the comprehensive and modern schools visited contained small numbers of pupils whose progress as readers had been slow, and who continued to need help in the fourth and fifth years, in spite of remedial reading programmes in the earlier years. Sustained 'remedial' provision was rarely available for pupils in the final two years, and they were frequently placed in option groups which were far from homogeneous. Even where there was some form of continuing special provision (whether by withdrawal, or within the main curriculum core) the groups were often a blend of the poorly motivated and the least able, with a variety of different needs. There were schools, especially those with a higher than average intake of these pupils, where it seemed that a combination of inadequate remedial provision in the earlier years, increasing absence, and virtual lack of help in the fourth and fifth years had produced small but disturbing numbers of pupils who could barely read at the end of the fifth year.

2.16 Some remedial departments in modern and comprehensive schools were very well stocked for the needs of younger pupils, but subject departments very often invested primarily in textbooks for examination courses, often to the detriment of provision for their least able. In many cases low expectations of them as readers appeared to be justified by their response to a provision which emphasised the mechanical aspects of reading, such as repetitive vocabulary exercises, and gave them very little opportunity to respond as the mature young people they often were. Similar trends were discernible in library provision, where shelves were filled with books appropriate in content and language mainly for abler pupils in the upper part of the school, or for much younger pupils. Teachers frequently referred to the dearth of good fiction for slow readers at the upper level of secondary schools. There were, however, some encouraging examples of remedial departments whose policy for the older reader with difficulties was to provide a range of material. Such departments might offer a selection of books, pamphlets and workcards, including some which were usefully graded. Even more usefully, they went beyond it to draw on the mature interests of older readers, and to relate to topics with which they had been concerned in some of their other courses. In one school, for example, a group withdrawn for 'remedial help' in English were reading the transcript of a talk about old age and local provision for old people which they had heard in 'social studies'. They could and did play back the tape to verify the tone and emphasis of the original.

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2.17 Special courses for the less able in comprehensive and modern schools were sometimes successful in finding appropriate topics for study and supporting them with well-chosen reading materials. In some subject departments, less able pupils benefited from the best and most experienced teaching. In some lower ability English sets, where skilled teaching was available, the school's assumptions about their potential and their own expectations of themselves were confirmed by the seriousness of their response to literature of quality. In a number of subjects, important issues of the day, for example marriage, relationships in the family or problems in the environment, were skilfully made available to Mode 3 CSE or non-examination groups by means of discussion and a variety of media: film, drama and tape. Even when qualified and effective remedial help was available in the fourth and fifth years it tended, as in the earlier years, to be seen too much in isolation from the main stream of courses and syllabuses. There was no recorded instance of a 'remedial' specialist working alongside a subject specialist in the classroom, and only a few involved in consultation about the syllabus or the selection of reading material, whether in a department or a main library. The 'remedial' teacher was rarely concerned with the reading difficulties of average or above average pupils.

Library provision

2.18 The school library is the most important single contribution of all to the school's reading resources. In almost half of the schools visited, the library provision was considered 'satisfactory' or better. In some, there were qualified librarians, generous allocation of staff time, ingeniously created indexing and retrieval systems and resource banks. At the other extreme, in over a quarter of all schools, there was poor basic provision, understaffing, depleted and inappropriate stock and unsuitable accommodation, in regular use for teaching and sixth form private study, and sometimes split between sites. The main problem revealed, though, was not so much one of limitations of stock, staffing or accommodation, real as these difficulties were in some schools. In over a quarter of all schools, it was neglect of the library as a support for the curriculum and attitudes to the library during the examination years which gave serious cause for concern. A widespread falling-off in library use was evident in these schools, even where the stock was good and enthusiasm for reading had been aroused in the first three years. It was possible to find a school with an excellent library, with a full-time assistant and a teacher who taught ten periods fewer than the norm in order to give time to library work, which was scarcely used by the fourth and fifth year pupils. That a different attitude on the part of teachers and pupils was possible was illustrated by a school in which records showed the all too typical and steady decline in borrowing, with the exception of one fourth form, where borrowings were more than twice those of other examination groups. This form was in a lower band and was taught by a young teacher whose enthusiasm had raised her pupils' interest in books. A small but increasing number of school bookshops and book clubs, mostly dependent on the enthusiasm of the English department, added a brighter touch, but many fourth and fifth year pupils are doing little reading of any kind. In the background is the world outside school, which in many ways discourages active reading, yet surrounds the young adult with much that needs to be read. A sizeable minority,

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notably the more able, are doing a good deal of self-initiated reading, from school libraries, public libraries or from books that they buy, but there are many 14 to 15 year olds who find it hard to generate the incentive to read for themselves.

2.19 In some of the schools with significant numbers of pupils of Asian and West Indian origin, there were imaginative attempts to help all pupils towards a greater mastery of English by providing an extensive range of books. But reading specifically selected for ethnic minorities, or more generally to reflect the fact that ours is a multi-cultural society, was seen in only a small proportion of the schools. School libraries only occasionally stocked English versions of contemporary writers dealing with such problems as living in an unfamiliar environment, the move from village to city and family relationships in a time of change.

2.20 Many school libraries are very civilised places, with pictures, sculpture, flowers, and displays of pupils' work, but although an attractive and well organised stock is necessary, it is not of itself a sufficient stimulus to reading. There can be no doubt of the value of a good central collection, conveniently and attractively stored, which is regularly and intelligently used by staff and pupils. In many schools, however, where it had been decided to combine the maintenance of a central collection with the more flexible use of some dispersed book stock, the whole provision really was used in the work of all departments. In such schools, the emphasis was on the use of books and the promotion of reading in as many and varied ways as were possible and appropriate. It followed from this that for some pupils 'the library' was wherever the books were. In one rural comprehensive school, for example, many of the books were in the school entrance hall, where reading was also promoted by the sign 'Reading is not just books'. A huge display board was covered with leaflets about everything from social security to travel guides, from Simcas [a make of car?] to farm-safety rules. A real truth about the school underlay this display. Library records showed the usual fall-off in borrowing after the second year, but enquiries revealed that - very sensibly - these young people, having acquired literacy, some of them laboriously, had every intention of making good use of it. They still read books (paperbacks sold well here, especially about teenage predicaments and hobbies), and there was a vast consumption of manuals and technical journals. Motor bikes were much read about. The librarian had to hide Farmers' weekly on its arrival, and the boys queued up for it during the lunch hour.

2.21 Setting up the expectations and habits of reading widely and with interest is an essential step. It had been taken in one city comprehensive school in which every English class had one double period a fortnight in the library, and each child read one book and wrote a short review of it between library periods. Most pupils here expected to read, and to enjoy what they read, and many of them read more books than the required minimum. Staff involvement, especially in linking work in the curriculum with the library stock, was another key factor. In another school a circular from the teacher librarian to all the other teachers covered much of the necessary ground,

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beginning with injunctions to find out what the library had (and did not have) before precisely planning work which involved its use. There were also several examples of constructive collaboration between departments. Some departments had consulted the librarian regularly about stock and purchase, and had compiled their own reference lists for various topics. In the very few schools where the librarian was involved in departmental course planning, he might be asked for help and advice, or might receive copies of the various syllabuses so that demands on the library could be more effectively anticipated. As a matter of policy in some schools, the library maintained and fed departmental and class libraries, and (with the school library service) provided special book collections to order. The last sentence in the librarian's circular already referred to is the best postscript: "What is more important, greater staff use of the library would have a beneficial long-term effect on pupils' attitudes to books, libraries, and even teachers. 'They not only tell us to read and find out, they actually do it themselves'."


The amount of writing

3.1 In considering the role of language in learning in various parts of the curriculum the samples of the written work from a small number of pupils, selected by the school from each of the fourth and fifth years, provided a most useful starting point. They gave an initial picture which could be both interpreted and enlarged by staff and pupils during the week. It was possible to talk with those pupils whose files had been submitted by the school, and to discuss with teachers points of special interest such as the context of particular pieces. It was possible, also, to see other writing by pupils in most subjects, often undertaken in class. An immediate impression was of the often formidable amount of writing carried out by many of the more able and average pupils, and, now and again, by the less able.

3.2 Such a vast output was not, of course, to be found everywhere. There were schools, especially those in which external examinations made no demands for course work, in which little writing was done; there were subjects where the activity did not call for more writing than, say, an occasional physical education diary; there were teachers temperamentally disinclined to its practice and pupils who were not often found with pen in hand. But the great amount of writing in these fourth and fifth years inevitably raised the question of response and assessment by the teacher and the more important issues of the balance of language modes in teaching and learning, and of variety in writing itself. It was a problem for most schools, a big enough problem for few to feel they had solved it to their satisfaction, and too big for some schools either to face at all or even to recognise. The most successful included those where gifted teachers (and often the departments they led) had looked anew at what was happening, and those in areas where reorganisation had drawn in many more pupils with many more and differing needs which were standing back and trying to survey their changing scene. There were few schools without the need for some professional revaluation of the outcomes of this great increase in writing.

3.3 From the most able and fluent pupils, the writing was usually in impeccable order and immaculately presented. There were many whose

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writing had engaged much of their time, whose books were a pleasure to handle, and whose chief pride was this symbol of achievement and success in the process of education. The extent of their industry may be gauged by some examples. One fifth year pupil had preserved about 50 exercise books over two years; another, a boy from an Asian family, with a large collection of files and books, explained that he had probably spent about three hours each evening on his homework. An able fourth year group, following an optional course of classical studies, had taken down 100 file pages within a term. A fifth year group in English had written 23,000 words of dictated plot of Far from the Madding Crowd, and would have written many more when they had finished Great Expectations, already well under way. An able fifth year pupil had written 200,000 words in six subjects over four terms; an average pupil 120,000 in four subjects over the same space of time; a pupil from the lowest stream 9,000 in English and 11,000 in a course called 'Planning for life'. Much of this writing was, in one fashion, or another, a re-presentation of teacher or textbook language.

3.4 The workload seemed to meet with little resistance. Occasionally pupils did say they were weary of writing in their CSE files ('I'd like the chance of reading a book"), but there was generally a patient acceptance of the need to work in this fashion. Pupils of a fair range of ability wrote (or wrote out) stolidly, and, given the right encouragement, with some flair or enthusiasm. Some found utterance easier in writing than in talk, or, at least, in classroom exchange, perhaps because they were less inhibited when they were writing than at times they appeared to be when talking.

3.5 The importance attached to writing has produced a typical lesson pattern of exposition, recapitulation and record, and moments were always being reached when the expectation of a written task was a behavioural reaction. Writing was regarded as a good thing in itself ("One essay per week", was one head teacher's directive to his staff), and much teaching had an eye on a written follow-up. There were teachers, too, as opposed to those so disinclined, who were temperamentally inclined to writing, usually as a way of containing fidgety classes. One school's advice to young teachers was plain: "Switch to writing if you find them turning restless". Even without restlessness there was frequently an over-quick move to writing, reducing time for discussion and preparation, and preventing a clear definition of the task required. Reading and talk were thus crowded out, either as activities in their own right, or as linked with the writing. But, most of all, in recent years the pressure of external examinations has affected more and more pupils. The establishment of CSE and the growth in the submission of course work have been powerful forces, and the search for motivation for less academic pupils has led to an increase in limited grade CSE programmes. Reorganisation, understandably enough, has resulted in some former non-selective schools seeking examination success in order to establish themselves in local esteem. Thus, teachers of some groups in the fourth and fifth years are faced with appreciably more writing than they might have been with similar groups 15 years ago, and are less assured in knowing how to

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respond to it. One way towards a professional assessment of the problem could be to examine the total written output of a cross section of pupils.

Variety and balance

3.6 A less immediate but more important issue was the variety of the writing and the balance among that variety. Among all the schools visited, there were to be found, somewhere or other in the writing, either formally presented in class, or contributed to some public outlet, such as a journal or wall magazine, all the kinds that one would hope and might expect to find from 15 and 16 year olds. Some of it, indeed, was of memorable quality, but, more to the point, there were examples from pupils of all abilities, those for whom writing was a struggle as well as the talented. The narrative, descriptive and recording work of earlier years had expanded in almost every way. Pupils were still called upon to observe, and to describe and record their observations, using increasingly sophisticated techniques of presenting their information as it grew more complex, with visual aids in chart, map, diagram, tabulation, flow chart, graph; and, of course, at times to make these 'aids' their first statements, to be enlarged upon with words. They still wrote in narrative in response to stimuli of all kinds. They wrote from their own experience or following a teacher's exposition, or as an outcome of reading and study. They selected and assembled material, developing the skills of note-making and summarising. They came to generalise, to reason, to illustrate arguments, to draw conclusions. The most able were speculating, making inferences or constructing hypotheses, and they were writing imaginatively in fantasy or in realistic fiction. Sometimes they were playing about with language, using it creatively for their own (and other people's) satisfaction. It would have been a straightforward matter to put together a collection illustrating all these varieties, substantially in pupils' own language. But not often would they have come from a single school and rarely would they have drawn upon the work of most departments.

3.7 Over nearly 400 schools the lasting impression was of a general uniformity of demand. There were considerable differences of format and custom among subjects as there always have been. But the pattern most frequently found could be described as essentially one of 'notes' and 'essays', interspersed with the practice of answering examination questions alongside the drills of exercises and tests. This pattern did not make it easy for pupils to feel that their individual reactions were valued, or that their variations of information or opinion were welcome. Their files at times demonstrated the successful imprinting of a standard language, arising from teacher or textbook.

3.8 Notes and 'essays' are important techniques for handling information and experience, not only for success in test conditions. But much of the typical practice of schools fails to recognise how much learning depends crucially upon language, upon both vocabulary (general and specialised) and structures which have to be 'internalised' by the pupil by experiencing them and also by discovering how to use them in his own language. The common pattern of instruction restricts the pupil's opportunities of experiencing and even more of using the language he needs.

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3.9 This pattern of instruction may be illustrated by an example of the writing of an able boy in the second term of his fourth year. It is an example which could too easily be replicated, with only slight variations.

Written output of about 6,000 words, but including seven punctuation, thirteen comprehension, two grammar and three multiple choice exercises, calling for little of the pupil's own writing.

Notes and essays - about 10,000 words.

Some 6,000 words - mainly in short sentences and occasional paragraphs.

A book of 2,300 words of copied statements.

A file of notes (all of which were copied) and problems adding up to 3,000 words; a brief file describing five experiments coming to 500 words.

A book of 10,000 words of copied notes, some (with the teacher's approval) copied from the book of another pupil who had taken the course the year before.

Three exercise books, although naturally enough with far less text.


3.10 Much time was spent on the production of 'notes', ranging from the direct copying of someone else's compressed information to the composing of a brief outline from listening or reading. In schools where teachers sought to train pupils in this important skill, for instance by offering guidance in selecting material, there was a satisfactory development over two years in storing information, making reminders of where to find it again or to enlarge upon it, and securing a sequential and logical progression. In such schools, notes came to be largely the pupils' own work, with little dictation or verbatim copying. Pupils grew to cope with fairly exacting demands on specialised vocabulary, and their notes were paged, referenced and indexed so that they could use them for revision or as source material for essays as they saw need. But, more often, there seemed to be an assumption that pupils acquired this skill automatically, irrespective of their natural capacity, or alternatively that they were incapable of mastering it. Notes were even painstakingly copied from duplicated sheets, an empty procedure that no one had seen fit to condemn, not even the pupils themselves. "He tells us what to say" said one boy, approvingly, of his history teacher. At other times notes were taken down from a blackboard, by no means always correctly. They were rarely a genuine addition to other sources, but were often a teacher's substitute for pupils' own efforts to interpret printed information.

3.11 Frequently, the notes were dictated and too infrequently looked over to see if they were correct. A fourth year CSE pupil in an 11 to 16 school ended a double period by taking down from dictation these notes.

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"C18 warships were wooden sailing ships armed with muzzelle loading smooth bore cannon of veriase sizes placed to fire through gun ports cut insider of the ships. Battles were fort at close quterse because the range of the cannon was short. Ships often ran along side one enuther and grappled so that bording partys could trie to capcher the enemy ship. Ship were nearly sunk by gun fire because."
The class had taken down notes like these from the head of department for three months 'because they can't make notes for themselves'. The pupils could not always read them back and had no quick recollection of the earliest notes. A few random ticks were all the attention they had received. Less able pupils, in particular, collapsed into incoherence because the language was unfamiliar, or the pace too much for them, or haste had precluded the discussion which might have made new concepts clearer to them. Thus a passage in a physics note-book ran:
"We can use the idiors of constructive and destructive interference to explane the pattern produced in the above expe. The lines are produced because the ware from one dipper is effectively cancelled out by the ware the light sections can be explained using the idea of constructive ... (illegible)."
There were, however, instances of dictation or copying which had to be judged differently when seen in classroom practice. One example is from a chemistry teacher who firmly believed in providing the exact wording to go into pupils' books, but who preceded dictation by a class discussion, to ensure that the notes would be understood. Another example is from a history teacher, who built up a framework on the board, but whose own disquisition was so apt and felicitous that pupils found it hard to escape his wording. A biology teacher made a similar point in discussion with one of HM Inspectors on pupils' notes built up with some reliance on a textbook, for instance, on a piece entitled 'Digestion':
"Some sentences have been copied 'word for word' from the textbook, but on the whole Sharon has produced her own interpretation of what she understands of the Human Digestive system. Sharon's description of peristalsis in the first paragraph ('When the round ones contract the others relax, this makes the tube long and narrow, the opposite then happens') is an adequate description of peristalsis which Sharon has worked out for herself. Otherwise the language which Sharon has used is typical of the language she has heard me use in my teaching, or language she might have read in any biology textbook."
3.12 Able students learned the note-taking, note-making procedure very quickly. They wrote rapidly and fluently during lessons, dealing adroitly with distractions, such as loudspeaker announcements or message-bearers; they wrote with pads on their knees in the semi-darkness of film or television lessons, looking or listening at the same time; they were adept at slightly amending the textbook account when required 'to write in your own words'. They did not seem to resist; they liked 'being busy', and note-taking became a routine. Good memories, a logical turn of mind, quick verbal facilities and strong motivation made the process smooth enough, but the stimulation that able pupils need to extend their language was lacking.


3.13 At intervals of about one to two weeks, varying with subjects, pupils in schools of all kinds wrote 'essays', stretches of continuous writing, and

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slowly acquired the rules governing form and length, usually those needed to answer a question in a public examination, but also for a school purpose, say, writing up an experiment. The work was often varied within a firm structure. A geography pattern, for example, led pupils from a simpler to a more complex form. In addition to map exercises and statistics, there were three stereotypes; short factual statements, "describe the site of Port Talbot and list reasons for its growth"; longer paragraphs, "suggest why Tyneside became the centre of an important shipbuilding industry"; and longer essays, "describe the ways in which the agricultural, forest and mineral resources of Norway are utilised by man".

3.14 There were plenty of other interesting variations, from teachers or pupils. A lively religious education teacher, seeking an account of a moral issue drawn from the Old Testament, took, as a matter of course one pupil's response in verse. A sixth form girl had preserved two exercise books headed 'Unfinished novel', written in the summer weeks after she had finished CSE. One science teacher, instead of any formal experimental accounts, sought understanding through a series of question probes, another sought variation in asking a class to write in different ways. For example, a class of fourth year pupils had written up an experiment in which they had observed onion slices under a microscope. One girl who had already written a careful succinct account, impersonal, in the passive voice, then turned to 'the same experiment from our point of view as a class':

"We were all waiting rather apprehensively to discover what we would see under the microscope. But first we had to prepare the slide. We brought microscopes out and excitedly set them up. We were all given forceps and smiles came to our faces.

The thought in our minds was the operating theatre. We were all imagining ourselves to be surgeons performing a major operation. Gingerly we pulled away a piece of onion and carefully placed it on the slide ...

The next thing to be done was to make sure the onion was laying flat on the slide. Painstakingly we fiddled around trying to get the tissue flat, it sat on the slide like a piece of thin, wet tissue paper. We straightened it out and it looked as though it had suddenly been ironed.

[She described how she cut away a small piece with a scalpel, moistened it and protected it with a coverslip.]
We could now do the bit of the experiment we were all waiting for, the observation of the onion under a microscope. We slid the slide under the microscope and each one of us focused it to our own eyes. At first everything was blurred, but as I focussed it, the onion became clear. It was incredible, it was as though somebody had changed the slide. Instead of the onion I saw hundreds of small cells.

I then had to let someone else observe the magnificent spectacle and I was sure that they would be as astounded as I myself was."

3.15 Unusual or sustained or self-initiated writing often brought warnings about the examination canons. At the end of a very competent piece of work by a fourth year pupil, only four weeks into a two-year course, came the sole remark "Longer than necessary. At present they ask for 90 to 100 words in the letter." A particularly good essay was appreciated, but with this warning: "Excellent, John, but you could never have written as much as this in one

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hour in the exam." The difficulty for pupils of writing for themselves, and completing the task within an hour, may be demonstrated by essay questions set by an immensely hard-working teacher, anxious for the success of her fifth year pupils. Here is one, typical of all, with suggestions intended to be helpful, but only as an afterthought accepting that pupils might have their own contributions to make.

Write an essay on the Great Exhibition of 1851. The following points may help, but credit will be given for original work:

Who organised the exhibition? The building itself - Fears concerning the whole idea - Fears concerning the building - Who visited the exhibition? - How - What was unusual about this day out? - The things the visitors saw (great detail here) - Popular material - Gimmicks - What did these items tell of progress? - Any shortcomings? - Foreign exhibits - Reflection of the era - Your own ideas.

3.16 Obviously pupils must learn to deal with examination demands, but they will not spend their lives doing that. "Beware of questions that say Why?; look for questions that say Give an account!" ran one warning after the award of a low grade to an essay. Over two of the most important years of their education, when most of them have their last opportunity in school of realising how mature language is highly differentiated for particular purposes and particular recipients, they need teaching which requires them to exercise some flexibility. The restricted forms in which the majority write are a constraint upon the development of writing in the fourth and fifth years. They need opportunities to try to use language appropriate to a context in sense, feeling, tone, intention. In almost any school there are teachers who can draw from their pupils more varied and more controlled writing, as they come to handle more complex ideas and order more intricate arguments. The teaching may be found in any subject area, for instance, in a school where the freshest writing at a simple level from fourth year pupils arose from the variety of realistic tasks in housecraft; another where the most successful, at a more complex level, came from lucid teaching in sociology. Perhaps the most important element in such success is an approach to pupils which accepts the argument* that intellectual stimulation is a surer way to develop complex uses of language than drill in syntactical rules, and also recognises that a finished product from pupils is unlikely at a first attempt.

The reception of pupils' writing

3.17 Whatever the writing, its reception is as important to its development as the form in which it is presented and there was a wide divergence in the ways in which writing was assessed. It was difficult for an outsider (and presumably for a pupil) to discover any common policy or purpose. 'Marking' is not in itself a new problem, and it has always been a contentious issue. All the old arguments, such as the dangers of 'over-marking' with its damping of pupils' confidence and its uneconomical use of teachers' energy, or the variation of marking needed for pupil or topic, are still there, and still call for professional concern. Much more is needed, though, than an occasional meeting to draw up a 'marking policy', some agreement on marginal symbols and spelling drills, such as indeed existed in enough schools to force the conclusion that they have little observable effect on the essential difficulties

*Teaching the universe of discourse, by James A Moffet. Houghton Mifflin. 1968.

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of writing. All schools have teachers who are aware that pupils need for their own learning writing different in nature from what custom has ordained, but who are uncertain how to secure or handle it.

3.18 The first impression was one of uneven and often sparse marking, perhaps in part a consequence of the increased volume of writing produced by fourth and fifth year classes. Yet this writing has occupied for many pupils a goodly proportion of the final two years of secondary education and it too often reveals disappointingly little interaction between them and their teachers. Some teachers held firmly the view that 'notes' or informational pieces required no oversight from them, and that their time was better spent on other written work, or in other ways altogether. For instance, history notes or chemistry theory might not be glanced at, essays or experimental work were marked. In other cases a light final tick sufficed, with sometimes an occasional word of praise or reproof, and marginal exclamation or question marks.

3.19 The idiosyncratic nature of assessment could be illustrated by careful reading and constructive remarks in, say, one science and scant attention in another, or by wide variations between two teachers in the same department. Thus, a physics teacher stood out from other science teachers in the school by this kind of helpful note on a pupil's work:

"Comment on the results Duncan - why is there, do you think, such a difference between the least and the greatest? Should these be taken into the average?"
Similarly, one historian could comment in a more valuable way than his colleagues:
"An excellent visual and written description of - Abbey. Your essay would have been neatly tied up with a historical introduction of the Abbey's rise and a conclusion alluding to its dissolution and later history."

"Not very carefully planned, Roger. You would have done far better had you stated, at the beginning of the second part of the essay, exactly what the problems were which faced miners and then described how various methods of dealing with these problems improved up to 1850."

Sensitivity was often demonstrated in quite short remarks. A teacher of French wrote:
"Try to benefit from the corrections we shall arrive at together."
A head of department, taking the lowest CSE set in physics, had added to a paragraph of highly technical language which had probably been copied, although carefully and correctly, this remark:
"Do you understand this, Arthur? Perhaps you could give us a talk on it?"
3.20 An interesting example of supportive marking was to be found in a geography folder. In a descriptive piece on different patterns of rainfall written by a girl in the fourth year, one paragraph read:
"Convectional Rainfall is, when the sun rays heat up the ground the air close to the ground is heated too, and begins to rise. Moisture from the ground begins to evaporate into the air, and is taken up with it. As the air rises higher and higher it gets cooler and cooler, the air turns into clouds. As the clouds get higher and higher

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they start to get very cold and the moisture begins to turn into droplets of water. Higher the clouds go the droplets become too heavy for the clouds so the clouds have to let go of the droplets and this falls very heavily as rain. If the clouds went higher and got even colder the droplets would freeze and fall in the form of hail."
It was approvingly received by her teacher, and before long she had moved easily into a register more adapted to descriptive and defining purposes.

The failure to regard writing as part of the learning process was responsible for marking which was not only at times haphazard, casual or inconsistent, but at other times negative, censorious and possibly counterproductive. This record of the work of a fifth year pupil may be cited. Her written work had been selected by the school as that of a very able pupil, and clearly demonstrated that she was. A series of essays in English over a term earned this total sequence of comments, in the page margins and at the end of compositions:

Not thought out - Full stops and caps not clearly written - Errors of fact - You write a letter as briefly as possible - Needs more careful thought - Not developed - Padding - You have not thought this out sufficiently - Is this all? - Weak - Not what you were told to do - Keep it clear, concise and simple - spoilt by carelessness - tenses - Keep it clear, concise and simple - Argument poor - repetition - Poorly expressed - Meaningless - Rubbish - Last paragraph muddled - Last paragraph shows thought.
The teacher spoke well of the pupil, but the sequence of comments above could not but suggest an unaltering, scolding type of assessment. Only in the final week of term did there emerge some lukewarm praise.

3.21 Among the teachers of these age groups are many who are familiar with the techniques of public examination assessment, from their experience with GCE or CSE boards. They know the processes of marking a large number of candidates. They are less assured, however, in assessing the linguistic performance of an individual, and in marking in a way which will support and help a pupil. The amount of written work is daunting, and the difficulties when teachers are inevitably marking quickly are considerable. They are under pressure, too, from parents who may be anxious for their children, and from employers who may be impatient of their recruits. Both parents and employers, however, may be unaware of the very real difficulties many pupils have in learning to write 'standard' English. It is in no sense the case that teachers are not concerned about correctness. Indeed they may at times be so entirely taken up with it that they can fail to recognise a pupil's potentialities, and, by seizing upon too many grammatical flaws, so shake the confidence of pupils that they cannot develop the ability to write satisfactorily. More constructively some schools have found a route in by persuading all (or most) members of staff to examine together examples of marking over a period, and to consider the help they provide for learning through writing.

3.22 Written work has usually to be removed from the classroom and marked elsewhere, and it may too easily be regarded as separate from the language exchange between teacher and pupil. Because so much time is spent upon it

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and because it is inescapably the chief way of recording or restating knowledge, it may come to be seen as the only mode of language which matters. Practice makes for greater proficiency, but pupils in the fourth and fifth years are having to impose order on a growing store of facts and ideas, and to abstract and generalise from them, using the specific vocabulary of subjects. These are likely to be fields in which they express themselves most easily in their own personal language and perhaps in talk, and they may need to be allowed opportunities to do so before they come to write confidently in the impersonal language of secondary education. The more able respond most successfully to what is provided, and at times welcome unusual, more exacting demands, as indeed, if not so deftly or distinctively, do the average. The less able find writing more difficult. For all pupils, there are occasions when it is not easy to move into the written language of education, and they need patient help when they stumble as they learn.

Less able writers - some problems

3.23 'Remedial' provision too often concentrates on reading, on the assumption that "they can't write", or is largely confined to worksheets. The pupils themselves come to accept the school's judgement. "My writing is rubbish", a pupil would say in embarrassment, as he might say "I can't read very well". Yet one pupil in a 'remedial' group could write off the cuff for a visitor, inside half an hour, three pages called 'Something about myself'; her syntax was aberrant but she wrote fluently, comprehensibly and engagingly. If the purpose is clear, and the aims are not too remote and delayed, pupils have language at some sort of command, although it is not always revealed by literacy tests. The groups in which such pupils are taught are often kindly, sympathetic, even protective, but their teachers do not always diagnose their real needs and set out to meet them. Material provided for them, mostly in worksheet form, can make unreal or profitless demands, or it can reveal great failure to use what linguistic capacity they have. Thus, on the one hand, a fourth year pupil with 21 barely decipherable separate words in his pupil's workbook as answers to exercises, was assumed to be capable of reading such linguistically difficult instructions as:

Pupils. In this book you will write all your answers to the Work Cards. You will correct your answers using the Answer Cards. Then you will change your number of correct answers to a percentage. For this you will use the percentage chart. These percentages you will record in the centre pages. This will give a graph which will show how well you are reading.
On the other hand, a pupil set to reproduce a story from a card could demonstrate a command of structure more complex than the original. The card story may be exemplified by these sentences in it:
"He went closer and laughed when he saw a cat. Then he stopped laughing suddenly. The cat's eyes burned like flames. He drew back. The eyes grew. The shop window was ablaze."
The pupil's story by these:
"One day Eric was walking along with his papers and as he passed the shop he saw a cat gazing out of the shop window. The cat looked at him and the cat's eyes were like flames. Eric was trying to find a way in so that he could free the cat."

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Such over and under-expectation can do little to improve the pupil's writing performance.

3.24 Those who are not so linguistically hesitant that they need special attention may fare little better. A term's programme in English for one fifth year non-examination group in a rural secondary modern school may be cited as an example:

1 SepPhrases and sentences (eg 'As cold as ice' is a --).
3 SepIdioms. ('They fought tooth and -- to repel the invader').
8 SepSentences. ('In spite of his tiredness he could not --). Choice from list.
8 SepComprehension.
10 SepCommon mistakes.
Vocabulary ('New College is at --'). ('Dr Spooner was a --- of this college').
15 SepComprehension.
17 SepLetters. (Copying a model - painting a house.)
Proper and common nouns. (Plymouth, Plumber).
22 SepLetters. Another model.
24 SepProper nouns. ('-- College is the oldest in Oxford').
29 SepSingular and plural (potato, tomato, piano ... ). (One answer - 'potatoes, tomatoes, pianoses ...'),
1 OctLetters; another model.
6 OctPlurals (penny, ruby, valley ...). (School notice "one pence admission").
8 OctLetter - original. (On return of unsatisfactory article ordered from advertisement).
13 OctAdjectives.
15 OctAdjectives and adverbs.
27 OctAdjectives.
29 OctThe working week. (Graph of average wages of 40 years).
('I estimate the average wage will be -- in 1980').
3 NovVocabulary. (Gap filling from list).
5 NovComprehension.
Nouns. ('A -- of arrows, a -- of hounds').
10 NovComprehension.
17 NovComprehension.
19 NovJoining sentences. ('I chased the thief -- I could not catch him').
24 NovVocabulary.
Sentence construction. (Filling in missing conjunctions).
26 NovChoosing the correct word. ('Your mother was getting -- about you').
1 DecVocabulary.
3 DecComprehension.

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That such attention to minutiae was not solving one pupil's problems may be judged from a letter for the exercise of 8 October, the one occasion when pupils wrote in their own language:

Dear Sir

I would like to pan bat the cowl fire I would like to the nound one places and the nound to tell you the nound size is 14" 16".

Yours faithful

To which was attached the one written comment of the term "This is not English".

3.25 The most troubling cases observed were those pupils in the 'bottom' CSE sets. The pressure on pupils of limited proficiency which results from the accumulation of written work can lead to a breakdown of orthography, lay-out, syntax, sense. An example may be quoted of a pupil who copied out slowly, carefully, and correctly (apart from some confusion over the statistics) this paragraph:

"The world population is currently estimated at 3,500 millions. It is expected to double in the next 30 years. Why has the explosion taken place? Although the birthrate (number of form 11000 mothers) has not risen, the number of fatalities (number of death/1 ,000 people) has dropped dramatically. This is due to the eradication of diseases such as malaria and to improved medical care."
However, on his own, he wrote:
"Farman is wer you have crops and you neb pllt land for the grops and soive the RON seats in to the soville and you have pllows to pllow the fallebs and you nebe gotelle to yete and the caws can gave melk ... "
The panic was sometimes at its worst in project work.
"The lucuin refuse from a house can be divided in to 3 grope a/storm water Whishe floow from the roof into guts and drainpipi as a rut reasonably is clane it flows into the mamum sewer."
As a way of escaping from that kind of incoherence, the project was frequently allowed to develop into 'scissors-and-paste' compilations of cuttings; in one such, a unit in a 'French background' project on the wines of Anjou was illustrated with pictures of Sandeman's port, seemingly unnoticed.

Fundamental problems and some pointers to success

3.26 The problems facing so many schools were highlighted in those with particular language complexities, where success had come only by looking at the fundamental difficulties. One such school, with 70 per cent of its pupils from families who came to this country from overseas, half Asian, half West-Indian, had in effect formulated a policy in its notes to staff:

"On the educational side, probably the most important thing to develop for every child - not only those from overseas - is the use of language, both oral and written in every subject, and every teacher should take every opportunity to see that lessons are a real exchange between pupil and teacher, followed up by written work which is not mere copying, but extends the child's mastery of vocabulary and structure. Many children will be, for various reasons, deficient in fluent use of language and all will need help to use language as a precise instrument to record different subjects."
In another similar school, a large comprehensive in a Midlands industrial centre, where more than 60 per cent of the pupils (not all born in England)

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were from Asian families, there was the same kind of concern to reach both a curriculum approach and a teaching approach which were appropriate to their particular needs. Most pupils applied themselves zealously to all their written tasks, and their teachers were finding ways of responding sympathetically and helpfully to them as they wrestled with meaning in a second language, not their mother tongue. The value of using personal language on their way to using impersonal language 'as a precise instrument to record different subjects' can be illustrated from the following extracts from a long piece of writing by an Asian girl in the fourth year of the school. She had been born in India, and spoke an Indian language at home, her first and most natural medium for fluent expression, and was still acquiring her control of the conventions of English in the restricted exchanges of the classroom and playground. The girl's teachers, who had annotated this text in several places to point the more important lapses in her English, described it rightly enough as 'an example of a felt experience, of control over that experience, of perhaps some enjoyment in writing about it'.

"The Fear of Death

I live with my brother and sister-in-law. My parents lived in India and my 2 sisters were married so I was the only child. I was quite young then only 13. My sister-in-law was pregnant. We couldn't wait for the baby to be born as it was 13 years since there was a baby in our family. We had loved children. We prepared everything beforehand and looked forward to seeing the child grow up. I was very excited as I was very lonely. I had no-one to keep my company. I looked forward to having a nephew or niece. A boy was born and we named him Chetan.

[Chetan was ill with jaundice and she described how they learned that he had been born without a bile duct, and could not be expected to live more than a few months.]
This was a shock to us. It was as if thunder had struck me. I wouldn't believe it when I was told because he looked quite a healthy baby. I just couldn't believe it. I thought it couldn't be true. He had 20 stitches right across his stomach. I felt terrible when I saw. To think a 3 month old baby had to bear all the pain of 20 stitches. He cried all the time. I just couldn't bear to see him suffer all the pain but what could we do? Just wait for the day. The fear of waiting for the day was dreadful, and painful. Day after day as he grew older the fear inside me grew bigger and bigger. The more and more I loved him. The more I thought about it the more painful it was. I used to have dreams at night, terrible dreams they were, wishing a miracle would happen to save him. I hated going school because I thought there would be a day when he will not be there. As the days passed I used to say to myself will he be here tomorrow? I prayed for a miracle to happen but I knew it wouldn't. I thought to myself why did god have to take him away, he was only a baby he could do no wrong. Why wouldn't god punish me instead of him? I believed in life after death so I wondered where he would go after his death. I wished the doctor was wrong. I wished it wasn't true and so I kept hoping and praying it wouldn't be true. The fear grew inside me. I cried myself to sleep.
[She described the child's eventual return to hospital with only a few days to lire, and then the day on which Chetan died.]
My fear had gone. I knew this was to happen and no-one could prevent it. This was the end of the fear it seemed a relief but I was still shocked.

The days following his death were like living in solitude. There was just nothing

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to do. I just cried myself to sleep, there was really no-one I could tell. I felt there was no-one in the house no-one to talk to. I knew I would soon be the same as this was what human being were like. It had to be like that, human did forget but even so it is still in the mind."
Talking and listening

Spoken language in the classroom

4.1 Although considerable research over the last 20 years into the ways in which language is acquired and extended has emphasised the part that talking can play in learning, the evidence of the survey indicated that this is still not widely known among teachers. Pupils usually spent more time in reading and writing than they did in talking and listening; and in the oral exchanges between class and teacher very much more time listening than talking. Most of the talking by pupils was in response to questions. A typical lesson pattern consisted of a brief oral introduction and exposition by the teacher, followed by a few minutes of silent reading or a piece of writing with further pieces of exposition or questions requiring pupils to recall factual information. Often the second part of a lesson contained more continuous stretches of talking by the teacher than the first part.

4.2 Nonetheless there was considerable diversity of practice within and among schools. Where schools, departments or teachers had recognised that talk was a means by which pupils could take an active part in learning, oral work was varied and more evenly shared between teacher and pupils. In such schools teachers did more than provide information and check to see whether the pupils had understood it: they encouraged pupils to initiate discussion, to speculate and to offer differing views. Where these approaches were working well, and teachers and pupils had the appropriate skills and attitudes, they produced some valuably rigorous thinking.

4.3 Where talk was seen primarily as a means of communicating information, opportunities for exploratory discussion were infrequent. Pupils and teachers were concerned to recall, clarify and add to previous learning, and attention was often directed to making a written record in summary form. This style of working was often successful in achieving what it set out to achieve, and it was what pupils had learned to expect. In some schools talk had a place, but was considered to be of value primarily for social reasons, and as a respite from more arduous learning activities. Some teachers, indeed, expressed the anxiety that even purposeful talk could quickly lapse into idle chat. Pupils could share these views: at the end of a science lesson which had been mainly occupied with a sustained discussion of an experiment, the girls complained to their teacher that they had not done any 'work' in the lesson, by which they appeared to mean that they had not done any writing.

4.4 Mutual consideration and courtesy were in evidence in the most successful oral work. There was no evidence of appreciable differences in this respect in the responses of boys and of girls. One of many interesting examples of successful discussion took place during work on a CSE Mode 3 English syllabus in an urban comprehensive school. Nearly all of the pupils contribu-

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ted detailed accounts of street play experiences, the teacher sustaining interest by unobtrusively leading them to focus on detail. It was this detailed recall which gave life to the descriptions and held the interest of the whole group for more than thirty minutes. The value of the teacher's restraint, coupled with his unforced interest in the individuals and what they had to say, was confirmed towards the end when one boy (by no means the most articulate) asked the teacher for his contribution. It was willingly given, and conveyed the same pleasure in personal recollection.

4.5 In those subjects which are conveyed wholly or mainly through language, there was a strong tendency towards extended exposition and the substantial making of notes. History, geography and religious education provided many examples, but so did other subjects, crafts and sciences included, when there was no practical work taking place. Teachers justified these ways of working on the grounds that they felt constrained to impart as much information as they could in the limited time available. At its best, their exposition was founded on sound knowledge of the subject and was lively, clear and succinct. It was evident that the pupils were interested. Those teachers who were less expert or enthusiastic did not call forth the same response, but might still be effective as teachers. There were many examples of lengthy monologues without pause for questions, often accompanied by dutiful note-making by pupils; competent though they were, those teachers who gave them might not realise that there would be several other such monologues for pupils to listen to in anyone day. Pupils who spend so much of their time listening may need more opportunities than they are given to confirm their understanding and to relate it to other experience.

4.6 There were many instances of lively dialogue in English literature lessons, and skilled teachers directed detailed discussion on novels and poems by means of questions that led to continuing thought and reflection. The programme of English usually included some attention to the qualities of language itself, focussing upon syntax and vocabulary in particular. But more time was spent on written work arising from language exercises than in talk. In the quarter of the schools in which drama lessons were observed, the emphasis was mainly on the production of plays and the study of play texts. In these schools activities such as reading round the class resulted in singularly undramatic experience. There were very few examples of attempts to encourage pupils to use their voices flexibly. Occasionally opportunities were taken to make the most of a text by lively intonation and variations in pitch and pace; often, however, vocal demands in the text went unrecognised by the pupil and were not explored by the teacher. By contrast, some reading and drama at morning assemblies was often of a high quality in its language and vocal presentation, though these occasions directly involved only a small minority of pupils. When improvisation sometimes supported the reading of texts in class, the quality of pupils' response was usually enhanced. There were also some lessons in which improvisation in groups encouraged sensitivity to language in a variety of social situations, and the development of self-confidence. But drama generally featured in the programme of only a minority of pupils, and was not often included for the abler pupils.

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4.7 In practical subjects such as home economics, craft, design and technology and the sciences, the activities taking place stimulated pupils to talk and their reactions indicated the quality of their understanding and the success of the communication. While the pupils were occupied in practical activities, the teacher was able to move among them and give additional explanations to individuals and groups. In the best science teaching, intellectual and linguistic precision was especially sharp, and at its best, teaching in home economics, design and art could provide valuable linguistic as well as aesthetic stimulus.

4.8 All subjects had their specific uses of language and pupils were required to learn much new information in new language. Teachers were sensitive to pupils' problems in encountering new language but there were inevitably occasions when very difficult intellectual and linguistic demands were being made. Apart from simple repetition, however, there were few ways in which pupils were being assisted to confirm their understanding of unfamiliar words and of language usages peculiar to individual subjects. In about one in five schools, of all kinds and in different parts of the country, the quality of the spoken word was commendable in a range of subjects - including clear instruction at a suitable pace, genuinely open discussion and speculative exchanges. It was therefore a small minority of pupils who could confidently expect this quality in most subjects as a matter of normal practice.

Provision and response: ability groupings

4.9 There were noticeable differences in the oral work of the more able, the average and the less able pupils. Opportunities for the more able to participate in talk were often limited. Well motivated, conscious of their position in the top sets and O-level groups, able, when given the chance, to express themselves with a subtlety in language that was frequently unexploited, these pupils often showed stamina as listeners but diffidence as speakers. They appeared to be more concerned to write down notes than to spend time in talking.

4.10 The average and just below average pupils were often receiving the least satisfactory language opportunities, particularly for talking, in the fourth and fifth years of the schools visited. The average pupils often included those whose attainment made them less confident of their prospects in public examinations, and who were therefore often subjected to more sustained and intensive instruction. Those pupils who were below average in attainment but were not receiving remedial help often fared particularly badly. They were frequently working on linguistic material for which they needed more assistance than they received, and were often in subject option groups which contained such a wide spread of ability that it was difficult for teachers to give them sufficient individual help.

4.11 Among pupils thought of as less able in their schools were a number who showed a lively readiness to talk, usually in response to a lead given by their teachers. Many talked easily with their peers outside the classroom but could be impatient when listening to each other inside it. They were capable of sustaining energetic discussion, especially when they sought to discover something of importance to them, or when they felt strongly about an issue, such

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as some form of injustice. Similarly work focused on aspects of life in society that the pupils were shortly to experience, and hence felt to be relevant, usually led to discussion. There was, in fact, more discussion in class with some of the less able than with the ablest, but it was sometimes limited, lacking sufficient intellectual stimulus and not sufficiently exercising their ability to think.


4.12 It was through skilful questioning that teachers succeeded in generating thoughtful responses from their classes. Having asked introductory questions, they varied their strategy, and some very productive discussion took place when pupils themselves felt free to initiate questions and to make additional comment, the teacher acting as participant listener for some of the time. For talk to be productive it was necessary for the pupils to have sufficient knowledge on which to draw, for the topic to be significant to them, and for the questions to be formulated in such a way as to require them to make judgements based on their knowledge. Questions which contributed to this process usually began with 'How?' or 'Why?' and called for some reworking of information. Another quality noticeable in successful discussion was the teacher's readiness to show interest in the processes of thought that might lead to the pupils' arriving at a partly or wholly untenable conclusion. Genuine discussion often took place when the evidence under review could be interpreted in more than one way. Issues to do with human behaviour, such as those found in history, geography, religious education, social studies and literature, were particularly apposite.

4.13 The majority of all questions in schools were designed to test pupils' recall of facts. Clearly this is an important purpose. Frequently, however, the intonation patterns used in asking questions gave strong clues to the answers required, and pupils, especially the intelligent, were often skilled in recognising such signals. Their ability to furnish a correct answer did not, therefore, necessarily indicate that they were drawing on their knowledge of the subject. There was also a tendency for those pupils to be asked to reply who were most likely to produce a quick and correct answer. The practice of teachers' rephrasing an answer given by a pupil was often valuable in providing an alternative form of words. It was educationally less valuable, however, if teachers completed an answer begun by pupils, since one value of talking is the opportunity it allows for the learner to formulate his understanding in his own words. Still more important, the teacher cannot be sure whether full learning has taken place if he has, even in part, answered his own question. These practices are common, brought about by a proper concern to maintain pace. Pace, however, does not necessarily guarantee learning. In contrast, where teachers were able to rephrase their own questions to help pupils, and were ready to tolerate, and even to insist on, thoughtful silence while a considered reply was being formulated, learning was better secured.

4.14 A number of factors affected pupils' responses to questions. The closed question, requiring a single, correct answer, tended to inhibit responses, as did the most open one of all, "Any questions?". Some pupils acknowledged privately that they avoided joining the discussion or answering questions

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whenever possible, because they did not want to risk giving a wrong reply. In a lesson with sixteen 'Easter leavers' about the state of the economy and cuts in public expenditure, the teacher asked numerous questions, but he had to come closer and closer to the details of the daily experience of his pupils before he could draw them into the discussion. In this process, the intended topic gave way to others, such as the male and female roles in the home and how television depicts them, and re-emerged later in the lesson. Here was one of many examples of a skilled teacher continuing to provide good opportunities for talking and even overcoming an initially reluctant response from pupils. At the other extreme from reluctance was the geography lesson in which a teacher noticed a boy with his hand raised after a question had been answered, so she asked why. "To answer your next question, Miss", came the cheerful reply.

Pupils' and teachers' attitudes

4.15 Given the opportunity, pupils could show an ability to make a shrewd evaluation of their work. A class of less able fifth year pupils in an urban comprehensive school were invited to comment upon a CSE course which had included visits to a national park, ice-rinks, a shopping centre, factories, a law court and an intermediate treatment centre. They had made films, written to people outside the school, talked to many more, and kept files. Their comments were serious and appreciative, even though some had not liked the kinds of factory in which they might shortly be working. One pupil observed that it had been a course that made coming to school worthwhile, and went on: "It's interesting - an eye-opener - out of the ordinary - you meet people." In another school, talking of his problems with reading, a fifteen-year old boy remarked: "I read so slowly that I can't remember more than 10 or 15 lines ago." In another comprehensive school, the following comments of a group of fifth year girls were revealing:

"Some people have trouble talking about things and communicating with other people, and this way you can't make friends and people think you are ignorant."

"I have got problems with talking to other people."

"I don't like going into shops."

"If the people are posh, you don't know whether to put on an act or talk your normal self."

These views, bravely if haltingly expressed, showed the ability of pupils to take stock of their performance in speaking in real life contexts.

4.16 One girl said, "We don't need lessons in talking. We can talk already, can't we?". But another girl, in a different school, said, "When you talk about it you think better. It helps you to understand." A similar division of view was discernible among teachers. "Don't talk, we're here to work", said one teacher. In the particular situation it was relevant, but as a generalisation it diminished the value of speech. Another teacher remarked, "They can't manage discussion. They need to get their heads down", and if the first part was an accurate statement of the problem, the second was unlikely to provide a solution for it. In contrast, there were many teachers who, explicitly or instinctively, subscribed to the view that listening to their pupils talking was the principal means of knowing them and assessing their educational needs.

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Some general observations

4.17 On the whole, there was a gap between the language of the teacher and that of the pupil, and this is not a new phenomenon. Most of the language of classroom talk and of textbooks was in standard English, and it was a part of the concern of teachers to help pupils to acquire this form of English through talking as well as through the related activities of reading and writing. The best teachers were sensitive to differences in language and led their pupils discreetly and by a variety of means towards a wider range of language use and a surer command of language itself. Very occasionally, a teacher adopted features of the language of pupils, and superficially this enhanced social relations. But there was ample evidence of pupils making it quite clear that they recognised this as a device, and that the cost in terms of setting a positive language example was high. Perhaps the most encouraging example to any teacher who was anxious to maintain linguistic standards came from a young teacher who intimated that her colleagues regarded her way of talking as 'posh'. Yet she conducted one of the most successful discussion lessons seen in that school, with a group of pupils generally regarded as difficult and uncooperative. She did so without abandoning her normal manner of speech, and the class was not in any way alienated.

4.18 Talk often appeared to be seen as containing some elements of risk. One of these was that progress in the subject along prearranged lines might be impeded. A class of pupils presenting a range of views on an issue would usually take longer to arrive at a given conclusion than if the teacher had offered it and set out the arguments for it. There were certainly times when it was appropriate to instruct, and other times when a process of cooperative thinking made class discussion a proper alternative. Another anxiety was in the area of class control, and teachers who were insecure in their relationships with classes were less likely to adopt discussion methods. This was a very real problem for some teachers; yet the practice of occupying classes in alternative activities, usually in writing, for as much time as possible, was only deferring a proper solution.

4.19 In some schools, despite varied and well thought-out opportunities for talk, there were instances in which pupils' response seemed unexpectedly poor. They would sometimes maintain a stolid silence when asked to venture an opinion; and even when an individual was persuaded to contribute, the result was often a brief and mumbled response. One possible reason for this is that their experience of talk elsewhere in the school had not given them any cause to expect an encouraging response to what they had to say. A second possibility is that there may be certain conditions which make speech less significant in the personal lives of pupils than it usually is, and in some cases their reticence appeared to be related to attitudes which could be found in the local community. Whatever the causes, such reluctance to participate presented teachers with difficulties.

4.20 The best talking and listening lessons were exhilarating occasions, in which teachers engaged with classes in exploring relevant aspects of the work, conveyed information lucidly and economically and responded to questions and comments. Certain factors were discernible in these lessons. Chief

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among them was the quality of trust in the relationship between the teacher and the class. A teacher's enthusiasm for his subject and concern that pupils should share it were also important. Decisiveness and flexibility were further common features, in the sense that, although there had been careful preparation, the sequence and pace could be adjusted to take account of the pupils' responses. Lessons in which the talk of pupils was directed towards learning occurred most frequently in schools where the general style of teaching took account of them as individuals and built on their experience inside and outside the classroom. Lively banter along corridors and, perhaps even more significant, the ease of silence between teachers and pupils, as well as - if too rarely - the personal talk in tutor periods at the start of the day all contributed to the intellectual, social and affective significance of talking as a means of learning.

The summary assessments

5.1 The preceding sections describe in detail the work observed in the schools. They indicate the quality of language experience, illustrating typical and less typical practices encountered.

5.2 At the end of each survey visit, the team gathered together the evidence of the week for its written report and came to a series of agreed assessments based on that evidence. These covered the three language modes, reading, writing, talking and listening, and an overall assessment, each subdivided into the quality of provision for and response by the three categories of pupils' ability in that school. The grading ranged from 'creditable', or better, through 'acceptable without serious reservations', 'acceptable but with some important reservations' to 'unsatisfactory'.

5.3 The overall assessments, combining those for talk and listening, reading and writing, showed that about 40 per cent of the schools were judged to be providing well for their more able and average pupils, and that just over half of these schools (20 per cent of the whole sample) also provided well for their less able pupils. In over 60 per cent of schools the more able pupils were considered to be making a good or very good response; the corresponding figures for average and less able pupils were just under 50 per cent and almost 30 per cent respectively. These percentages are probably well below those that would have been given for satisfactory performance by schools and pupils, judged solely on examination results, for example, in English. They have been based on criteria related to the effectiveness with which language was being used to achieve learning in lessons and subjects of all kinds. It is also true that consistently good assessments for provision or response in all the modes of language were not common, although schools might be stronger in some respects than in others.

5.4 In all the detailed assessments, with one exception, 'response' was graded significantly more highly than 'provision'. The single exception was for the average pupils in reading, where the difference was not significant. To some extent, of course, it is the provision by the school which makes possible the response by its pupils. But in about half of the schools in which the provision for more able pupils was considered to be 'unsatisfactory' and in about a

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quarter of the schools in which it was 'unsatisfactory' for others, the pupils were making an 'acceptable' response. That is, the observed performance of the pupils in the tasks set suggested they were capable of more than they were generally asked or given opportunity to do.

5.5 As might be expected, it was the more able pupils, in schools of every type and ability range, who took most advantage of their opportunities. There were no important reservations about their oral work in some 58 per cent of schools and the same was true of their reading in 53 per cent and of their writing in 68 per cent of schools. It was more likely to be these pupils who followed up suggestions for reading round a subject, or who showed a sense of relevance in discussion. They were more likely to write for their own satisfaction as well as to carry out set written assignments conscientiously.

5.6 It was the more able and average pupils for whom writing occupied a great deal of time, both in school and home work. As earlier sections have shown, however, it was the quantity required and the diligence displayed that swelled the number of schools in the 'acceptable' categories to 67 per cent of the total, and it was the lack of variety in the work set, and of constructive response in the marking of it, that restricted the number considered as 'creditable' to 15 per cent.

5.7 In contrast, the less able pupils were given better opportunities for oral work than for writing. This fact was reflected in significantly better assessments in talk and listening (30 per cent without serious reservation for provision and 39 per cent for response) than in reading (21 per cent and 27 per cent) or writing (22 per cent and 31 per cent). These figures still leave cause for disquiet in respect of the great majority of the less able pupils, and the assessments suggest that in general schools are providing least well for those of their pupils who have more serious problems in language.

5.8 It is clear from the assessments that reading needs attention at all levels. The abler pupils are more likely to find motivation to read beyond what is prescribed, and their response was good in 53 per cent of the schools. But reading is subject to increasing neglect as the ability level of pupils decreases. In four out of five of the schools visited, there were serious criticisms of the ways in which schools provided for the development of reading skills by the less able pupils, and in two-fifths of all schools, the response of these pupils was regarded as 'unsatisfactory'. Most schools are not promoting reading as fully and effectively as is needed for any part of their ability range. For the able and average pupils, it is among other things the pressure to write that helps to squeeze out reading; for the average and less able, there is not sufficient motive to keep alive the satisfactions and pleasures of reading if the school does not play its part.

5.9 A closer look at the reports and assessments of individual schools reveals the differences that the generalised statements tend to obscure. For example, a rural comprehensive school in an unfavoured area earned as much credit for its pupils' articulate language as did a grammar school

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whose pupils were well motivated and whose teachers were sympathetic and skilled in exposition in their subject. Schools facing apparently similar tasks achieved varying degrees of success. Thus, about 10 per cent of all the schools were in areas of considerable social deprivation, and in half of these it had to be said that limited provision had met with limited response, especially by the weaker pupils. On the other hand, there were comprehensive and modern schools in unpromising settings which, having established their standards, did their work traditionally and well, and communicated the values of effort. There were some grammar schools which cast their pupils in the role of passive receivers and adopted narrow coaching methods, and others where the opportunities given matched the abilities of a selective, intelligent intake. Although a comparison between the assessments for language in different types of school tended (though less markedly than in science and mathematics) to place the types in a rank order of grammar, comprehensive and modern, it would be unsafe to generalise from this, since schools in anyone category could exhibit more differences than similarities.

Language and learning policies in the schools

6.1 The survey confirms that the policies for language across the curriculum in secondary schools recommended by the Bullock Report are difficult to achieve, for a variety of reasons: it may be, indeed, that the phrase itself has not been widely enough understood or that it is not forceful enough to convey the notion of the overall responsibility of all teachers for the development of language essential to learning.

6.2 In a great majority of schools throughout the three years of the survey, no moves of any significance towards language policies have taken place. Sometimes there was no-one in a senior position who had been convinced of the importance of language or no appropriate forum for the necessary professional discussion had been created. Even when preliminary discussions had taken place, they had sometimes foundered because people had been talking at cross-purposes. It was assumed by many teachers, for example. that the only features of language which are important are those to do with 'correctness', and that they are the responsibility of the English department.

6.3 There was not very much evidence of increased interest in language and learning over the three years of the survey. By the last term (Spring, 1978), some schools were developing or maintaining an interest, but many had scarcely considered the subject. About twenty schools had appointed language consultants, but these appointments were not always at levels of adequate status and influence. Most of the consultants had realised that their role demanded of them not only an understanding of recent thinking about language, but also the tact and diplomacy to communicate this understanding to their colleagues.

6.4 One consultant, a classics specialist in a small comprehensive school, began by telling the staff her first thoughts and awaited their questions. These ranged widely across school subjects and language topics. At a meeting

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of the curriculum development committee of heads of departments and the headmaster, she offered to examine reading materials in use in the classroom. She expressed particular interest in teacher-produced worksheets, and offered the use of tape-recorders to any of her colleagues who were inclined to record a lesson. In the first term, she asked to be allowed to join departmental meetings, and, as a result, attended those of the modern language, religious education, science, physical education and classics departments.

6.5 Before taking part in discussions on the use of language in other departments, the consultant had to learn about their approaches and methods of working. The meetings concentrated on such topics as the spoken and written language of pupils in relation to the expectations of the teacher, to methods of work and to notions of acceptability, and the consequences of choice in organisation and methods of learning. Particular topics which were reviewed included the dictation of notes, pupils' oral participation, ways of increasing opportunities for peer-group discussion and the methods adopted by teachers for assessing the effectiveness of teaching and learning.

6.6 Schools benefited most of all from the initiative and subsequent interest and support of the head and deputies in any inquiry into school practices and any formulation of school policies. One starting point was a series of questions sent out by an English department, with the support of the head, as the beginning of an investigation which had been going on for some time before the visit. The following are shortened versions of some of the questions:

Please indicate how knowledge is acquired and recorded in your subject, and which methods you consider most productive.
What problems do you encounter in pupil's handling of skills?

Writing skills
Which kinds of writing do you require of pupils at each stage?
In which kinds do pupils encounter problems? What sorts of difficulty do you most encounter in their written work?
How much writing are pupils in each year group expected to produce in an average week, (i) in class, and (ii) for homework?

Oral skills
What kinds of talk do pupils engage in at each stage of the course in your subject?
Which kinds do you find most productive?
What difficulties do pupils have with oral skills? In which activities are they to be discerned?

Specialist skills
Are there any specialist skills which your department demands of pupils? Do you teach these skills? At what stage? Or do you expect pupils to have acquired them either prior to entering the school or during their studies in other subjects?

Language skills
Please indicate the language skills which you expect pupils to have acquired at each stage, and particularly those which they appear not to have mastered (suggesting reasons if you wish).

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Marking of work
Please indicate the extent to which you mark pupils' work - oral and written - on grounds of linguistic skills rather than knowledge of your subject. Please explain what you correct (eg pronunciation, spelling, punctuation, neatness, grammar) and how you correct it. Do you ever ask pupils to rewrite work? Does your grading of written work take into account such qualities as style, vocabulary, spelling, neatness, etc?
6.7 This thoughtful approach was seen by the rest of the staff as neither a threat nor an intrusion, and it led to a variety of replies which the head of English summarised. The curriculum committee then discussed the progress made thus far, but a too exclusive concern with technical faults in pupils' writing on the part of some teachers caused the venture to lose some momentum. The head of English was ready and willing to take a fresh initiative, but was anxious not to appear presumptuous. This example illustrates that attitudes to language may be deep-rooted and that there is a consequent need for tact in asking a school's entire staff to examine the assumptions underlying their attitudes. It may, indeed, be preferable to start with a small group including heads of major departments and others with a shared commitment.

6.8 There were a few examples of initiatives and practices by other departments. Science departments in some schools had applied a considerable linguistic understanding to their work; one, in a large comprehensive school with a variety of ethnic groups, had circulated a useful paper on language in science. Under 'vocabulary', it made and illustrated the distinction between common words with new, more specific meanings and new words relating to scientific concepts. There followed lists of words under the headings 'apparatus', 'quantities', 'descriptive' (shape, properties, location, frequency) and 'materials'. Under 'structure', twelve linguistic forms were listed and exemplified, including the distinction between countables and uncountables (few, a little, many, much, a lot of), the use of words to express logical, sequential, complex or abstract ideas, the use of the present perfect to express the results of an experiment just ended (the liquid has evaporated) and the use of modal auxiliaries such as can, may, might, could, will and must. The value of the paper seemed to be twofold - it could provide a basis for a developing departmental awareness of language, and each individual teacher would be able to add to it further items which assumed importance in his own work. In a second school, a group of teachers of history and geography had collected for analysis some linguistic items which pupils tended to use without necessarily having fully understood them, for example, 'the interest of Land and Church', 'the mineral resources of the hinterland'. In a craft, design and technology course in another comprehensive school a wholly satisfying balance of reading, writing and talk supported the practical work, and the reading demands were being purposefully increased and differentiated as a result of experience. These were encouraging examples of understanding and good practice in isolated pockets of the curriculum in individual schools, which showed that some departments had not waited for a whole school 'policy' to be formulated.

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6.9 Progress had been made difficult, however, in a number of schools. In one, recently reorganised from a selective school, an influential group of senior members of staff resisted the English department's efforts to focus attention on language, and particularly rejected attempts to encourage pupils' talk as a means of learning. In another, a comprehensive school with a limited ability range, the only conclusion which the majority of the staff could reach was the unhelpful one that 'all teachers should correct all spelling errors always'. 'Policy' documents were to be found in less than a quarter of the schools, many revealing a concern for the problems of pupils' language rather than for the qualities of the schools' teaching and learning practices, as this extract shows:

"We believe that there should be one language policy for the school. The implications of this statement are, first, that there will be a single approach to the linguistic problems of pupils of all abilities ... the basic aim will be to extend the ability of pupils of all ages and abilities to speak, write and comprehend English."
In others, there could be detected a variety of views of language in the same document, so that a narrow emphasis on spelling and presentation of written work as ends in themselves or on 'remedial' needs in isolation could be followed in the next section by such a perceptive statement as "every subject in the curriculum both uses and creates language skills". It was clear from discussions with many teachers that one of the main obstacles is that people do not always speak the same language about language.

6.10 Next to a sensitivity to other people's understanding of language, the most important contribution to success was the choice of appropriate tactics. It was generally true that a document worded as a manifesto did not notably increase understanding. Attention to specific parts of the process of learning was more likely to be constructive. Ways of relating reading, writing, talk and listening, problems of introducing pupils to the necessary technical vocabulary of a subject, readability factors in texts, and the extent to which different subjects were suited to learning in small groups are all important considerations. Where it was possible for teachers of different subjects to discuss these topics objectively, there was less resistance to their implications for the classroom and more prospect of cooperation in departments. Above all, there was considerable interest in those schools where teachers had undertaken to find out as a start what was actually happening in the form of language in the school. There were a number of examples of questionnaires to pupils and to staff. In some schools, there had been attempts to get a pupil's eye view of learning, either by experiencing a day as a pupil experiences it, or by asking pupils to describe their own learning. Such ventures had given useful information about the actual proportions of writing and listening against talking and reading over a short time. In a comprehensive school the writing output of six pupils of the same age but from different sets and abilities had been aggregated. Their individual totals ranged, interestingly, from 58,695 down to 14,420 words in the examination years. There were over 200,000 words of writing, of which nearly half was copied or dictated; over 30 per cent was described as 'creative' and 20 per cent was 'interpretation' of fact. The staff had given appropriate critical attention to the figures and categories. In the same school, there were other proposed pieces of investiga-

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tion for the school's language and learning working group to consider, and an increasing number of the staff were seeing important implications for their own work in what was being discovered.

6.11 The chief purposes of staff working parties, questionnaires and the like about the function of language in learning were to arrive at a form of consensus in a staff's thinking and consistency in practice. It was possible to achieve these goals without such formal procedures. In the few schools which had done so - and they had no common features of size, type or ability range - the underlying convictions were expressed by excellent relationships and an open style of government, with as much participation as possible by pupils in the ordering of their learning and the affairs of the community. Many of their teachers operated with outstanding clarity, articulacy and style. They treated pupils courteously but expected sustained efforts from them, and pupils spoke confidently, energetically and often enough with wit and tact in and out of the classroom. The majority of teachers (again, in these few schools) were enthusiastic about reading, wove reading into the fabric of their lessons and, themselves, habitually used the school library. They encouraged pupils to find their own ways of recording experience and reflecting on it, and took a real interest in their pupils' writing. Above all, these appeared as intrinsic qualities of the school's life rather than arrangements formally imposed upon it. They derived from a sense of professional security and attention to the learning needs of pupils, in contrast to the situation in some other schools, where a precipitate attempt to write the 'policy' called for by the Bullock recommendations had resulted only in undermining the professional confidence of the staff in their abilities and had caused a good deal of antagonism to the whole project.

6.12 During the period covered by the survey, a good deal of activity organised by local education authority advisers took place on questions of language and learning. HM Inspectors' visits to schools in the survey did not necessarily coincide with the activity, but it was frequently a topic for discussion in the schools and had contributed to an increasing awareness of the issues. The requirement, for example, from some local education authorities that schools should submit statements about their language policies occasioned a variety of responses; but it could never be true that meeting such a requirement could in itself supply the qualities that are needed in order to make progress. It was, disappointingly, often true that some energetic LEA initiatives, for which much credit is due, had not succeeded sufficiently in priming the pump in the schools themselves. For their part, the schools, for various reasons which have already been suggested, had not been able to sustain the activity. Good learning through language depends on more than the framing of a policy for it.


Functions of language in schools

7.1 Much of this Chapter has been concerned with the relationship between language and learning. The relationship between the two has been acknowledged for a long time, but hardly explored until recent years. It would have been unrealistic to expect that much of the recent thinking and research in the

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subject would have been widely disseminated in the schools, given the time scale of educational change. In discussions with teachers and with heads, it was clear that at the centre of many difficulties and differences of view there lies a confusion between two functions of language - the first as a communication of what has been learned and the second as a part of the activity of learning itself. Concentration on the first of these at the expense of the second, which is often more important, may obscure the stages of misunderstanding, approximation and correction through which the learner often needs to pass and also may reduce the pupils' engagement with learning. For those who find the art of abstraction difficult (and even for some who do not), the use of language to explore an experience often reveals what can be discovered in no other way.

7.2 A change of emphasis from language as evidence of learning achieved to language used in the process of learning is needed. This is a matter of creating opportunities for pupils to find and use whatever language they need for their learning. Practical subjects, in which the centre of attention is less likely to be language than some other activity of which language is a by-product, frequently offer good examples. In those subjects which are largely word-centred, it is more difficult to find such immediate sources of experience.

7.3 Language is also one expression of personal relationships, and all the main sections of this chapter have indicated the particular importance of developing good relationships between teacher and pupils, and among pupils themselves. It is no less clear, though, that care and concern need to be supported by knowledge of language and skills in its use in teaching - in exposition, for example, in framing questions, and in the setting and reception of written work.

Talking and listening

7.4 At present, talking and listening by pupils are, in their different ways, not fully enough exploited. Pupils spend a good deal of their time as listeners. In doing so, they must acquire a range of listening skills, including the ability to interpret intonation signals. They need more experience as participants in genuine discussion, in which they attend to the contributions of others, learn to discriminate between the relevant and the irrelevant and to expand, qualify and range in and around a subject.


7.5 It is a widespread error to suppose that a range of subtle reading skills will be acquired through chance encounters or through the kind of practice usually encountered as 'comprehension' exercises. It is clear that a pupil's school day may include a minimum of reading, and that the experiences of the week, the month and the term may not result in developing skills according to any plan. It is important that the development of pupils' reading, at levels appropriate to their abilities, should take place through all subjects in the curriculum.

7.6 The library has a special part to play. A sufficient and appropriate book stock, adequate staffing and facilities are important, but they need to be supported by the active interest of subject departments. The evidence of the

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survey suggested that not enough teachers were concerned with or about the library, about maintaining subject sections, using them to support schemes of work, and guiding pupils with specialist reading. There is a need for teachers to be much more fully and professionally involved with this seriously underused capital resource.


7.7 Most of the more able and average 14 to 16 year olds write a good deal. They devote considerable time, care and pride to their writing. But the sheer bulk and narrow range of much of it are not necessarily a guarantee of real learning.

7.8 The largely unchallenged pre-eminence of writing causes it, often, to become the assumed outcome of many activities. If it becomes, in this way, a routine, the values of annotated assessment, revision and re-shaping may go by default. When the nature of the task is not defined, such comments as are offered in response might be misplaced, irrelevant or insensitive. 'Marking' has connotations of 'correction', of drawing attention to mistakes; it may be useful to shift the emphasis to more constructive purposes which have regard for context, relationship and specific intention in the writing. This is not to deny the importance of accuracy, but rather to emphasise it as a means by which the intention of the writing is achieved. Moreover, most adults would acknowledge that there are written communications which are so important that they need more than one draft; yet in most writing done by pupils, a finished product is commonly expected at the first attempt. More opportunities for rough drafts on the way to a final version would not only lead to a better definition of writing tasks but would give opportunities for more constructive comments by teachers on details in the drafts and consequently more understanding by pupils of the importance of accuracy. A proper attention to pupils' writing by teachers requires a considerable expenditure of time. Time for this essential work will continue to be an important need.


7.9 Many pupils in the fourth and fifth years and their teachers feel themselves to be under pressure. The public examinations which most pupils take at the age of sixteen need not contribute to that pressure but in practice they very often did so. A proper concern on the part of many teachers to help their pupils through examination syllabuses - perhaps, also, some uncertainty in schools about the range of language choice permitted in examinations - tended to result in teaching and learning styles which were not sufficiently stimulating. The schools and the boards responsible for conducting examinations might consider jointly whether examination requirements could be framed so as to encourage more effective learning and use of language.

The least able pupils

7.10 Most comprehensive and modern schools made provision for their least able pupils, particularly those whose learning progress was blocked by inadequacies at a basic level. This frequently meant that in the early years they were withdrawn in small 'remedial' groups and given systematic help by sympathetic teachers. Such provision disappeared by the end of the third year in the majority of schools. Often there is a continuing need for support though not necessarily in the same form. Better liaison between remedial and specialist

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subject departments would help to close the gap, particularly if the remedial specialist could more often work alongside a subject teacher in classes.

A fourth category

7.11 Many reports identified a fourth category of pupils in comprehensive and modern schools, consisting of those between the 'average' and least able. These were not, or were not considered by the schools to be, so linguistically insecure as to justify any special support which might be given throughout years four and five. Yet they could be carrying a number of examination subjects and striving with little success to develop some genuine control of the language associated with them. It would seem to be important to look closely at the overall programme of pupils who are not really learning very much that they can express in language. It may be that they are especially at risk, since their needs are not well met by the provision in the last two years.

Average pupils

7.12 Schools expected a good deal of writing from their average pupils, and the pupils generally complied readily if, to some degree, mechanically. In many schools, the 'average' pupils included numbers who could not be confident of their performance in examinations, with the result that they often came to depend too much on processed information. There was an evident need for a greater differentiation of writing and reading than was commonly encountered during the survey. On the other hand, the earnest efforts which many 'average' pupils put into their work, and the evidence that skilled and sympathetic teaching can draw from 'average' pupils a much better than average response are indications of the strengths which are there to be exploited more fully.

More able pupils

7.13 There were a few schools, selective and non-selective, in which the ablest 15 and 16 year olds were found to be doing distinguished work. Their thinking was acute and perceptive, they had read widely and were able to recall what they had read, and their writing contained their own interpretations interwoven with those learned from others. Most schools, though they did not achieve such outstanding results, expected their more able pupils to display the virtues of solid, sustained effort, especially in written work. These pupils responded with a greater quantity and more careful, correct presentation than did the others. There is, however, a good deal of evidence from the survey to suggest that more able pupils need more opportunities and stimulus to pursue their own initiatives.

7.14 In all the considerations outlined above there are implications for developing further the understanding and skills of all teachers. Both intending teachers and teachers of all subjects already in schools should be encouraged and assisted to develop: understanding of the value of spoken language as a means of learning and its place in the balance of classroom activities; skills of incorporating a wide range of reading activities by pupils in and around their subjects, and stimulating reading developments; and discrimination in the assignment and reception of writing tasks, so that they are varied according to pupils' abilities.

7.15 The ideas of a 'policy for language across the curriculum' have led to valuable discussions in a few schools, but have been subject to a good deal of

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misunderstanding in others and have had little influence in the majority. The phrase, however, suggests one way of emphasising that schools need constantly to be keeping under review and discussion their teaching and learning practices, particularly in respect of the use of language.

7.16 At the beginning of this Chapter, questions were posed about the expectations that schools might have of the language of their pupils, and about the extent to which the pupils are being equipped to develop their use of language in all aspects of living. The answers to these questions are not simple. Some basis for them is to be found in the evidence, argument and illustration of this chapter. On that evidence it must be open to question whether sufficiently strong links are being made between the language encountered in school and that encountered beyond it; whether indeed the school is equipping its young people adequately to understand the ways in which people use language in the day-to-day business of living, and to use that understanding as a means of participating as fully as they need.

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7 Mathematics

Assessment of mathematics in the survey - mathematics in the curriculum - types of courses - some aspects of content - accommodation and material provision - teaching approaches and pupils' responses - organisational aspects of the mathematics department - links with other subjects - staffing - summing up.

The assessment of mathematics in the survey

1.1 Mathematics received particular attention in the survey. As with language and science the provision by the school and the response by the pupils were assessed separately, and assessments were made for three levels of ability. The three levels of ability were described as 'more able', 'average' and 'less able'; these terms referred to the spread of ability of the pupils in each particular school concerned, and not to the spread across the age group in the whole country. Assessment involved the detailed appraisal of all aspects of the mathematics teaching and of the response of the pupils, and the assessments were summarised by gradings A to F.

1.2 The assessments were related to all the relevant parts of the curriculum. This means that 'mathematics' was taken to include not only the lessons so described on the timetable, but also the mathematics occurring in science lessons, measurement and the ability to read drawings in the workshops, the appreciation of geometrical ideas in art and craft, the use of graphical and statistical ideas in geography and social studies - indeed mathematical ideas wherever they were to be found, explicit or implicit. However, most of the mathematics which was seen occurred within mathematics lessons, and consequently the assessments largely reflect what took place during these lessons.

1.3 Comparability of assessment was sought by discussion within the Inspectorate of the criteria to be employed and by the preparation of written guidelines. The guidelines covered, in a broad way, the range of ideas and types of experience to be expected in mathematics courses, but they did not list syllabus items in fine detail.

1.4 In making the assessment of the provision by the school and the quality of response by the pupils consideration was given to:

i. the pupils' oral communication with their peers and with the teachers, their ability to understand the printed page, and to write clearly for the benefit of others;

ii. evidence of understanding provided by appropriate practical performance;

iii. evidence of sustained work on any mathematical topics, including the ability to read from topic books or to conduct an extended investigation;

iv. evidence of productive work in groups;

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v. evidence of profitable links with other areas of the curriculum;

vi. whether the pupils were willing to work independently or whether they needed detailed instructions on method every time.

These matters were considered in relation to the following aspects of mathematics:
1 . Qualitative description, development of appropriate language - the recognition of objects from descriptions, sorting objects and describing them unambiguously (everyday things, geometrical shapes, mathematical ideas).

2. Recognition of relationships, reasoning and logical deduction (everyday things, geometrical shapes, number, arrangements in order etc).

3. Quantitative description, sensible use of numbers in counting, describing and estimating.

4. Estimation and use of measurements of length, weight, area, volume and time.

5. Understanding of money, sense of values, simple purchases.

6. Use of whole numbers, fractions and decimals applied to realistic problems or to number investigations. Facility with reasonable calculations involving addition, subtraction, multiplication and division in the decimal system, and with fractions.

7. Appreciation of broader aspects of number (change of order of numbers when adding and multiplying, bases other than 10, tests of divisibility, number sequences, number games and puzzles etc).

8. Use of various forms of visual presentation, three-dimensional and diagrammatic, statistical charts, tables of data, networks etc.

9. Use of models, maps, scale drawings etc.

10. Use of symbols of algebra, notations such as 'box', arrow diagrams, ad hoc symbols invented in the class. Purposeful algebraic manipulation.

11. Ability to use a variety of aids to calculation (ready reckoners, tables, electronic calculators etc).

12. Mensuration and geometrical properties of common two- and three-dimensional shapes from varied points of view (including trigonometry) - applications to design and pattern.

13. Ideas of probability, inference, collection and use of numerical data in making decisions.

14. The appreciation of mathematics as a self-contained logical system.

1.5 The assessments of the provision made by schools also involved consideration of such matters as staffing, accommodation and equipment. Information was collected on mathematics staffing (deployment, qualifications and training needs); the arrangement of mathematics rooms; the organisation of the teaching in the first five years; resources and material to assist the teaching; and relations with other subjects in the curriculum. Some of this information was collected for 381 schools only; the 3 schools omitted were small secondary modern schools which were visited only by smaller

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teams of inspectors. The information concerning the first three years is little used in this version of the survey report, but fuller details are given in a supplementary publication*, which contains further tables and statistical information. Lessons for these years were not usually visited, but the information was considered important, partly as background to the teaching in the fourth and fifth years but even more because it enabled comparisons to be made with an HMI survey of mathematics in schools, 11 to 18, made in 1973-4.†

1.6 As with language and science, a descriptive account was written of the mathematics in each school, attention again being given to both the provision by the school and the response of the pupils. This Chapter is therefore based on three types of recorded evidence - assessments of provision and response, questionnaire data, and descriptive writing.

Mathematics in the curriculum

2.1 Mathematics and English are the two school subjects which have a universally recognised place in the 'common core' for all pupils. Mathematics is a regularly timetabled subject for all pupils during the first three years of secondary education. The most common practice in the fourth and fifth years is to provide a subject option system allowing pupils to choose, or to be placed in, varied patterns of courses; but almost without exception mathematics continues to be compulsory. There is usually a choice of examination objectives although for individual pupils it is very often made on their behalf by the schools on the basis of their previous mathematical performance.

2.2 Although some pupils choose not to follow courses leading to O-level or CSE examinations, or are advised not to do so by their schools, more than 80 per cent of the pupils in the sample were following courses leading to these examinations in mathematics. In the schools visited in the survey a small number of pupils did not study mathematics in the fourth and fifth years. In the fourth year there were 78 of these, 14 boys and 64 girls. All of the boys and 21 of the girls were in one school, where the subject was optional in the fourth and fifth years. Of the remaining girls, 24 were in a second school. It was therefore extremely rare to find fourth year pupils who were not studying mathematics.

2.3 Of the 64,152 fifth year pupils in the sample, 349 (89 boys and 260 girls) were not studying mathematics. These figures give proportions of about 3 per thousand boys and 9 per thousand girls, which may be compared with the corresponding figures of 8 per thousand and 14 per thousand, respectively, found in the survey of 1973-4. These figures suggest that the number of fifth year pupils studying no mathematics, nationally, is certainly not rising, and may indeed be falling. Caution must be exercised however in inferring national trends from such small proportions of samples, even with samples of the overall size used in the survey.

2.4 More detailed analysis showed that of these 349 pupils, 23 (2 boys and 21 girls) dropped mathematics only after they had taken O-Ievel and passed it

*To be published.

†DES. Survey of mathematics in schools, 11-18 (1973-4). Results of a survey conducted by HM Inspectors.

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successfully. A further 78 pupils (48 boys and 30 girls) dropped mathematics after taking 'mock' O-level examinations, to concentrate on subjects in which their prospects of examination success were higher. This is not an uncommon practice in schools, although no detailed statistics of its incidence were collected. The practice was sometimes concealed as the pupils continued to have mathematics lessons in their timetable, but sat in these lessons studying other things. Usually little fresh subject matter is covered after the school's 'mock' examination, and so these pupils had usually covered all the material of the course. Therefore, the number of pupils who, properly speaking, did not receive a course in mathematics in their fifth year was only 248 (4 per thousand) across the whole sample. These figures do not bear out the view that substantial numbers of pupils fail to continue mathematics until the age of 16.

2.5 In a very small number of schools some of the non-examination pupils did only a small amount of mathematics during the week - perhaps as little as one period. Although these schools might profitably reconsider their provision, the statistics do not suggest that this is a problem of any great magnitude.

2.6 Although almost every pupil takes a mathematics course of some kind the content of the courses varies considerably. Some pupils, almost invariably those with relatively low attainments in mathematics, take courses in arithmetic, which may or may not lead to external examinations. Courses are also provided in statistics and computer studies, and these are most commonly taken in addition to normal mathematics courses and not as replacements for them. Details concerning the numbers of pupils taking arithmetic, computing and statistics courses in examinations were not collected in the survey, as national statistics are available.

2.7 Courses described as 'mathematics' differ considerably in character, and it is well known that this is currently a matter of much public confusion and debate. The GCE and CSE examination boards usually offer choices of syllabus, and so over the country it is certainly the case that 50 or more syllabuses are in operation. There certainly are variations in content between syllabuses and between the courses which schools provide, but all the courses contain a certain amount of computational arithmetic, and all courses entitled 'mathematics' (as distinct from 'arithmetic') contain common elements of algebra and simple geometry. Furthermore, remembering that over 80 per cent of the pupils are on courses leading to these examinations, and remembering that mathematics is a subject in which individuals display very wide variations in aptitude, some variations in content are to be desired.

2.8 As a result of developments in the sixties courses are often described as 'modern' and 'traditional', but these terms do not denote any clear-cut distinction, and certainly do not indicate two alternative bodies of knowledge. They can describe attitudes to both content and teaching style, but over the years the difference between the approaches called 'traditional' and 'modern' in the sixties has diminished and most schemes of work are

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a compromise between the two extremes. Furthermore, the numbers of schools in extreme positions are now diminishing*.

2.9 At the present time there is much concern amongst the public and the teaching profession about pupils' standards of achievement in mathematics. It is unlikely that any dramatic changes in syllabus content, or any attempt to ensure greater uniformity of syllabuses could by themselves eliminate the cause of the concern. Whatever the syllabus, and whatever the label under which it may be classified, it is ultimately the interpretation which the teacher gives to the subject matter and the teaching approach used which are crucial.

Types of courses

3.1 While there is almost unanimous agreement that mathematics should be studied by all pupils, mathematics is a subject for which people display greatly varying aptitudes. This means that schools need to arrange different courses of study for pupils of different ability. In a few cases it was deliberate policy to group pupils with a wide spread of mathematical ability in the same class, although the work which was provided for these pupils differed according to the objectives which they were pursuing.

3.2 In the survey the terms 'more able', 'average' and 'less able' were used to refer to the relative ability of the pupils within a particular school. This classification was therefore not the same as that defined by the categories GCE, CSE, non-examination, although in the fourth and fifth years it was the almost universal practice in the schools to teach mathematics in groups based on these objectives. This latter classification is not always clear cut because many schools do not decide whether to enter some of their pupils for GCE or CSE until late in the fifth year. Furthermore, some pupils are entered for both examinations in an attempt to increase their chances of a qualification at the level of a GCE Grade C (or above) or CSE Grade 1, but the extent of this practice was not determined.

3.3 The extent to which schools were providing 'traditional' and 'modern' mathematics courses is discussed in paragraphs 3.29 to 3.38.

Examination objectives

3.4 Table 7A records the percentages of boys and of girls in the fourth and fifth years in each type of school pursuing courses leading to various objectives, examination or otherwise. It will be seen that some 22 per cent of all pupils were committed to O-Ievel courses, that this percentage did not vary between the fourth year and the fifth year, and that there was no appreciable difference between boys and girls in this respect.

3.5 A further 13 per cent of pupils in their fourth year were taking courses which could lead either to GCE or to CSE. By the fifth year, however, nearly half of these pupils would seem to have determined their examination targets. The numbers choosing O-Ievel appeared to be balanced by others dropping out of the O-Ievel courses.

*More details are given in paragraphs 3.29 to 3.38.

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3.6 Some 52 per cent of all pupils in their fourth year followed courses leading to CSE and, although they were joined by others dropping out of O-level courses and some of the formerly 'undecided', their numbers did not rise appreciably in the fifth year. No doubt this was because others who had been aspiring to CSE decided to join a non-examination set instead. A slightly higher percentage of girls than of boys prepared for CSE examinations.

3.7 Information was collected on any courses in which mathematics was taught in combination with other subjects. Courses of this nature were proposed in connection with the raising of the school leaving age to 16, but very few indeed appear to be in operation, and certainly none which call for comment were found in the survey.

Table 7A Examination target of pupils in the fourth and fifth years (1): by type of school and sex

[click on the image for a larger version]

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GCE courses

3.8 Parental and public demands for examination success are always recognised by schools, and great importance is attached to them. The demand for qualifications in mathematics is especially strong. Schools usually respond to this by entering pupils for the GCE examinations if they think they have any chance of success, and the teaching is most often organised in a way which keeps open the possibility of entry for the examination as long as possible. There may be schools in the country catering for the full ability range which, as a matter of policy, do not provide GCE O-level mathematics courses, but provide CSE instead, but none were found at the time of the survey visit. Table 7A shows that 22 per cent of the pupils in the fifth year were being prepared for GCE, and that a decision (GCE or CSE) had still to be taken for a further 7 per cent. These proportions are very much what would be expected, in view of recorded practice in GCE examinations over the years.

3.9 For the great majority of the pupils who might be expected to gain Grades A, B or C in the GCE examination the syllabuses appear to be of appropriate difficulty, and they provide a suitable foundation for subsequent academic study. However, HMI had some misgivings about the manner in which the syllabuses were taught. Very frequently teachers considered that the need to cover examination syllabuses and the need for their pupils to cope with examination questions forced a restricted approach to the ideas embodied in the syllabus*.

3.10 In some schools it is the custom for a group of mathematically more able pupils to be entered for the O-level examination either at the end of the fourth year, or in November or January of the fifth year. Such a practice may help to maintain the pace of the fourth year work appropriate for these pupils, and allow them to progress to profitable further work, perhaps leading to an O-Ievel Additional Mathematics examination in the fifth year. In the schools seen where this practice has been adopted it was generally operating satisfactorily, but in some schools problems had arisen when the accelerated group contained a few pupils for whom the level of the course was too high. Occasionally the attempt to accelerate the pace of pupils who were not quite so able mathematically had led to the examination dominating the course and to pupils practising techniques without real understanding. Comprehensive schools often have a difficult decision to make when deciding whether or not to run Additional Mathematics courses in the fifth year. In smaller schools there may not be a sufficient number of abler pupils to justify doing so, and in larger schools, where it would be possible, conflicting considerations have to be weighed against one another. It is by no means customary for Additional Mathematics to be available in comprehensive schools as a fifth year option (nor is it necessarily available in grammar schools). National statistics show a small decline in the proportion of pupils taking GCE Additional Mathematics, in relation to the numbers taking the normal mathematics course, over the years 1972 (14.2 per cent) to 1976 (13.4 per cent). But these statistics make no distinction between those taking the subject in the fifth year and those who take it in the sixth year, when it is not infrequently taken as a subsidiary objective at the end of the first year

*This is discussed in paragraphs 6.1 to 6.31.

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of a two-year A-level course. A further investigation is needed to decide whether or not more schools should offer pupils the opportunity to study Additional Mathematics in the fifth year.

3.11 Pupils who would later be capable of pursuing A-level mathematics with confidence, and obtaining high grades, frequently need more mathematical substance in their fourth and fifth year courses than they are getting at present. Pupils who are able at mathematics, but who decide to study other subjects at A-level, should certainly be included in this group, as it is distressing that these pupils should face later life with no more knowledge of mathematics than is provided by the normal course.

3.12 Appropriate provision for these abler pupils (whether future students of A-level mathematics or not) could involve an extension of the ordinary syllabus, but the greater need relates to outlook, pace and variety of application. The pupils require a challenge to work in different ways; there should be more opportunity for extended investigations of topics which catch the imagination, and much more encouragement to undertake supplementary reading. These needs might be met sufficiently by voluntary activities outside lesson time, but such activities were found in less than 20 per cent of the schools, and where they took place their purpose was usually to provide extra tuition for examinations. This was more common in secondary modern schools and in restricted range comprehensives than in other types of school. LEAs could make more provision for able mathematicians of a kind which is common in the arts or in sport. Already many LEAs have provided opportunities for pupils to use computers, and although the overall effect of this provision is not large* the abler have often been the ones to benefit most.

CSE courses

3.13 CSE courses are intended for pupils in the middle range of mathematical ability. Slightly more than half of the fifth year pupils were on CSE courses. These courses are examined in three different modes, but no statistics were compiled of the frequency of the different modes during the survey because national statistics are already available. The majority of pupils on CSE courses are examined by Mode 1 (75 per cent nationally, in 1976); that is to say, the syllabuses are decided and the examinations are set by the examining boards. In Mode 1 courses it is possible for a proportion of the examination marks to be based on the assessment of course work by the school, but this practice is limited.

3.14 Mode 1 syllabuses vary in character, and it is the policy of boards to offer choices to schools. As one consequence of this it was very common to find that the CSE syllabuses which schools were using had been chosen as much for their compatibility with the GCE syllabus as for any other reason. Such a choice of syllabus enables the decision on the examination to be taken to be kept open as long as possible. The administrative attractions for a school are clear, and where pupils use the CSE Grade 1 qualification as a foundation for further studies for which a GCE pass is a requirement, it is an advantage for them to have followed a syllabus which is closely related. On the other hand, the choice of CSE syllabuses in this way does

*See paragraphs 5.23 to 5.28.

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mean that considerable numbers of pupils follow courses in which the abstract intellectual content and the manipulational facility demanded stretch them rather beyond their limits.

3.15 Mode 2 courses, in which the syllabus is formulated by the school and the examination set by the board, accounted for less than 5 per cent of CSE mathematics entries (nationally) in 1976; they call for no special comment here.

3.16 Mode 3 courses, in which schools plan their own syllabuses and examine them, subject to moderation by the board, accounted for 20 per cent of the national entries in CSE mathematics in 1976. When the CSE was instituted it was one of the aims to set up an examination structure which would encourage schools to experiment with more varied patterns of work and assessment. The influence of these more varied methods of assessment was to be seen in a number of classrooms. There were cases where there was a very good response from pupils who realised the part which course work played in the assessments they received. Likewise the pupils demonstrated persistent application to projects in a way which is not tested by timed examinations.

3.17 These methods of assessment and the more varied patterns of work associated with them were often a feature of Mode 3 courses which had been developed for pupils for whom the schools (very reasonably) considered Mode 1 courses inappropriate. At their best these courses were well related to the ability of the pupils and an enterprising range of work was attempted. Much more was involved than the practice of textbook and blackboard examples. Data were collected and interpreted, reference books were used and there was good discussion between pupils and between pupils and teacher.

3.18 Courses which were planned and examined by the school were not of a uniformly high quality. The examining boards have the responsibility of monitoring the standards of schools' internal examinations or their assessments of course work but there are obvious difficulties in doing so. These difficulties can be increased when it is a question of monitoring some of the freer investigatory work which schools are now doing. Such work has many features which are to be encouraged; such as choosing a worthwhile topic and working at it over a period of time, using appropriate reference material. It is difficult for an external examiner to assess how much is truly the pupil's own work, as work on projects can descend to profitless copying. Furthermore it is a problem to decide how much recall should be expected of the work which has been done, and what balance there should be between assessment on course work and assessment by an examination at the end.

3.19 If courses of this kind are to be successful they demand careful preparation and skilful teaching, but there are further difficulties. Mode 3 courses are frequently planned for pupils who have had little success with

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or have problems with a more academic approach. If the teachers provide a course which they believe to be well related to the ability and the previous attainments of the pupils, the appropriate examination (or the alternative forms of assessment) can lack credibility with employers or with further education institutions. On the other hand if they provide a course which is more obviously related to the latter considerations the demands on the pupils can be excessive and their sense of failure can be reinforced. It may not be possible to satisfy both sets of requirements simultaneously, and the genuine dilemma confronting teachers should be recognised whenever academic standards are under public discussion.

Non-examination courses

3.20 The proportion of pupils taking courses in mathematics which did not lead to an external examination in the fifth year, over all the schools in the survey, was 17 per cent. In full range comprehensive schools it was 15 per cent. Some schools believe that almost all pupils should be entered for an examination of some kind, perhaps a Mode 3 examination with 'limited grade', and in consequence the numbers of pupils on non-examination courses in these schools were very small.

3.21 There is currently a move in some areas to introduce locally arranged numeracy tests for pupils who are not taking examinations; and in some cases these tests are also being considered as a supplementary form of assessment for pupils on CSE courses. These tests have been developed only recently, and so a representative sample of current practice was not to be seen during the survey.

3.22 The most common pattern was for schools to plan a special non-examination course for their least able pupils. These courses usually concentrated on arithmetic; they almost all included a lot of computation, and to varying degrees they developed themes such as wages, shopping or holidays. The removal of examination pressure should allow the design of courses suited in pace and approach to the needs of the pupils, and in some schools this had happened, as the following description shows:

Good work is certainly done with and by the non-examination pupils. There is a threefold plan involving a double period of computation, a double period with sales catalogues and similar material, and a double period with a published set of workcards. The pupils work hard on this straightforward plan, and display commendable originality.

Mixed comprehensive

More frequently the lessons seen were less encouraging:

There was no evidence of any practical work and the pupils spent each lesson doing mechanical sums. In this school new courses are urgently needed for all ability bands but particularly so for the less able pupils. There are within the school no guidelines for mathematics courses other than examination syllabuses.

Mixed comprehensive

3.23 The last school was an extreme case, but lessons seen were often narrowly conceived, and in 60 per cent of the schools visited HMI considered that new courses should be developed for the less able pupils. The devising

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and teaching of suitable courses for these pupils is a difficult matter, not made easier by the fact that schools usually feel unable to deploy their most experienced mathematics teachers on the task. Schemes of work need to be much more than lists of topics; they need to contain guidelines discussing the aims and the underlying philosophy of the teaching, and to give indications of the material resources available in the school and suggestions in some detail on how suitable topics may be presented. Furthermore, teaching tactics need to be continually reappraised as the course proceeds.

The influence of examinations

3.24 Since more than 80 per cent of the pupils in the sample were following courses leading to GCE or to CSE examinations, the range of ability of those pupils was considerably wider than was envisaged when the examinations were designed, and this raises questions about the design of syllabuses, the range of ability which should receive certification, and the determination of standards. Changes in examination syllabuses have brought about the introduction of many new topics, and changes in examining procedure (especially in CSE) have invited schools to adopt methods of assessment which lead to a certification depending on course work as well as performance in an examination on a critical day. While there are limitations in the examination system, the survey focussed attention more on the limitations that arise from the way in which the system is used.

3.25 An examination syllabus is not usually intended to provide a systematic teaching scheme; it provides a series of topics which the teacher needs to coordinate. Teachers have a major responsibility in interpreting the framework provided by the examination boards. Too often the syllabus is given as a reason for ignoring the 'why' in pursuit of the 'how', or for leaving out interesting and natural developments which are not in the syllabus, or for giving less emphasis to those areas in the syllabus that are difficult to examine and rarely tested. Correspondingly, where it is a simple matter to set repetitive exercises on a topic, these can be pursued to excess, although the idea may be much more important than the routine skill.

3.26 To give an example, 'number bases' appears on many syllabuses, and questions of the form 'calculate 34 + 45 in base eight' occur in the examination. This can be taken to imply that facility in base eight is a useful skill whether the underlying principles are appreciated or not, whereas the original intention of introducing different number bases was to illuminate ideas of place value in the tens system, and this intention has been obscured.

3.27 Similar considerations apply to some other recently introduced, and frequently examined, topics. A sound educational case can be made for teaching topics such as matrices, vectors and sets, provided that the pupils are well motivated and the topics can be taught at a fair pace. But if the work is limited to the acquisition of low level skills in order to answer a narrow range of stereotyped questions it is of very doubtful value.

3.28 There are clear advantages in setting examination questions which are unambiguous and to which there are direct, clear cut answers. The best

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instructional material is by no means all of this type, because it is sometimes desirable to discuss the complications involved if mathematics is applied to the world around, and to explore the possible variations in meaning of apparently simple mathematical statements. So a form of Gresham's Law operates - bad examination questions drive out good. This applies to

Table 7B Types of course by year group and type of school

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'traditional' material as well as 'modern'; and these criticisms certainly apply to many of the topics in traditional algebra.

'Traditional' and 'modern' courses

3.29 In the early sixties various movements to reform mathematics syllabuses were initiated. There were independently constituted projects which produced series of books and related examination syllabuses, as well as initiatives by providers of in-service training. In some cases the emphasis was on changing the subject matter of the course, in some cases on changing the teaching approach, and in some cases on both. Although these movements included teachers with a wide variety of views, in the early days the antithesis between 'traditional' and 'modern' was much discussed and a sharp dichotomy became established in the public mind.

3.30 For some time it has been difficult to classify mathematics syllabuses as 'traditional' or 'modern', as increasingly many courses have been a compromise between the two. Heads of department were asked which of the terms 'traditional', 'compromise' or 'modern' best described the syllabuses in use year by year in their schools. Table 7B records the responses in schools of different types. Schools may offer courses of more than one type, and sometimes offer different courses to pupils in different ability ranges. For this reason the percentages in the rows of the table do not total 100.

3.31 The labels 'traditional' and 'modern' can easily mislead. Schools were found which described their courses as 'traditional' but where the syllabuses contained items such as matrices, geometrical transformations and probability, which are usually regarded as components of a 'modern' course. At the other extreme schools might describe the course as 'modern', when the newer items in the course received little emphasis and the teaching approach incorporated none of the investigational activity which the authors of the course had tried to promote. The extent to which various types of course are provided is however a matter of great public interest. So in spite of the lack of precision in the simple classification into 'traditional', 'compromise' and 'modern', the table may usefully indicate the general approach adopted by schools at the time of the survey.

3.32 A greater proportion of secondary modern schools ran traditional courses and a smaller proportion ran modern courses, as compared with other schools. Grammar schools ran relatively more modern courses. Secondary modern schools and comprehensive schools with a similar restricted ability range differed, in that the comprehensive schools had more compromise courses and fewer traditional courses. In many cases, the comprehensive schools of restricted range were reorganised secondary modern schools and it may have been that reorganisation had of itself encouraged a fresh appraisal of syllabuses. With all types of school the percentage of schools offering traditional courses in the fourth and fifth years exceeded the percentage in earlier years. This reflected the practice in some schools of providing traditional courses for the less able pupils in their last two years, even when they may have had modern or compromise courses in earlier years. The tendency to offer a diversity of courses was most apparent in full range

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comprehensive schools, whose courses are analysed in greater detail in Table 7C. GCE courses were very evenly divided between the various types; at CSE level there were noticeably more compromise courses and fewer at either extreme. Non-examination courses were predominantly traditional.

3.33 It is possible that schools in reverting to traditional courses for certain pupils were responding to recent public statements from industry and further education about the need for greater competence in this type of work. The practice appeared to be more pronounced in boys' schools than in girls' schools, and more pronounced in the North than in the rest of the country.

3.34 The graded assessments given to schools and pupils following various types of course were investigated to see if any general differences emerged. The different considerations prevailing in different types of school were complicating factors, so in order to have a homogeneous population the analysis was restricted to the graded assessments given in the full range comprehensive schools. Some of the provision assessments varied with course type; but no statistically significant differences of any kind could be detected in the assessments of response.

3.35 At GCE level there was no significant difference between the assessments given to the provision where courses were modern and where they were compromise; although where courses were modern or compromise, provision was significantly better than where courses were traditional.

3.36 At CSE level assessments for provision were significantly better where courses were modern than they were where courses were compromise or traditional; and compromise courses received significantly better assessments than traditional courses.

3.37 There were no significant differences between the assessments for provision given to different types of non-examination course.

3.38 To summarise, for more able and average pupils HMI assessments were more favourable where the courses were modern; but with the less able no comparable advantage was found for any one type of course. Pupil response was not significantly related to any type of course at any level of ability. Where superior assessments were given to modern courses this was not an automatic consequence of the material in the syllabus. There were indications that teachers who had introduced new types of course had also had occasion to think more deeply about the raison d'être of the material they were teaching, with consequent benefit to the general quality of the work they did. Furthermore modern courses tended to make greater use of the resources discussed in paragraphs 5.1 to 5.28.

Some aspects of content

The place of arithmetic, and standards in it

4.1 Standards of competence in arithmetic are a matter of public concern and debate. Concern over standards in arithmetic has been expressed for a great many years, but at the present time discussion is complicated by

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recent changes. There have been changes in syllabuses, and changes in social needs, arising from new patterns of employment and from the availability of calculators and computers. In almost all of the schools seen in the survey very considerable time was spent on arithmetic; and the skills in which, it is said, some school leavers lack proficiency were certainly being taught. All the schools gave a prominent place to practice in the four rules of number, including work with money, decimals and fractions. They expected their pupils to know the elementary number facts of addition and multiplication on which the more advanced processes are based. Where there were weaknesses it was hardly ever through lack of attention to the problem.

4.2 In spite of this in the course of the survey some schools were found where, as in former times, the arithmetical competence of some of the pupils was unacceptably low. Not infrequently this was associated with difficulties arising from the catchment areas which the school served, and where this was so full allowance must be made. The improvement of standards of mathematical attainment involves more than teaching method alone.

4.3 Before possible ways of improving arithmetical competence can be discussed it is necessary to recognise the extent of the problem. The weaknesses in arithmetic were, for instance, such that there could be a poor response from a class of pupils who were asked to multiply by 10 or by 100. Some pupils had difficulty even with doubling simple numbers, and many saw no absurdity in answers to elementary calculations which were wrong by a factor of 10 or 100. There is no abrupt discontinuity in the spread of mathematical ability, and whatever provision may be made in special schools there will always be some children in ordinary schools who achieve only minimally in the subject.

Table 7C Type of course and examination target of pupils in the fourth and fifth years in full range comprehensive schools

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4.4 The problems which affect the majority of the school population are, perhaps, indicated by the following two quotations:

This group (say, the bottom ten in the year group) were able to calculate using the 'four rules' and pencil and paper. Their grasp of fractions was appreciably better than that of decimals. They were unable to make rough estimates with any real confidence. In most other respects they could deal with 'down-to-earth' mathematics, but were not always confident when reading the textbook on a new aspect of the subject. They made many of the classical mistakes in changing the subject of formulae.

Work with the least able 15 to 20 per cent gives cause for some concern: their grasp of basic principles and their ability to retain knowledge and draw on skills other than those immediately practised is poor. Teaching approaches need revision and greater thought needs to be given to nurturing understanding and confidence than to covering the syllabus.

If all schools were no worse than this there might be less concern about standards than is being publicly expressed at the moment. But these paragraphs were written after visits to grammar schools which were by no means inferior schools of their type. The paragraphs are a warning against expecting too much in the matter of numeracy from schools which cater for the full range of ability.

4.5 In the descriptive accounts which were written about the schools visited, general comments that pupils were competent in basic arithmetical skills outweighed adverse comment by about two to one; although highly adverse comments were more common than high praise. However, where understanding of the essential ideas was concerned the balance of comment was unfavourable.

4.6 A more quantitative appraisal of the overall position was provided by HMI's answers to the question "Is there competence in realistic arithmetic?" The word 'realistic' is important. Success in repetitive exercises on (say) technical points involving the manipulation of fractions or decimals was, in itself, not taken as sufficient evidence of competence. Competence demanded a certain ability to apply skills, and to choose a skill which was appropriate.

4.7 Pupils on GCE courses were assessed as competent in 86 per cent of the schools in the sample providing such courses; the corresponding figures were 62 per cent for CSE courses and 37 per cent for non-examination courses. (These assessments made some allowance for the different standards to be expected at these different levels).

4.8 The effect of modern courses on arithmetical competence has received extensive public discussion. The differences between traditional and modern courses are by no means clear cut, and proper levels of arithmetical competence can be achieved in either framework. An analysis was made of the extent to which pupils on traditional, compromise and modern courses were competent in realistic arithmetic. The analysis was restricted to the 161 full-range comprehensive schools for which comparable data were available.

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Modern courses received somewhat less favourable assessments in this respect, and this applied to courses at each level - GCE, CSE and non-examination. In many cases compromise courses had been developed by schools with the expressed intention of avoiding the deficiencies in arithmetic and traditional algebra to which they believed modern courses were prone. In this aim these courses had succeeded.

4.9 Problems often arise when pupils have to apply arithmetical skills, but some pupils have difficulties enough in performing standard calculations in isolation. The survey produced many cases of pupils having difficulties with fractions and decimals. These topics have presented difficulties in schools for as long as they have been studied, and there is no sound evidence which permits comparisons between generations. However, within the context of the classroom, with a teacher asking familiar questions, most pupils achieved a certain competence in these matters. The roots of this competence could, however, be distressingly shallow; and if the teacher of another subject expected a fresh application of the ideas, or if the pupils were presented with an unexpected test in unfamiliar language, failure was frequent. This has long been so; and a cure is unlikely to be found by an unrelieved diet of further practice on a succession of narrow techniques. The development of pupils' arithmetical skills as well as the development of more general mathematical abilities depends on the approach that is adopted to the subject matter. Teaching approaches are discussed in paragraphs 6.1 to 6.31.

4.10 Much of the arithmetic teaching seen during the survey gave a larger place to elementary statistics and to the calculation of probabilities than was given in the past, and this trend is to be encouraged. Some schools also gave a place to the investigation of number patterns; studying, for example, sequences of numbers growing according to some law. This gave opportunities to conjecture results, to test the conjectures and to relate arithmetic and algebra. On the other hand, some traditional pieces of arithmetic, such as tests of divisibility, were little in evidence. Items such as this could be studied more, not as routine skills, but for the opportunities they offer for investigation and discussion.

Provision for algebra

4.11 Algebra had a more uncertain place in courses, and there were considerable disparities between what was attempted in different schools. The amount of algebra which it is feasible to undertake with pupils of different mathematical attainment varies greatly, but even so schools varied much in the algebra which they considered appropriate for pupils of comparable ability. Traditional courses usually made more provision for repetitive exercises on matters of technique, such as the use of brackets and the handling of formulae. However these aspects of algebra received some degree of attention whatever the type of course, and the proficiency of the pupils was not always proportional to the effort expended.

4.12 The attention given to traditional, manipulative algebra was assessed in the different courses provided, in each school visited. Where schools provided GCE courses, reasonable attention was given in 84 per cent of the cases.

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67 per cent of the schools providing CSE courses gave reasonable attention to traditional algebra in these courses. In the remaining cases insufficient attention was given to this aspect of mathematics, or the evidence was unconvincing.

4.13 Traditional, compromise and modern courses in the 161 full range comprehensive schools were compared for the provision they made for traditional algebra. At GCE level the percentage of schools making reasonable provision for traditional algebra were 96, 86 and 75 per cent respectively. At CSE level the percentages were 84, 72 and 60 per cent.

4.14 Comparable assessments of non-examination courses are not given because they raise different problems. In many cases where algebra was taught in non-examination courses it was excessively preoccupied with mechanical skills and insufficiently concerned with uses which the pupils could understand. Sometimes these courses contained no algebra at all when a modest amount, within the pupils' capabilities, would have been appropriate. These issues are part of the much larger problem of designing courses for the less able.

4.15 The exercise books in a number of schools showed that although a great deal of time was spent on algebraic manipulation, at whatever level this was done, only little of this time was spent applying the techniques to problems or using the techniques to deduce further information in some other area of knowledge, such as science or craft. Algebra was rarely used to investigate popular number tricks and puzzles.

4.16 Some aspects of algebra are covered in modern (and compromise) courses which were not covered in traditional ones. Traditional algebra was concerned, almost entirely, with using symbols to denote numbers, but non-numerical entities can be described by algebraic symbols using ideas such as sets, relations, transformations, groups and matrices. Modern courses often included some matrix algebra - commonly in connection with transformations of the plane. They usually included something of the algebra of sets (although nothing of the theory), but this was little developed and even when it was done it was not necessarily taken even as far as the experimental derivation of the elementary laws of Boolean algebra. Vector algebra occurred quite frequently, but this was not unknown in traditional courses. Symmetry was quite extensively studied, using a small number of over-worked examples, such as folded ink-blots. But there was little analysis of more complicated symmetric patterns and very little that could properly be described as the algebra of groups. The view that modern courses are more concerned with 'abstract' algebra than traditional courses were has little foundation and the traditional algebra seen in courses of all types was taught in a predominantly abstract way.

4.17 The time has come for a careful reappraisal of the aims and content of algebra courses, and of ways of teaching the subject. In any case the teaching of traditional algebra has long presented difficulties in schools and it is a

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branch of mathematics which remains a mystery to many adults. The advice given in the publications of the professional associations over the years is insufficiently known; it could be more extensively practised.

Geometry and spatial ideas

4.18 The geometrical experience of almost all pupils in the earlier years of the secondary school involves practical work in two and, more rarely, three dimensions. Common objectives across the whole ability range are that pupils should learn to draw simple diagrams using geometrical instruments, and that they should know and understand the common properties of geometrical figures. Courses usually contain Pythagoras's theorem, the properties of parallel lines and of circles. In most schools considerable time is spent on numerical calculations of length, angles, areas and volumes. In almost all courses leading to external examinations these calculations also involve trigonometry. However, in the mathematics lessons observed, although much time was spent on calculations with these physical quantities, the teaching was seldom concerned with whether the pupils could use the appropriate measuring instruments properly, except the ruler and protractor.

4.19 The survey confirmed the common belief that the study of geometry as a deductive system has declined. Deductive geometry involves the demonstration of properties of plane figures, which are often intuitively obvious, by means of logical proofs of Euclidean type. The reduced emphasis on proofs of this kind cannot be a matter for regret as far as the majority of pupils is concerned, because in the past logic for its own sake was appreciated by only a small minority. It must however be a matter for substantial regret that nowadays very able pupils are not receiving any effective substitute for what they have lost. Further, it seems that the logical coherence of related results, together with the logical demonstration of results which are not intuitively clear from an appreciation of the symmetry, is insufficiently stressed in the courses given to many pupils of average ability.

4.20 Newer types of course introduce ideas such as rotation, reflection, translation and magnification. This work is often related to the algebra of vectors and matrices. These ideas can be organised in a logical way, but this aspect received little emphasis in the lessons seen, even with the abler pupils. Sometimes attention was given to the ways in which transformations combine, and not infrequently the work was well illustrated by diagrams.

4.21 At all levels of ability there was much drawing of graphs of many kinds, although insufficient attention was given to the interpretation of graphs from a variety of sources.

4.22 The practice continues in schools of providing technical drawing as a separate examination option, and it is taken by pupils with widely varying abilities, although it is not commonly taken by pupils at either end of the ability range. This subject makes a substantial contribution to the geometrical knowledge of many pupils, but knowledge of this kind appears to be seldom assessed by current employers' tests. In schools technical drawing is most frequently treated as a technical skill and its wider educational potential is insufficiently realised. The best current practice needs to be more widely known.

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Mathematics as a logical system

4.23 The mathematician can see his subject as a logical system, and perceive the inter-relations between the various parts. With the courses seen on the survey there could be little expectation that even the abler fifth year pupils could develop much appreciation of what this means. This was true whether the courses were described as 'traditional' or 'modern'. There was minimal opportunity to see any overall logical structure, because for so much of the time the pupils were operating within a comparatively short-range set of rules. There was little encouragement for abler pupils to develop any overall view of what mathematics was about, or to become familiar with ideas of proof as a mathematician understands them. Pupils certainly did not meet the idea of proof within a clearly defined mathematical system, to which there were parallel, equally acceptable logical systems. This is a stringent requirement, which was not met in the past either; but it was one of the aims when modern syllabuses were introduced, and more could be done to achieve it.

4.24 Excessive time was spent in some 'modern' courses on a surfeit of rather trivial exercises which were originally intended to explain the logical structure of the subject; but these exercises were not developed enough to do so. Thus, it is possible to use modular arithmetic as an example of an axiomatic system, or it can be used to illuminate logical points concerning the number system in everyday use; but it serves no purpose if it is studied only at the level of self-contained exercises.

4.25 In a similar way, the language of sets and relations was originally developed to clarify logical ideas within mathematics. But if, as in many courses, the ideas are taken no further than the initial exercises, the serious purposes are not served.

4.26 There is at least one published course in Additional Mathematics designed to give the abler pupil, not necessarily intending to become a specialist in mathematics, a broader logical view of the subject, but in none of the schools visited was such work seen in the fifth year.

Accommodation and material provision

Specialist rooms

5.1 Schools varied greatly in the extent to which they allocated rooms expressly for the teaching of mathematics. Extremes of provision were certainly to be found, varying between schools where a suite of conveniently grouped rooms which had been allocated to the department were well exploited for the creation of a mathematical environment, to cases where no rooms were set apart for the regular teaching of the subject and where the environment made no positive contribution to the mathematics teaching. This variation reflected the teaching aims of the mathematics staff and the head of the school, as well as the constraints arising from limitations in the accommodation. Many pupils were taught mathematics in rooms which were only in part-time use for the teaching of the subject, but in comparison with the findings of the survey carried out in 1973-74 there had been some trend towards the provision of specialist rooms. This trend was particularly marked in comprehensive schools.

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5.2 A separate question was whether the rooms used for the teaching of mathematics were scattered, or conveniently grouped. Overall, a slightly higher percentage of schools had rooms which were conveniently grouped than had rooms which were scattered; and 16 per cent of the schools could not be put in either of these two categories. In more than half of the comprehensive schools the rooms in which mathematics was taught were conveniently grouped.

Equipment and display material

5.3 Even where rooms had been set apart for the teaching of the subject they were rarely equipped for the purpose. In 66 per cent of the schools there was no specially equipped room, and in a further 16 per cent there was only one. These figures show little change from those obtained in the 1973-4 survey. Many schools were not using their available accommodation as well as they might; and most schools could benefit from a reappraisal of their practice in this respect.

5.4 Mathematical display material was found in only some 40 per cent of schools, and this on a charitable interpretation, including schools with only very limited displays of wallcharts or children's work. The proportion of schools in which this material was purposefully used as part of a progressive scheme of work was smaller.

5.5 Observation showed, and statistical analysis confirmed, that display material, experimental and practical work, the use of realistic material, and the mathematical use of puzzles and games, were all more likely to be found in schools in which mathematics was allocated specialist accommodation. It would be expected that having the rooms conveniently grouped would encourage these features further, as it assists the head of department to supervise the work of his colleagues and help them by providing resources; the statistical evidence again supported this view.

5.6 The effect of split site accommodation on all the assessments of provision and response was investigated in full range comprehensive schools. Although there were not sufficient deviations within the general pattern to invalidate the hypothesis that split sites did not affect the assessments overall, where mathematics was concerned the issue was more in doubt. There was some statistical evidence that the mathematical provision in split site schools was inferior. This was especially so in respect of provision for the least able, whose response was also significantly inferior in split site schools. These inferior assessments might reflect the difficulties of organising subject departments on split sites, and may indicate that mathematics is more sensitive than some other subjects to these difficulties.

5.7 The problems of teaching mathematics are increased by inappropriate accommodation, and some of the best practice seen would have been impossible if the teachers had not enjoyed suitably equipped bases in which to work. The statistical evidence of the survey supports the view that, in general, specialist rooms encourage the better teaching of mathematics, although the allocation of such rooms is no guarantee that the opportunities they offer will be taken up.

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The use of practical material

5.8 In general there was a disappointing lack of reference to the applications of mathematics throughout the teaching of the subject. The use of realistic source material such as timetables, catalogues, newspapers, magazines, plans, maps or instruction manuals was very limited. Material of this kind, and an experimental or practical approach to some of the topics in the course, were found in some 10 per cent of GCE courses, in 20 to 24 per cent of CSE courses and in some 30 to 40 per cent of non-examination courses.

5.9 Extended work based on topics or projects occurred in some 25 to 30 per cent of CSE and non-examination courses, but very little in GCE courses. Schools were found where a topic approach led to work of high quality. In one CSE Mode 3 course the staff, working as a team, had been at pains to produce unusually good source material for reference. This included actual copies of official forms, order forms, tax tables, ready reckoners and timetables. The work arising was largely arithmetical but because of the expert way it was handled it provided a useful preparation for life after school.

5.10 In another school the exchange rates used in money calculations were kept right up to date, and the pupils were using carefully selected resource material to create attractive, well designed workcards themselves. The pupils devised questions as well as answering them, using books not on mathematics but on general topics.

5.11 The topic approach is, in itself, no guarantee of quality and it does not necessarily involve the pupils in pursuing individual lines of investigation. Some courses of outwardly the same structure as those above were open to grave objections. There were cases where pupils worked through printed handouts in a highly directed way, and appropriate resources were lacking. In one school work was done on 'calculating devices', but no such devices were to be seen, and the pupils regurgitated material from folders produced by other pupils in previous years. Pupils working on 'surveying' or 'mechanics' did nothing of either, but copied material from obsolete textbooks. In another school the pupils had been given exercises headed 'calculating machines' but there were no machines, and they had been kept occupied by doing the addition of six figure numbers with pen and paper.


5.12 Textbooks can be a valuable resource which helps to provide structure, progression and continuity in a course, although if no other material is used the teaching may lack vitality and spontaneity. To maintain a sufficient supply of textbooks, however, is expensive and a number of departments were seen which had found it difficult to provide each pupil with a copy of the books needed for systematic study.

5.13 In some schools, only the most able classes had books issued to them. More generally, many schools seemed to be insufficiently supplied with suitable books. This judgement must be interpreted with caution as books are needed as part of the overall range of equipment in a mathematics department, and the exact equipment reflects the teaching method which the school has decided to employ. But where there was a paucity of suitable

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books this appeared most usually to be the result of weaknesses in planning and in building up proper stocks over a period of time, rather than the result of a deliberate policy of employing alternative material.


5.14 Worksheets and assignment cards were used more frequently in the fourth and fifth years than was anticipated when the survey was planned. No specific questions about them were incorporated in the questionnaire, and it is not possible to give a numerical estimate of the extent of their use. Worksheets may be developed through the shared experience of members of the department and they can be a useful support, enabling inexperienced teachers and non-mathematicians to have suitable material available. They can assist project work and enable pupils to work on individual assignments. However, they may restrict variety of approach and reduce the opportunities for stimulating class or group discussion. Cases were certainly seen where the teachers depended excessively on worksheets and where some pupils were very bored. The extent to which worksheets are used and their effect on pupil response require further investigation.

Reference books

5.15 In a number of schools a good range of mathematical reference books was found, but even when such resources were available, commonly little or no use was being made of them. Too often the range and quality of books in the library did not serve the needs of pupils of different abilities and interests, and no strategy was employed which encouraged pupils to read books on mathematics. Even when there were interesting books in the classroom, they were seldom referred to during the lesson.

5.16 The statistics collected indicate that in 7 per cent of the schools providing GCE courses the pupils made some use of reference books in those courses; the corresponding figures for CSE and non-examination courses were 10 per cent and 6 per cent respectively.

Miscellaneous equipment

5.17 As well as books and worksheets (or cards) a range of other teaching equipment was seen. This included wallcharts, geometrical models, demonstration slide rules, overhead projectors, number apparatus, puzzles and games which were put to mathematical use, and cuttings from newspapers and magazines from which there were mathematical lessons to be learnt. All of these were to be found, in varying degrees, in some schools, but the overall use of such resources in the mathematics lessons which were observed was disappointingly low.

5.18 Many pupils experienced mathematics in practical settings in science, craft or technical drawing. The rooms for these subjects usually contained a range of practical equipment, some of which could profitably have been used in mathematics lessons as well; but such use was rare.

5.19 The infrequent use of low cost realistic material was especially to be regretted. Whether it was through lack of knowledge, confidence or imagination, or because of the demands made on teachers (as the teachers perceive them), there was a widespread reluctance to relate mathematics to the world outside the classroom.

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5.20 The price of electronic calculators dropped dramatically in the course of the survey. Towards the end, it was common to find pupils using their own calculators, although teachers did not generally encourage their regular use except within statistics courses. It was probably too early to expect that the impact of very cheap electronic calculators on the teaching of computation should have been fully considered. The necessary change of emphasis from routine paper and pencil calculations to approximation, estimation and mental manipulation of relatively small numbers in order to check the operation of calculators has not yet been appreciated. The new approaches which are possible in mathematics at all levels of ability, and the wider range of problems which can be attempted, have still to be exploited. It is not the intention of the examination system to hinder the introduction of new ideas into the curriculum, and at present some examination syllabuses permit the use of calculators, although many do not. However, questions about the use of calculators in schools need to be decided on merit, and not pre-empted by the current examination syllabus.

5.21 There was a vestigial and declining use of mechanical calculators; but the use of the slide rule was common, with between 30 and 40 per cent of pupils on examination courses being introduced to them, though it was not clear whether they were used especially to help in the understanding of ratio, or more generally as calculating aids.

5.22 The availability of electronic calculators for schools is increasing rapidly and the real impact of cheap computer power has yet to be felt. Over the next few years opportunities for the use of these facilities are likely to increase, and their proper use will demand radical rethinking of some parts of the syllabus.


5.23 The computer could provide an exciting stimulus, as a report on a boys' grammar school showed:

Table 7D Schools and pupils involved in the use of computers: by type of school

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Computer studies pupils were so well motivated that they were often at school at 8 o'clock in the morning and still at school at 6.30 at night in order to use the terminal. Such momentum was generated with pupils creating and solving problems that work would have continued even without the presence of a teacher.
On the other hand the presence of the machine did not necessarily provide the stimulus, for in some schools there were computer terminals which were not being used.

5.24 Most of the work done with computers in the fourth and fifth years took place in the context of either CSE or O-Ievel computer studies courses within an option scheme. There were very few schools which had non-examined computer studies or where use of the computer was part of the mathematics courses. Table 7D includes all these uses.

5.25 The lower involvement of grammar schools, and the overall involvement of only 4 per cent of the pupils may be noted.

5.26 Some further 9 per cent of schools made use of the computer in some other way, mostly by running computer clubs.

5.27 National examination statistics show a similar picture, with a steady increase in the number of schools offering courses, but with only a minority of pupils involved even in schools where computing facilities are available. These figures suggest that the impact which the computer has made on school courses is much less than is often supposed.

5.28 The advent of microprocessors will make cheap computer power available on a significantly different scale in the future. However, the take-up of computer studies courses is limited if these are available only as options, and different methods will have to be used if increased numbers of school pupils are to appreciate the capabilities of these remarkable machines. Possible strategies might include the use of computers to run simulations in science and geography, to provide data bases in history and to investigate numerically some of the ideas current in many modern mathematical syllabuses. No activities of this kind were reported in the survey.

Teaching approaches and pupils' responses

The classroom approach

6.1 The impressions which a pupil receives of mathematics at school and the memories which he carries of the subject into later life depend on the style of teaching he receives. Style is difficult to define, and difficult to assess in statistical terms, but it is a major factor in the provision which a school makes for the teaching of the subject. Over the first three years, while the predominant method was traditional class teaching, variations on this pattern were frequent; but in the fourth and fifth years the influence of examinations is stronger and the prevailing approach to mathematics teaching observed in the survey was narrow.

6.2 While teacher and pupils alike worked hard and showed commitment and considerable interest and enthusiasm for the subject, in the majority of the classrooms the teaching did not aspire to do more than prepare the pupils for examinations. By this criterion the material for study was selected and

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the effectiveness of the work judged. In addition, it was evidently believed that the best preparation for examinations was direct practice of the kind of question that is eventually asked.

6.3 The work was predominantly teacher-controlled: teachers explained, illustrated, demonstrated, and perhaps gave notes on procedure and examples. The pupils were led deductively through small steps and closed questions to the principle being considered. A common pattern, particularly with lower ability pupils, was to show a few examples on the board at the start of the lesson and then set similar exercises for the pupils to work on their own. There were few questions encouraging wider speculation or independent initiative. At its best, and given pupils who were sufficiently capable, this style of teaching achieved what it set out to do. At the worst it became direct 'telling how' by the teacher, followed by incomprehension on the part of the pupils. What was lacking in this approach, even at its best, was a sense of genuine enquiry, or any stimulus to curiosity or appeal to the imagination. There was little feeling that one can puzzle out an approach to fresh problems without having to be given detailed instructions.

6.4 Oral work was too often limited to brief responses from a few pupils, in answer to questions that provided no opportunity to exchange ideas or examine hypotheses. The work for the least able was sometimes designed to make the minimum linguistic demands. We quote some observations of this kind:

What was lacking in the teaching was any real development of mathematical language, communication, discussion, group work or sustained mathematical investigation undertaken independently of the teacher. The pupils' response to this seemed to be one of quiet diligence (true of the general attitude in this school) without any commitment or enthusiasm. Their calculations were accurate, but there was little participation, contribution or apparent enjoyment of the subject.

Mixed modern

The lessons seen at all ability levels were traditionally presented with little demand being made on the pupils to use mathematical language other than in simple monosyllabic responses. Even the more able pupils were reluctant to use mathematical vocabulary although it may have been known to them. For almost all pupils any discussion of mathematical problems and ideas was a novel experience.

Mixed comprehensive

Very little opportunity was given for the pupils to express themselves orally in mathematics lessons and this resulted in some very confused statements in the exercise books when anything in the nature of an explanation was demanded.

Mixed modern

The teaching depended too heavily on text books and worksheets. Seldom was there any direct teaching, or good oral work with lively responses. Too often there was a lack of pace; classes were noisy and restless and at times there was an obvious lack of sympathy between the pupils and the teacher.

Mixed comprehensive

The teachers used language only to instruct, explain and illustrate; rarely were questions asked of pupils requiring thought and alternative answers, although there

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was some individual discussion of pupils' difficulties. It cannot have been easy to discuss concepts and their relationships with pupils over half of whom were non-indigenous, but the attempt needed to be made from the time pupils entered school. Staff spoke of the difficulty pupils had in understanding problems and formulating them mathematically, but this activity is a part of mathematical education.

Mixed modern

6.5 The potential of mathematics for developing precision and sensitivity in the use of language was underused: and this underuse was, as often as not, deliberate. The teachers evidently considered that the use of symbols and the performance of numerical calculations presented problems enough. The writing of continuous prose was hardly ever required, and there was small demand even for the pupils to present a clearly expressed logical argument, in which symbols and English words formed a grammatically connected paragraph. While this was the prevailing mode, some freer and more open use of language was certainly found; and some of the happiest exchanges were quite informal. A boy stopped his teacher on the stairs and urgently asked for confirmation of a method by which he wanted to estimate the number of seeds in a sunflower head; in a few moments of profitable conversation the boy refined and improved his idea. But, in general, insufficient value was attached to this kind of simple conversation about the mathematical aspects of everyday things.

6.6 As a closely related matter, there was perhaps insufficient practice of very simple mental arithmetic, aimed at building up confidence on examples which were well within the pupils' capacity if they were given sufficient time for reflection. In many schools the common practice of timetabling mathematics in double periods meant that brief daily practice in simple mental arithmetic (once considered desirable) was no longer possible even if the teachers had wished to provide it, and it appeared that no effective substitute for these short bouts of frequent practice had been found.

6.7 The requirements of examinations (as they were perceived), unconsidered reaction to public criticism and, in some cases, the teachers' insufficient general knowledge of the applications of the subject combined to bring about a narrow approach to mathematics, as a whole, and to arithmetic in particular. This was often so even when the school's schemes of work professed aims which were more liberal. The extent to which this criticism applies is indicated by the overall graded assessments for mathematics provision given in section 10. The provision was considered unsatisfactory for the more able pupils in some 15 per cent of the schools, unsatisfactory for the average pupils in 26 per cent, and for the less able in 47 per cent. The most frequent cause was the narrowness of the approach, and when the provision was no more than 'acceptable' (without rising to 'creditable') the cause was often the same.

6.8 The following observations, made in two schools, describe the situation in many others:

The teachers themselves said that the teaching style consisted of teaching the rules and then applying them. In many of the lessons seen, these rules were taught

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without any attempt to base them upon understanding and often concerned numerical ideas which were unrealistic. To give one example, pupils were taught to correct numbers such as 2.6676 to 3 decimal places although many of them had little idea what a decimal was. Expressing 10p as a decimal of a pound or the length of their pencil as the decimal of a metre proved extremely difficult. In another lesson pupils had been taught to use square root tables but found the question "Can you work out an approximate value of the square root of 10 without using your tables?" very strange. Applications referred to by teachers were invariably of the textbook exercise type; problems from everyday sources, whose point could be seen by the pupils, were seldom presented. The teaching approach was resulting in the withering away of common sense.

Mixed modern

The main things contributing to the low assessment in mathematics are the lack of variety in the content of the courses and the dull, unimaginative approach in the teaching. The top band are prepared for the 16-plus examination but the work seen during the survey visit - and reference to previous exercises - indicated an over emphasis on the four rules in arithmetic. Any work in algebra relied on certain rules like 'change the side and change the sign', and for calculus notes were dictated and no attempt was made for pupils to understand what was happening.

Mixed full range comprehensive

Arithmetical computation and the needs of the outside world

6.9 Teachers tend to be polarised in their attitudes to arithmetical computation. A substantial number of teachers regard computational practice as an end in itself, although the majority probably recognise the need to apply computational skills to needs arising elsewhere. Sometimes the mathematics staff within a school were divided on this important matter, and quite different emphasis was given to the practice of routine skills with different classes in the one school. In other schools a consensus has been reached; but there were wide differences between schools in the extent to which calculations with fractions or decimals received regular practice, and in the extent to which they were practised with reference to a variety of realistic applications. It was very common for the schemes of work in the schools visited to refer to the need to relate the mathematics taught to the problems of everyday life, but the convincing realisation of this aim was much more rare.

6.10 While arithmetic was much practised it was comparatively rare to see the skills used to build up further knowledge. Thus practice of addition and multiplication was seldom incorporated in the investigation of any deeper questions such as the properties of prime numbers, or of the numbers which arise when objects are packed or stacked in various ways. An investigation of (say) the properties of recurring decimals was rarely used to stimulate further practice on division. Practice was nearly always regarded as a sufficient end in itself.

6.11 The following account relates to a boys' modern school, catering for the ability range 0 to 60, which is exceptional only in the degree of deprivation amongst its pupils. It exemplifies in an acute form a much more general problem:

The objectives of the mathematics department are expressed almost entirely in terms of arithmetical skills; this is highlighted by the fact that the highest objective,

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even for the most able pupils, is CSE Commercial Arithmetic and Statistics. Having considered the deprived nature of the area and the quality of the intake in which, about fifty per cent have learning difficulties (linguistic or mathematical or both), the head of the department has decided that these narrow objectives are the only objectives which are realistic in the circumstances. Narrowness also characterises the teaching style; few resources are used other than textbooks; although the pupils work individually most of the time this is mainly on repetitive mechanical exercises providing only negligible opportunities for initiative.
6.12 Often the teacher's response to weaknesses in calculation was a direct attack on the standard procedures for calculation, believing that pupils would learn simply by watching the processes performed and repeating them afterwards. On some occasions these methods appeared to work satisfactorily, at least in the short term. But such a concentration on calculation, devoid of application and motivation, was often counter productive, and the teacher's problem was to recognise when the method was failing and to know what else might be tried. This is illustrated by these extracts from accounts of two mixed modern schools.
There is real concern about the lack of basic skills in arithmetic, but efforts to remedy this take the form of more and more sets of questions on fractions and decimals without identifying the basic number deficiencies that are at the heart of the problem. It is not surprising that mathematical activity could not be found in other areas of the curriculum, and in science mathematical work was avoided where possible.

This was a school in which the mathematics department was almost too aware of the importance of basic computational skills and of the necessity to provide adequate opportunities for practice. Almost every group seen was doing computation of some kind. There was thus little apparent variety so far as the pupils were concerned and a resultant inability to apply computational skills in a wider context. This was illustrated in an extreme way by the case of one fifth year boy in the bottom group who was faced with the problem of finding the cost of five shirts at 2.40 each. When offered the use of a calculator, which he rapidly understood how to use, he performed the operation as an addition sum and obtained the wrong answer because he entered the cost six times instead of five. When it was suggested that there was a simpler method he was unable to see that he could obtain the answer he required by using multiplication, even though it transpired that he was not without some knowledge of his tables.

6.13 Where there were weaknesses in simple calculations the situation was sometimes aggravated by excessive insistence on standard routines. Cases were seen of calculations which should have been done mentally being referred to standard algorithms and rituals. 2½ per cent of 100 was calculated at length in several steps. In another case 10 x 2 x 0.5 was calculated by two fully set out multiplications, in the course of which multiplication by 0.5 required two lines of multiplication which had subsequently to be added. Time was wasted on quite inappropriate methods - for example on converting simple fractions to percentages using logarithms. There is definite value in illustrating the reliability of the standard procedures by using them to check examples which can be done in the head, but it encourages poor numeracy if the standard methods are expected, and even required, when simpler and more direct methods are better.

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6.14 The least able pupils were almost always taught in comparatively small groups, often made smaller still by absence. In these groups, while appropriate time was nearly always given to the cultivation of computational skills, teachers who were anxious to bring about improvements did not always have the insight to understand the nature of the pupils' difficulties; or they had insufficient knowledge of current remedial practices to know what to do if repeated practice failed to establish the skills they were trying to cultivate. This area demands a sizeable provision of in-service training. This training could often be provided by the head of department if the overall work load and the pattern of the timetable permitted it.

6.15 The groups of pupils next above the lowest in achievement also presented problems. Many of these groups received well intentioned teaching, concentrating on a narrow range of arithmetical skills, but the results were disappointing to all concerned. The greatest progress was made where the teacher had the personal qualities to capture the interest of the pupils, to convince them that success was possible, and to produce an agreeable variety of work which provided regular opportunities to use the constantly needed skills. Teaching of this quality was not always available, but in many classrooms more could have been done to explain the methods of calculation which continued to present difficulty. In a few cases children at this level were no longer being given even the obvious straightforward explanations of how a calculation is done, in the belief that they must have been taught this already, and that further repetition would be fruitless. Comparatively little work was seen in which a standard method of calculation was explained at greater length, perhaps with physical apparatus, with careful attention to the details of the process, and with the intention that the underlying reasons should be clearly understood. In some cases much time was spent on extensive, but still superficial, practice on calculations such as 2¼ - 1 1/3, when the time could have been better spent on calculations more closely related to everyday problems, treated in a way that developed understanding and encouraged commonsense short cuts. For example to subtract 99p from 1.42 by the usual written procedure is unnecessarily long, but some pupils need continued help if they are to see that, in this case, to add 1p to 42p is very much easier.

6.16 The concern teachers feel if their pupils achieve poorly in computational arithmetic is understandable; but if the cure involved no more than stepping up practice on a narrow range of written calculating procedures the numeracy problem would already have been solved. Practice needs to be carefully controlled, and supplemented by

i. improved diagnosis of pupils' individual difficulties;
ii. a better appreciation of the role of language and oral work;
iii. more effective use of the applications of the ideas, both in the world around and in other subjects in the school.
6.17 During the period of the survey public attention turned increasingly to the relation between the mathematics taught in schools and the mathematics required in industry, and more generally to the mathematics required in adult

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life. Recent discussions have had an effect on schools which cannot be assessed quantitively from survey data, because the question did not have the same urgency when the survey was planned and comparable data were not collected from all of the schools. However, sufficient individual cases were seen towards the end of the visits to suggest that there may now be a substantial problem requiring further investigation. The indications were that unsympathetic (and sometimes inadequately informed) general criticism had reinforced a number of schools in an already narrow approach to mathematics.

6.18 It is known from information collected during the survey, and from information collected elsewhere, that working parties have been set up in many areas to establish better liaison between schools, further education and industry, and that substantial benefits have resulted from the discussions that have taken place in some of these groups. But even where the teachers had participated in local groups and been involved in the construction of local test papers in arithmetic which were reasonable and well balanced, the courses which were eventually taught in preparation for the papers could still be exclusively preoccupied with the repetitive practice of low level skills. Problems demanding the everyday use of language were receiving insufficient attention; and computation was practised with inappropriate or excessively difficult numbers, unrelated to practical questions in which it is necessary to subject the calculation to commonsense checks.

The problem of excessive breadth

6.19 So far this Section has been mainly concerned with the problems associated with teaching approaches which were too narrow. In a much smaller number of schools problems arose from an approach which was too broad in the sense that the syllabus was so wide that pupils and teachers were unable to see the subject matter in perspective. In these schools many topics were included with the commendable aim of giving interest and variety to the course, but there was confusion between material which needs to be mastered as a foundation for subsequent progress and topics which can make a valuable contribution to a course but which are not essential. Some topics may very reasonably find a place in a course because of the opportunities they provide for exciting work, but there may be no justification for spending time on the cultivation of routine skills in these topics, even though external examinations contain questions which encourage teachers to do so. Modern courses are more prone to this excess than traditional courses are.

6.20 Approaches at both extremes were found, but the trend at the moment appears to be towards excessively narrow interpretation of the subject. This constitutes the greater problem: it applies particularly to courses for the average and less able.

6.21 In public discussion the view has been expressed that modern courses are not suitable for less able pupils. The evidence discussed in paragraphs 3.29 to 3.38, in particular the figures in Table 7C, showed that a number of schools are adopting this view themselves, in that they provide modern or

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compromise courses for all of their pupils earlier in the school, and in the fourth and fifth years for their abler and average pupils, but provide traditional courses in the fourth and fifth years in the non-examination groups.

Pupil response

6.22 Inspectors' comments on the mathematics in the schools made frequent mention of good response from pupils; good response was the subject of spontaneous comment at least twice as often as poor response. Good response was indicated by the pupils' attitudes to work, by their bearing in class (and elsewhere in the school), and by the quality of their written work. The following comments are typical of many:

Much was expected of pupils of all abilities and they responded well to the demands made on them. They produced plenty of work of appropriate level and it was well presented. The examination results were very good across the whole range of ability. In other subjects the pupils coped well with calculations and simple algebraic manipulations and there was very good graphical work (both representation of statistical data and graphs of relations) in evidence in science, rural studies, geography, history and commerce.

Mixed comprehensive

The pupils responded keenly in class, both in speech and on paper. They showed willingness to think. There was some evidence of choice of better methods. They could explain their correct answers well, and had some success in discovering fallacies in their incorrect answers. Pupils talked sensibly about the mathematical implications of their work in science, art, and technical drawing. They applied their knowledge quite effectively in science and other subjects.

Mixed grammar

Mathematics enjoyed a strong position in this school. Boys worked at it keenly, at a fast pace, and most seemed to be completely in command of all they had done. Other subject departments - notably science and craft - found that the boys certainly had all the mathematical skills they required, and applied them readily.

Boys' grammar

6.23 Unsatisfactory response can take a variety of forms. There may be uncooperative or disruptive behaviour, or pupils may conduct themselves properly but appear incapable of adequate intellectual response to the material they are taught. There were very few cases of openly disruptive behaviour in mathematics lessons, although cases were seen where behaviour was uncooperative or work was undertaken on sufferance. However, inadequate intellectual response was all too frequent. There was failure to understand, and failure to produce written work adequate for the tasks set, often in spite of the teachers' determined efforts to explain. There were cases, although they were rare, where the difficulties for pupils and teacher had been too great, and the lessons proceeded in an atmosphere of resigned defeat. In some cases this could be attributed to the inexperience or the lack of knowledge of the teacher, but these lessons were most usually in schools where there were known to be problems of social deprivation, and where solutions to the problems of teaching mathematics are likely to be found only as part of a larger programme of restoring morale.

6.24 Where there was such poor response and low achievement from the pupils the teachers were invariably anxious to improve the situation, but

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did not see how it could be achieved. Their anxieties were often intensified by their awareness of the criticisms of the teaching of mathematics in schools coming from the outside world.

6.25 In some cases the teachers were achieving success in difficult circumstances, and the pupils were working purposefully although their previous record of achievement had been low. There was no uniform pattern in this, and no remedy that can be prescribed with the certainty that it will succeed elsewhere. In these circumstances the teachers were usually people with considerable experience, and the personal qualities which earn the respect and gain the allegiance of pupils. Sometimes, even when the range of work attempted was limited, the pupils had taken fresh heart because of the firm lead and the personal encouragement they were being given.

6.26 The schemes of work in these cases gave evidence of more than usually thoughtful planning and preparation. The lessons did not necessarily involve large amounts of special equipment, or material which was particularly expensive, but the material that was needed was there, and available to the pupils with the minimum fuss. Good response from the pupils, at any level of ability, did not show evident associations with any particular type of syllabus - traditional, compromise or modern. However, favourable response appeared to have a degree of connection with some of the features of teaching style and classroom practice which were susceptible to statistical analysis.

6.27 A statistical analysis was made to investigate connection between the gradings for the response of the pupils at the three levels of ability (more able, average and less able) and various features of course content and provision which had been listed in a memorandum employed by HMI. This analysis was restricted to full range comprehensive schools in order to have a homogeneous group of schools in which the types of course provided (GCE, CSE and non-examination) corresponded closely to the three ability bands for which the response assessments were made.

6.28 There was a strong relationship at all levels of ability between proficiency in realistic arithmetic and good response. This in itself is not surprising as proficiency of this kind is commonly taken as an indication of good response; but it is noteworthy that the only other readily definable course feature which displayed comparable associations with good pupil response at all levels of ability was that "the teaching was positively related to the calculations required in science".

6.29 The other concomitants of good response on GCE courses were "reasonable attention being paid to traditional manipulative algebra" and the use of reference books and display material. (The last two were associated only at comparatively low levels of significance.) There were no features which were similarly linked at all strongly with pupil response in CSE courses. Different conclusions applied to non-examination courses: better pupil response in these courses was found where the work was related to craft

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studies, where there was a practical or experimental element in the course, and where use was made of realistic source material, electronic and mechanical calculators, games, puzzles and display material.

6.30 There were also some occurrences of unusually good pupil response on courses involving the use of computers. This usually arose where there was good access to the appropriate equipment and where the teaching had sparkle and a pioneering quality.

6.31 There can be no suggestion that the introduction of any of these features (in themselves) will ensure improved response from the pupils. But the features may be taken as indicating an effort to introduce variety and interest into the course, and the evidence suggests that these efforts were associated with more favourable response from the pupils. Methods of presenting mathematical ideas in this broader way are considered later in this Chapter in paragraphs 10.14 to 10.17 and the implications for heads of department, teaching staff and in-service training are discussed in paragraphs 10.21 to 10.27.

Organisational aspects of the mathematics department

The work of a head of department

7.1 A number of cases were reported where good leadership by the head of department had raised the level of teaching in a school substantially. The abilities of the teachers in the team had been so effectively coordinated that their performance was markedly higher than in other comparable schools, and the only apparent explanation was the organising ability and enthusiasm of the head of department.

7.2 The majority of departments were well organised, but there was a frequent tendency among heads of department to under-estimate the need for positive leadership. This may arise from modesty or a fear that they might impose improperly on the professional responsibilities of others; but the wide range of responsibilities which heads of department carry today, especially in large schools, needs to be more fully appreciated, and HMI identified in-service training for the head of department as a priority in one-third of the schools visited in the survey.

7.3 Traditionally the head of a mathematics department has been responsible for the deployment of staff among teaching groups, decisions on course structure and ordering of stock - always assuming appropriate consultation with the head and other members of staff. It has also been recognised that the head of department needs knowledge of the subject and teaching skill which places him in a position to lead the team, to guide by his example, and to induct new members of the profession. Usually the head of department also needs to have sufficient knowledge of the institutions of further and higher education to which the students might subsequently move, in order to advise them.

7.4 Now there are additional responsibilities, which have always been present, but which have been accentuated by recent changes in schools. Larger schools make managerial skills essential. The head of department needs

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sufficient standing to command respect from the teachers of other subjects in the school to which mathematics is required to provide a service, and he also needs good relations with the users of mathematics in local industry. He needs to maintain discussion with both of these groups. He may need to persuade his department to undertake a deeper analysis of their aims, objectives and teaching methods, and in some cases this may give rise to a full programme of in-service training. Subsequently he may need to interpret the work of his department to other teachers in the school, to contributory schools, to employers, to institutions of further education and to parents.

7.5 No detailed statistics were collected on such matters as the availability of written schemes of work, the frequency of departmental meetings or the extent to which there were established policies for assessment, marking and record keeping; but enquiries were made during the visits and the schools' practices were observed and recorded.

7.6 In all the schools there were written schemes of work of some kind. The quality and usefulness of these varied greatly. Some schemes were no more than lists of the topics included in the relevant examination syllabus copied from the publications of the boards. Other schemes contained more information, and some were designed to give members of staff very considerable help and guidance, including not only details of topics to be taught, but also a statement of aims and objectives and guidance on such matters as teaching methods, marking and assessment. Where aims were stated they were usually in commendably liberal terms, but the lessons observed with examination classes were most commonly directed much more towards the requirements of the examination than to the realisation of the stated aims.

7.7 The frequency of departmental meetings was difficult to estimate, but the imperfect understanding of the schemes of work, and of the purposes served by some items of the syllabus, revealed by a number of teachers suggest that more use could be made of systematically organised departmental meetings. Enhanced in-service training for the teachers was identified as a need to which HMI gave priority in half of the schools visited, and appropriately organised departmental meetings can be an important part of such training.

Marking and assessment

7.8 There was a very wide divergence of practice in the marking and assessment of written work. Good marking encourages a feeling among pupils that their work is noticed, and this can improve their behaviour and enhance their interest and morale. The standards of presentation achieved by the pupils in their work were reported to be satisfactory far more often than not (three to one); but in some schools, and in some classrooms within schools, the presentation of the work by the pupils was decidedly unsatisfactory. This was usually associated with poor standards of marking. In such cases exercise books were found containing a good deal of faulty or unacceptable work which had been ticked by the teacher as correct.

7.9 It was not so much the quantity of marking which was at fault. Teachers cannot be expected to mark all the work which the pupils do; in attempting

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to do so an over-conscientious teacher can spend an inordinate amount of time even to the detriment of health. What is needed is selective marking of a higher quality which attempts to diagnose the causes of pupils' mistakes and to correct their misunderstandings. Marking which indicates the point of error rather than simply the incorrectness of an answer is more likely to be of help to the pupil in enabling him to overcome his difficulties.

7.10 A school needs a policy on marking and other methods of assessment which is understood and properly implemented by the staff. There should be arrangements to ensure comparability of standards and expectations; and these arrangements should include an agreement as to whom marking is intended to inform - is it to inform only the pupil, or should it also inform others with legitimate access to the pupils' books, such as the head, senior staff and parents?

Size and organisation of teaching groups

7.11 In each school included in the survey detailed statistics were collected of the sizes of each teaching group for mathematics in the fourth and fifth years, together with the examination target or targets of the pupils. Table 7E records the overall average group sizes in different types of school for each objective or combination of objectives. The targets have been arranged in a descending order of difficulty, and over all the schools there is a marked tendency for the size of teaching group to be related to the level of examination objective, with the higher levels generally being studied in larger groups.

7.12 Apart from confirming this not unexpected result, the table reveals that grammar schools were able to have smaller groups than other schools for each of the types of course which they provided in the fourth year. In the fifth year, however, GCE O-level group sizes in secondary modern and limited range comprehensive schools had fallen to something like the grammar school numbers, while in full range comprehensive schools larger O-Ievel groups persisted. CSE groups were smaller in grammar schools, but consistently averaged about 25 pupils in all other schools.

7.13 It is the normal practice in secondary schools of all types for the teaching of mathematics in the fourth and fifth years to be organised in sets, that is to say that the pupils are grouped according to their previous mathematical attainment. In some 10 per cent of the schools visited, however, this practice had not been adopted. An investigation of the circumstances in these schools revealed that some were selective schools with a range of ability narrow enough to ensure a reasonable degree of homogeneity of mathematical attainment in any teaching group however selected. Others were comprehensive schools operating a banding system to achieve a measure of homogeneity within each of their broad bands.

7.14 In schools which adopted banding rather than setting, some pupils who were relatively able in mathematics, but whose progress in other subjects confined them to a lower band, were prevented from progressing in mathematics at an appropriate pace. A few comprehensives and modern schools imposed a fine streaming by general ability, and this tended to produce the

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same effect. (In some cases the examination target for all subjects was predetermined by the general ability stream in which the pupil had been placed.) Fine streaming by general ability may create classes with such a wide range of mathematical ability that methods other than class exposition are needed to satisfy all of the pupils. This need was by no means always met.

7.15 The teaching of mixed ability groups in secondary schools is the subject of much public discussion, but the amount of mixed ability teaching of mathematics to fourth and fifth year pupils which was found during the survey was so small that it cannot safely be taken as a representative statistical sample of national practice. Mathematics teaching described as 'mixed ability' occurred in some eight schools only, and the description meant different things in the different cases. The term was in some cases used to describe teaching groups in which the range of ability was rather wider than would have resulted if the school had setted or streamed to the full. Thus, some schools removed one or two top sets and taught the remaining pupils in sets described as 'mixed ability'. In a similar way one full range comprehensive school removed top and bottom sets and described the remaining groups as 'mixed ability'.

Table 7E Overall average sizes of teaching groups in the fourth and fifth years: by type of school and examination target

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7.16 Two of the eight schools were transitional, and had different intakes in the fourth and fifth years, and so it is necessary to consider the sixteen year groups in the eight schools separately. Only eight of the sixteen year groups covered the full ability range, and in these eight special arrangements of some kind were made for the more able pupils in every case, and special arrangements were also made for the less able pupils in three cases. Therefore no truly mixed ability teaching across the full ability range was found anywhere. The nearest case occurred in the fourth year of a comprehensive school, but here two voluntary lessons were provided each week to enable pupils to make special efforts to prepare for O-levels. The graded assessments for mathematics in this school were 'creditable' for the abler pupils and 'satisfactory' for the rest.

7.17 There were only three cases where secondary modern schools were providing mixed ability mathematics teaching across their full ability range. In one case HMI considered that the able pupils were insufficiently stretched, and in the other two cases HMI considered the arrangements unsatisfactory for the less able pupils.

Links with other subjects

8.1 It was the intention of the survey to look at the mathematical capabilities of the pupils across the whole of the school curriculum and not only in mathematics lessons. The provision made by the school and the response from the pupils were both assessed from this point of view. In addition to any general assessments which they made, HMI answered three specific questions concerning the relationship between the mathematics teaching and the rest of the curriculum; and the three questions were asked separately about GCE, CSE and non-examination courses. The questions could be answered 'yes' or 'no', or a nil return could be made in cases where no clear judgement was possible. The questions were:

1. Is the teaching positively related to the calculations required in science?
2. Is the teaching positively related to the calculations required in crafts?
3. Is the teaching positively related to the use of mathematics in other subject areas eg social science, geography etc?
The replies are given in Table 7F.

8.2 The words 'positively related' meant that the question asked not only whether the manipulation of formulae (as it might occur in science), the calculation of dimensions from a drawing (as it might occur in metalwork or needlework) or the use of graphs (as it might occur in geography) was taught in mathematics lessons, but also whether it was taught in a way which made the relevance plain to the pupils. For the mathematics teaching to qualify as 'positively related' it had to be apparent that some efforts were being made to assist the transfer of skills to other subjects, and that some account was taken of the formulae actually used in science, of the calculations expected in craft, or of the kinds of graph actually used in geography. (The three examples are only for illustration; many parallel examples could be given instead.)

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8.3 There is clear evidence of a pronounced lack of structured interdepartmental discussion about applications of mathematics across the curriculum in most schools. This is not to say that matters of common concern are not discussed informally, but rather that it was hard to discern in more than a few of the schools any positive response in mathematics classrooms to this interaction. The coordination of science and mathematics can be weak even when they have the same head of department. Subjects such as physics, chemistry and technical drawing in which the use of mathematics is long-established are probably better served than the growing areas of new application in geography, biology, home economics, art and history. Sometimes this arises from a misconceived desire to insulate mathematics from the outside world and from the needs of other departments, to see it as a discipline for its own sake and to ignore its service aspects.

8.4 The difficulty pupils experience in transferring skills and concepts learned in the context of the mathematics lessons to less familiar areas of application is a long standing problem which requires further investigation. Able pupils often manage to make this leap without special assistance but for others there can be serious conflicts in methodology, language and symbolism. Widely varying degrees of liaison were found, and examples from both ends of the spectrum are discussed below; but good practice occurred in only a minority of schools.

8.5 Liaison was actively fostered in some schools by passing reminder notices between the staff about the suitable timing of relevant topics within the course. In one case other departments (science, geography, commerce

Table 7F Links between maths teaching and other subjects

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and craft) provided worksheets of typical examples and two members of staff helped each mathematics teaching group with their difficulties. In another school some elementary work in statistics had been introduced to assist the teaching of geography.

8.6 A school was visited in which quite exceptional mathematical work was done in the rural studies department in connection with the raising and care of livestock. Records were kept of the sow and the ewes and then of the young animals. Two lambs were born during the inspection, and they were promptly weighed and 'adopted' by the pupils. Accounts were kept of the costs of the various activities, and no single activity was allowed to run at a loss for very long. Mensuration was involved in the planning of enclosures and the provision of feeding troughs. Some of the slower pupils could make no claim to a knowledge of tables yet all could cope with elementary calculations by some method or another. They got there in the end, however slowly, and "I can't do it" was never heard. In the same school some girls were learning, as part of their mathematics, to enlarge skirt and dress patterns from small diagrams, and they were later to make them in the needlework department. There was further liaison with art and weaving.

8.7 Where there was lack of liaison, profitable work might be taking place in the mathematics department and outside, but some of its potential was unrealised. In a mixed comprehensive school, for example:

The work of the mathematics department, although in many ways good in itself, is being undertaken in almost complete isolation from the rest of the curriculum of this school. The geography teachers themselves teach latitude and longitude with no reference to the children's mathematics courses although for map work some use is made of the skills which the children have acquired in the use of co-ordinates. The teacher of technical drawing teaches all that is required for his course as it were 'from scratch'. It is even more unfortunate that while an art master is obtaining from the children some good work relating to symmetry and to tessellations, much of this work is duplicated in the mathematics lessons at a lower standard of artistry and only the poorer, smaller work is allowed to grace the walls of the mathematics rooms.
8.8 In another school craft, design, European studies, economics and science all had much to offer to the development of pupils' numeracy, but the inter-communication was weak: although the timetable made provision for a faculty meeting each week this had never been used to meet teachers of other subjects.

8.9 With the many changes which have taken place in recent years, particular efforts are necessary to ensure that the terminology and language employed in mathematics are understood in other departments; and to ensure that this language is adaptable to users' needs as well as meeting the internal requirements of the mathematics course. There was some slight evidence that the establishment of appropriate crosslinks is more difficult in larger schools, but these difficulties can be overcome if there is the will to do so. 'Chats during break in the common room' are very useful, but they are insufficient by themselves to ensure the degree of coordination which is desirable.

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8.10 There is a particular need at the moment, in many schools, to discuss the use of electronic calculators. The pupils benefit if there is an agreed policy between different subject departments. If calculators are used, good practice (which includes knowing when not to use the calculator) should be developed as part of the mathematics course.

Mathematics and science

8.11 There have long been problems in establishing a proper relation between the teaching of mathematics and science, and these merit separate discussion. Recently the problems have been accentuated by the efforts to teach mathematics (and not only arithmetic) and science to a broader range of pupils, and also by changes in the syllabuses and in the classroom approaches to both disciplines. There is particular need for continuing liaison between mathematics and science. The successful application of mathematical skills in science is primarily a matter of consultation and joint action; it certainly is not an automatic consequence of any particular kind of syllabus. In one comprehensive school, where the long square root process was still taught and examined, where calculators were discouraged except in sixth form statistics courses, where there was much practice of techniques and where homework was regularly set and marked, the science department made the same complaints about the level of mathematical achievement as those which can be heard in some schools with 'modern' syllabuses - complaints concerning difficulties in calculations, the manipulation of equations and formulae, proportion, and the interpretation of graphs.

8.12 It is necessary to coordinate the methods to be employed. A joint policy is needed for coping with awkward numbers. Cases were found where pupils were expected to use long multiplication and division of decimals in one department, but logarithms or slide rules in the other. Practice in algebraic manipulation may not carry over into science lessons, and it can help if some practice is based on the formulae actually used by the science teacher. The units of measurement to be employed require coordination, and this need extends rights across the curriculum to other departments as well.

8.13 A better fit is often needed between the levels of difficulty and the timing of certain topics in science and mathematics. An extreme case was seen in one school where pupils were expected to cope with newtons, newton/cm2, dynes and joules in the science lesson, but the same pupils were naively delighted with practical work in mathematics involving no more than metres and millimetres.

8.14 The contribution which science teaching can make to general mathematical development was exemplified by a particularly interesting lesson in which the tension in a wire was increased by the addition of 100g masses, and the pupils' grasp of place value was reinforced by the deliberate substitution of a 1kg mass each time 10 x 100g masses had been added, the whole process being talked through with the teacher.

8.15 Not infrequently science teachers attempted unilateral solutions by managing without mathematics as much as possible. This is understandable,

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and there is a positive side to this approach, but it cannot be the best solution for the pupil in the long term. Coordination was often made difficult by having different setting arrangements for the two subjects; there would not appear to be any simple solution to this problem which would be acceptable to both departments.

Mathematics in other areas of the curriculum

8.16 Examples of the enterprising use of mathematical ideas were to be found in many parts of the curriculum. These were sometimes undertaken with the knowledge and collaboration of the mathematics teacher and sometimes without. The examples below are mainly, although by no means exclusively, examples of independent developments taking place in various classrooms, in some cases the teachers responsible not realising the mathematical interest of what was being done.

8.17 In a mixed comprehensive school probability and inference were taught in mathematics and put to good use in biology 'genetics', in chemistry, in careers and in religious education (where surveys were conducted) and most notably in English. Here the pupils made block graphs which illustrated the complexity of language to be found in various newspapers. The graphs were then used to infer attributes of their probable readership.

8.18 In another school, a mixed secondary modern with ability range 0 to 70, strengths were observed right across the curriculum: in visual presentation, the use of diagrams, statistical charts, tables of data, maps, models and scale drawings (carefully taught and exploited not only in mathematics but in environmental studies, geography and technical drawing); in the practice of estimation and the use of measurements found in science, craft and domestic science; in the understanding of money and cash value relevant to a range of curricular subjects; in appreciation of the broader aspects of number encouraged not only in mathematics but also in challenging extracurricular puzzles and in the electronics club; and in the mensuration and general awareness of the geometrical properties of shapes, not only in mathematics but also in the design department.

8.19 Another school, a mixed comprehensive, was especially strong in developing the visual aspects of mathematical communication:

Graphical work was an all-round strength - graphs in science, vector diagrams in mechanics, geometric construction in technical drawing. The pupils' work in art demonstrated a feeling for symmetry and perspective whilst that in geography showed their ability to form hypotheses and infer logical implications. Several of these skills and applications met within the technical illustration department where boys and girls spiritedly took up the challenge to design, construct, illustrate and communicate clearly and economically.
8.20 It was refreshing to find how well and how often pupils could discuss intelligently the mathematical implications of the work they were doing in practical subjects. One craft room had some impressive mathematical models of the well known regular solids and also the much less familiar Kepler-

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Poinsot solids. Craft frequently fostered the development of geometrical ideas by encouraging pupils to read drawings for constructional tasks and to prepare design sketches of their own. Similar backing for the development of geometry was often provided by technical drawing departments, which were frequently much better equipped for their purposes than mathematics rooms. Technical drawing was, however, too often taught as an end in itself and not as a 'language' with wide areas of application. In the fourth and fifth years technical drawing was overwhelmingly a subject for boys.

8.21 Girls were frequently well served by the needlework and home economics courses. Mathematical development, as such, is a minor criterion when assessing the overall merits of courses in these subjects, but the mathematical opportunities they offered were often substantial; and sometimes these opportunities were realised with great success. In one class boys as well as girls were making attractive soft balls from pentagons, and enjoying argument about the possibilities with different shapes. They were also learning about cutting shapes advantageously from a larger piece of material, but not at the cost of getting the grain crooked. This work provided good opportunities for estimating quantities and cost, and in some cases they were able to improve on the stated quantities in the printed pattern.

8.22 Art also provided frequent opportunities for the intuitive appreciation of geometrical ideas, and sometimes these became the subject for reflective analysis. Some of the drawings and paintings seen, based on changing shapes, could have illustrated a book on topology. One department undertook extensive work in technical illustration with deformed maps, logograms, non-verbal instruction signs and the graphic presentation of accident statistics.

8.23 Good work was seen with less able pupils in connection with actual athletic performances and with rural studies. One pupil was able to derive a whole explanation of the growing of sugar beet from a block graph of the monthly man-hours expended in tending it.

8.24 Geography provided numerous examples of work which was fruitful mathematically. Some of this work was with maps, some of it was statistical and some of it involved various forms of chart and graph. One teacher, scrupulous in the use of the correct names for various types of chart, expected the same from the pupils. In a school with some very able mathematicians opportunities for genuinely original enquiries seemed rare within the mathematics rooms - although the same pupils undertook highly mathematical studies within geography.

8.25 In these various ways teachers who worked in other subject areas made a major contribution to pupils' mathematical education. In many schools, sometimes because of a shortage of mathematics specialists, a substantial amount of mathematics teaching was done by teachers whose qualifications and main interests were elsewhere. Yet opportunities for cross-references were often lost, and teachers who were in a position to enrich the mathe-

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matics taught did the opposite, teaching very narrow, computationally oriented mathematics because they believed this to be what was expected of them.


9.1 In the schools included in the survey there were 3,365 teachers taking part in the mathematics teaching. 1,809 (54 per cent) were teaching the subject for more than three-quarters of the week, 837 (25 per cent) for between one-quarter and three-quarters of the week and 719 (21 per cent) for less than one-quarter of the week. This amount of teaching is equivalent to that which would be undertaken by about 2,300 teachers with a full timetable in the subject. Schools were asked how many unfilled mathematics posts there were, whether full or part-time, and these amounted to the equivalent of less than 2 per cent of the mathematics teachers in the survey.

9.2 Although 21 per cent of the teachers are teaching the subject for up to one-quarter of the week, overall this is unlikely to account for more than about 5 per cent of the teaching time devoted to mathematics. Three-quarters of the teaching is in the hands of the 54 per cent of teachers who spend very little, if any, time teaching other subjects. Just over a half of these specialists had been less than 3 years in their current schools, and nearly one-fifth had been less than 1 year. During the period of the survey there was a marked trend towards greater stability.


9.3 Of the 3,365 teachers of mathematics 27 per cent were graduates with mathematics as their first stated degree subject. In grammar schools these graduates amounted to almost two-thirds of the teachers, and in comprehensive schools to just over one-fifth. Some 28 per cent of the 3,365 were non-graduates who had studied mathematics as their main subject. About a further 22 per cent, whether graduates or not, had mathematics as their second subject of qualification, while the remaining 23 per cent did not have mathematics as either their first or second subject of qualification.

9.4 The proportions of the total teaching of mathematics undertaken by teachers in each of these categories of subject qualification differ from the proportions of teachers in the categories because the teachers do not all devote the same fraction of their time to the subject. Thus of the total teaching, some 33 per cent was undertaken by graduates with mathematics as their first stated degree subject; some 45 per cent by others, whether graduates with mathematics as their second stated subject of study, or non-graduates with mathematics as their first or second subject of qualification. This leaves some 22 per cent of the teaching of mathematics being undertaken by those lacking either a main or subsidiary qualification in the subject. However, this teaching includes some that is of a remedial nature for which alternative qualifications may be at least equally appropriate.

9.5 Discussions with heads of the schools indicated that nearly 40 per cent of the teachers of mathematics were capable of teaching the subject beyond O-level and another 30 per cent up to and including O-Ievel. The remaining

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30 per cent were rated capable of teaching mathematics only to a level below this. It was thought by the heads that some 10 per cent of teachers might be able to improve the range of their teaching by in-service training, which provides a national estimate of rather more than 3,000 teachers in this category. The teachers who were rated as capable of teaching only to below O-Ievel provided at least one-eighth of mathematics teaching. When using O-Ievel as a reference point to assess teaching capability it was, of course, understood that the teacher's knowledge of the subject would have to extend well beyond the level taught if the teaching was to be successful.

9.6 Another measure of the suitability of qualifications was provided through the following question addressed to heads: "If you could 'trade' staff, how many more teachers with suitable mathematical qualifications would you wish to have in substitution for existing teachers? 'Suitable qualifications' does not necessarily imply having a mathematics degree." The results indicate that 404 teachers were in this category, and extrapolated nationally this would total about 4,500 altogether. In response to a second question, "How many mathematics periods per week are taught by staff who are in your opinion insufficiently qualified in the subject?", 204 heads said none. 167 schools reported deficiencies totalling about 4,800 periods (adjusted to a notional 40-period week). To staff these periods in the schools concerned with sufficiently qualified teachers would require between 220 and 260 full-time equivalents. Nationally this would gross up to between 2,500 and 3,000 teachers.

9.7 Data of this kind are not easy to interpret, but may indicate the order of magnitude of the deficit of suitable teachers of mathematics in secondary schools. The discrepancy between the two estimates is easily explained, since heads could recognise that a teacher might possess sufficient qualifications in the subject, but nevertheless wish to replace him/her by someone more suitably equipped with experience or classroom skill.

9.8 These estimates of deficit exceed the earlier ones made over the years in the DES survey of teacher shortage. This may indicate that heads are becoming more stringent in their judgements as the overall supply of teachers improves. The estimates were not adjusted by subtracting the suitably qualified mathematics teachers who were surplus to requirement in some schools, as the teacher shortage survey estimates were. These various estimates indicate a need for between 2,500 and 4,000 teachers, which would have to be met partly by training new teachers and partly by the in-service training of existing teachers. Since there is only a small number of vacant posts, there could be a considerable problem of employing additional suitable people even if they were available.

Summing up

The assessments

10.1 The assessments of provision and response, based on the criteria given in paragraphs 1.1 to 1.6, were summarised by overall gradings at six levels, as described in Chapter 5. These may be reduced to three levels - creditable (or better), acceptable with varying degrees of reservation, unsatisfactory.

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For the middle category, 'acceptable' is to be interpreted in terms of the general standards prevailing in comparable schools. Schools in this category displayed inadequacies of staffing, equipment, accommodation, or planning, or in the realisation of their curricular arms to varying degrees. Measures are needed to improve their deficiencies, as appropriate. On this basis the conclusions reached in the 384 schools are summarised in Table 7G.

10.2 It should be emphasised that the percentages quoted indicate the assessments given to the schools in the sample; and with another sample of schools the figures would have been somewhat different*. Furthermore, each graded assessment was a complex judgement involving many factors, which might have been weighted a little differently by other observers. Assessments cannot be classified in any way which eliminates borderline cases. The percentages indicate the general pattern of the assessments considered overall; and the most important features are the differences which appear consistently across the tables.

10.3 The tables bring out the particular difficulties which schools have in providing for their less able pupils; in nearly one half of the schools the provision for these pupils was unsatisfactory. The schools were more successful in making suitable provision for their average pupils, and still more successful in providing for their more able pupils.

10.4 The characteristics of unsatisfactory provision have been described in detail earlier, but they may be recapitulated briefly. There is a tendency to restrict the courses provided for the less able to routine calculation divorced from context, and to fail to provide a sufficient range of applications of the mathematical ideas within the understanding of the pupils. Where the more able are concerned there is a similar restrictiveness, allowance being made for the greater mathematical aptitude of these pupils. The ideas

Table 7G Assessment of provision and response: by ability groups

*Sampling error is discussed in Appendix 2.

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of the course need to be shown in a broader setting, with more attention to the relevance of mathematics to other subjects in the curriculum and to the world outside. The pupils need opportunities to undertake more independent work, and encouragement to read about mathematics for themselves.

10.5 The response of the less able pupils in schools is a generally acknowledged educational problem, and it was a matter which schools themselves often raised in the course of visits. The assessments of the response of the less able were, as was to be expected, less favourable than the assessments of the other two groups, and they were 'unsatisfactory' in one third of the schools. Pupil response was discussed more fully in paragraphs 6.22 to 6.31.

10.6 The response of the pupils was generally rated somewhat more favourably than the provision. This indicates that in the judgement of HMI more could be done to plan and provide courses which match the efforts which pupils are prepared to make, within the limitations imposed by their varying abilities.

Mathematics in the curriculum

10.7 Mathematics has a secure place in the curriculum, and is a compulsory subject until the end of the fifth year of secondary education for all but a very small number of pupils. It is extremely rare for adequate time not to be provided in the fourth and fifth years, and then the reason is almost always a shortage of suitably qualified staff. The mathematics courses provided for the average and more able pupils were acceptable or better (with reservations on particular matters) in some 80 per cent of the schools visited. The provision of suitable courses for their less able pupils present schools with greater problems and these courses were satisfactory in only some 50 per cent of the schools. The improvement of these courses is a matter requiring urgent attention, and some suggestions are contained in the discussion in paragraphs 6.1 to 6.31.

10.8 The value of a qualification in mathematics is widely recognised. and schools are at pains to enable their pupils to acquire such qualifications if they can. More than 80 per cent of the pupils are on courses leading to O-level or CSE examinations. As this range is considerably wider than was envisaged when CSE examinations were introduced, discussion is needed of the breadth of work and the levels of competence which should receive certification. The results of mathematics examinations are used by employers and by further education institutions for a variety of purposes. In some cases specific mathematical skills are needed for particular fields of employment, either directly on the job or in order to follow training courses associated with it. In other cases success in mathematics is taken as an indicator of general ability, and the particular range of mathematical knowledge acquired is not of primary importance. These considerations affect the type of certification required, and this in turn affects the type of teaching which is possible. Public confidence and the freedom of schools to design their own courses are both involved, and schools and public could both benefit if their respective difficulties were better understood.

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10.9 Mathematics is a subject for which pupils' aptitudes and inclinations vary greatly, and the design of courses with suitable content and of a suitable level of difficulty for pupils of varying abilities continues to present problems.

10.10 The problems are most difficult at the two ends of the ability range. While the courses provided for the 'more able' pupils are satisfactory in the great majority of schools, these courses do not always stretch the few 'most able' students to their full capacity. Schools have to meet many demands, and most commonly take the view that the normal preparation for O-Ievel examinations provides sufficiently for the most able pupils, who will have opportunities to continue their mathematical studies later if they are so inclined. This view does not recognise the value of stretching these pupils to the full at a crucial stage of their development, and it does not present a sufficiently broad or challenging interpretation of mathematics to those very able pupils who terminate their study of the subject at this stage. The curriculum of the average and more able pupils is determined almost entirely by the examination syllabuses and by the contents of the textbooks in use. There is insufficient awareness that man's stock of mathematical knowledge is growing all the time, and is applied in the world around in fresh and original ways.

Types of course and the problems of balance

10.11 Mathematics courses display considerable variety, not merely because of the range of ability for which they must cater, but also because of the intensive curricular developments which started in the sixties. Today courses which may be described as 'traditional', 'compromise' and 'modern' occur in approximately equal proportions in schools. These are only broad classifications; much material is common to the three types of course, although there are many differences in detail even within each type. The introduction of modern courses in the sixties and early seventies did not present a final solution to problems of syllabus design, and it was not the intention of the innovators that it should. The need for a continuing reappraisal of course content remains. The present trend is for more schools to provide compromise courses, and for many schools to provide traditional courses for their less able pupils in the fourth and fifth years, even when they are providing modern courses for these pupils earlier. At GCE level the modern and compromise courses seen on the survey appeared, generally speaking, to make more satisfactory all round provision than traditional courses did. (The criteria employed in reaching this conclusion are described at the beginning of the chapter.) At CSE level similar conclusions applied; modern courses made better provision than compromise courses, which in their turn made better provision than traditional courses. No similar pattern was found in the provision for non-examination courses; the quality of these courses did not depend on whether they were modern or traditional so much as on the quality of personal relationships established in the classroom and on the success with which the mathematics was successfully related to the world outside. While modern courses appeared more effective provision than traditional courses this was by no means an automatic consequence of the material in the syllabus. There were indications that teachers who had introduced new types of course had also had occasion to think more deeply

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about the raison d'être of the material they were teaching, with consequent benefit to the general quality of the work they did.

10.12 Many schools are not finding it easy to strike an appropriate balance between the varied demands which are being made on them at the moment, and it is understandable if they sometimes find the demands contradictory. In particular, a number of schools experience difficulty in reconciling the broader range of mathematics which is contained in the newer schemes of work and examination syllabuses with the need to maintain proficiency in traditional arithmetical skills. The dilemma of these schools is accentuated by current demands for 'greater numeracy', because the notion of numeracy is so often ill defined. In a great many cases the schools are responding by concentrating narrowly on computational skills, devoid of context or application, in a way which easily becomes counterproductive. The notion of numeracy should certainly include more than accurate computation - it should include the ability to make rough estimates, and the ability to apply knowledge in fresh circumstances, working to the appropriate degree of accuracy. The practice of the most successful schools in the survey showed that broad syllabuses are completely compatible with competence in traditional skills.

10.13 The tendency of schools to concentrate on a narrow range of skills, because they believe it to be an appropriate response to the demands which are being made on them, or because they believe it to be the most effective way to ensure success in the examination syllabus to which they are committed, increased towards the end of the survey. This was to some extent a reaction to the trend over the previous fifteen years to broaden both approaches to the subject and the range of topics examined. This trend has produced an unsatisfactory balance in the pattern of work in a number of schools where the new ideas have been adopted uncritically. Some schools seen in the survey with modern or compromise syllabuses were presenting a great variety of topics which overloaded their pupils, particularly those who were not among the more able. The possible harm in such schemes of work is not in the breadth and variety themselves, but in the failure to identify the ideas which are essential for later progress, and which have to be mastered, amongst the wider range of ideas which offer opportunities for exploratory thinking and which make the subject more interesting. The remedy for such an omission is not to swing to the opposite extreme, but to consider the various needs which the scheme of work has to meet, and to keep the content of the course and the teaching methods under continuous review.

Mathematics, other subjects and the world outside

10.14 Whatever the mathematics syllabus, the ideas were, far more often than not, presented in a very narrow way. This was so even when the range of topics, as with some modern syllabuses, was large. Topics which had been introduced by textbook writers because of the opportunities they offered for discussion and exciting development were reduced to routine exercises, and the teaching aspired to do little more than cover the skills required. Illustrations or applications of the syllabus which were not examined were rarely taught. Mathematics was too little related to the world outside and to other subjects in the school, even when these subjects either needed to apply

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mathematical techniques directly (as in science), or when they gave broader illustrations of ideas which were explicitly on the syllabus. The lack of success in bringing out the purpose of the skills and techniques studied in mathematics is not due intrinsically to the syllabuses in use (traditional or modern); it is far more a matter of the way in which syllabuses are interpreted. It was in non-examination courses, and in some cases CSE courses, that the clearest attempts were made to base teaching on topics from the world outside; but much remains to be done to provide suitable source material and to develop the ideas in ways which capture the interest of the pupils and convince them that the ideas matter.

10.15 Some mathematical ideas might best be encountered for the first time in other classrooms of the school, with subsequent coordinated follow-up in mathematics lessons. High priority should be given to the establishment of better interdepartmental links, especially with the science and craft departments, where the effect of inadequate liaison can frequently be seen. Teachers in these other departments likewise have a responsibility to recognise their influence on pupils' mathematical development. It is important to use mathematical language which the pupils understand, and to listen sympathetically to the language which the pupils offer. The thoughtful and precise use of language, with the minimum technicality, plays a bigger part in pupils' mathematical development than is sometimes recognised.

10.16 Mathematics lessons in their turn could make a more substantial contribution to pupils' general language development. The subject offers opportunities for discussion, pupil with pupil, and pupil with teacher, which are insufficiently taken up. This does not necessarily demand any infusion of fresh mathematical topics into the classroom, as questions which are common in any course can be handled from this point of view. In a similar way, more encouragement could often be given to the orderly presentation of written solutions to problems. Some pupils may find difficulty enough in performing the calculations, but all should be urged, within their capacity, towards clear and concise expression. Mathematical signs make sense only if they occur in properly constructed sentences. The need for clear presentation is especially plain when mathematical ideas are used in other subjects. Where the need for development on these lines is accepted, schools might initiate staff discussion.

10.17 While it was not a matter for systematic study in the survey, it was evident that the development of the teaching of mathematics in a school can be handicapped if enterprising work is misunderstood by parents, local employers or further education institutions. As the scheme of work in a school is developed it is advisable to find ways of discussing the school's aims and methods with these groups of people. Such discussions are important for other reasons as well. As the survey proceeded it became clear that locally instituted tests of numeracy were playing an increasing, although still small, part in determining the curriculum of the pupils, especially the less able. The purpose of such tests, and the extent to which the purpose is being achieved, require continuing review.

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Rooms and equipment

10.18 The development of appropriate teaching methods can be substantially handicapped by the absence of suitably equipped teaching rooms. The allocation of rooms is only a first but a necessary step. Improvement in the teaching and in the response of the pupils is difficult to achieve unless the rooms are suitably equipped, with proper provision for drawing and graphical work, the use of reference material, and practical investigations where these are required in the course. The efficient running of a mathematics department is further facilitated if the teaching rooms are conveniently grouped.

10.19 The use of electronic calculators will need to be kept under review over the next few years. Every school requires a coordinated policy for the use of calculators in the various subjects of the curriculum, and in the development of this policy mathematics departments have a particular responsibility. Pupils need to know the proper ways of using a calculator, and know when to do without a machine as well as when to use it. They need to form good habits, making preliminary mental estimates, performing suitable checks, and knowing what to do when a machine is not working properly.

10.20 At the time of the survey only some 4 per cent of the pupils in years 4 and 5 were involved in the use of computers. Great changes have occurred since then, and machines with a computing capacity which a few years ago was available only to a few specialists are now available at prices comparable with those of many pieces of standard school equipment. These machines are affecting many areas of employment, recreation and domestic and public life. Their educational use raises many questions which require discussion. Micro-computers could affect all areas of the curriculum to varying extents, and among the possibilities they offer, teachers need to study the opportunities for teaching mathematics more effectively. Every aspect of the traditional syllabus could be involved; it will be necessary to consider what fresh mathematical ideas can appropriately be introduced to pupils of various abilities; the manner in which pupils should themselves use machines will require discussion; and it will be necessary to understand the various ways in which a machine can be used, for example as a calculator, as a catalogue, as an index, as a teaching machine, or as a source of graphs and diagrams, both static and moving.

Heads of department, teaching staff and in-service training

10.21 Reorganisation, with consequent increase in both the size of schools and the ability range of the pupils, has increased the responsibilities of heads of department considerably. The extent of these responsibilities is not always recognised. Heads of department have large teams to organise, the members of which are not all equally well qualified; and some of the team, whatever their initial qualifications, may still require experience in working with pupils with widely ranging abilities and needs. In schools of any type heads of department carry particular responsibilities for maintaining an up to date knowledge of developments in the subject and its teaching, and by their example they set standards for others.

10.22 The survey revealed a considerable number of schools of solid achievement, with well led mathematics departments, whose practices could serve

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as an example. They showed the value of systematic consultation within a department, and the importance of agreed policies on such matters as marking and assessment. In some cases good leadership from the head of department produced teaching of a quality dramatically greater than that to be found in schools which were comparable in all other respects. It is a task for LEAs and their partners in in-service training to identify such schools and to find ways of disseminating their excellence more widely. If current standards of mathematical education are to be improved the raising of the quality of leadership at this level may be the most important single factor. Authorities are usually aware of the need for in-service programmes to provide suitable training for heads of department, but there are many competing claims for the limited resources. Heads of department particularly need opportunity and encouragement to meet others engaged in the same work for discussion, for an extensive critical comparison of aims, and for the wider dissemination of the best practice.

10.23 The provision of sufficient suitably qualified mathematics teachers must continue to be a matter of concern, and there is no indication that needs are likely to be met in the near future. Greater stability of staffing is likely in the future and this is generally to be welcomed, although in many cases it may mean that teachers with poor qualifications in mathematics, or teachers who lack sympathy with current syllabuses and teaching objectives, cannot be transferred to other duties. In some schools and in some areas of the country declining rolls may accentuate this problem.

10.24 In addition to providing a continuing updating of the knowledge of all mathematics teachers, the training programme needs to improve the existing professional and mathematical capability of between 2,500 and 4,000 teachers of the subject. A programme of this magnitude requires time and careful planning, and the fullest use of the available resources. Previous experience of training programmes together with a consideration of schools' present needs suggests that a strong effort should be made with school-based in-service training. Such an approach enables the programme of study to be based directly on the questions of syllabus and teaching style which confront the teacher in his daily work. A joint attack can be made on the problem by the whole staff, and discussions of new developments of teaching content and method can be based on common previous experience. In some schools a programme of in-service training could be based on their own resources; indeed in some mathematical departments good leadership has already produced the results which training programmes set out to achieve. In most schools however a measure of external support is to be recommended, and the type of external support must depend on what is locally available. The support could often come most naturally from the advisory services of the LEA, but the number of schools requiring help and the range of knowledge required if the full needs of an 11 to 18 school are to be met means that LEAs will have to utilise all the available support from the training institutions in the area. In some cases useful support could also come from other institutions of higher education or from persons outside teaching, by way of schools and industry liaison groups and other similar bodies. The wide

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range of professional publications on mathematics and its teaching is very little known in many schools, and one task for in-service training programmes is to make this literature more widely available and more widely discussed.

10.25 The many programmes of study for serving teachers which are already organised by training institutions require continuing support; and where circumstances justify it, expansion. These programmes also require continuing appraisal, to ensure that they are actually meeting the needs of the teachers involved. No cases came to light in the survey of in-service training deriving from local radio or from such means as the circulation of video-tapes, but less conventional methods such as these might make a contribution.

10.26 Whatever the methods of training employed, the prime need is to increase the teacher's knowledge of his subject and its teaching, and his ability to make professional decisions of his own. No syllabus or scheme of work can make sense to the pupils unless the teacher is convinced of its validity and accepts personal responsibility for what the pupils are being taught.

10.27 Many decisions are demanded of the teacher. The teaching of mathematics presents the familiar range of questions of class management, with the attendant problems of human relationships; it also presents the problems of a subject which many people, young and old, find intrinsically difficult; in addition it presents the problems of designing well balanced courses at a time of rapidly increasing knowledge and rapidly changing needs. With these tasks the majority of schools and teachers are coping creditably, although in some cases, especially in the teaching of the less able, substantial problems have still to be solved. In tackling these problems teachers require the fullest possible support.

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8 Science

Place of science in the curriculum - take-up by pupils - character and content of courses - science and other subjects of the curriculum - extracurricular activities - accommodation and resources - staffing-organisation and work of science departments - teaching styles - assessment and evaluation - general summary of provision - response of pupils - general summary of 'response' - general discussion of main findings and issues - Annex: assessments related to uptake of Nuffield project.


0.1 This Chapter contains a description and discussion first of the provision for the study of science in the varying circumstances of schools, and secondly of the response of pupils to that provision. Issues for further consideration are then identified and possible lines of development and action are discussed. As with mathematics, it was hoped to note some use of the processes and knowledge of science not only in science departments but also in other subject areas; that is, HM Inspectors intended to assess science education across the curriculum. In the great majority of schools, however, it was disappointing to find that little science appeared anywhere in the curriculum outside science subjects themselves and consequently this Chapter is mainly about the work of school science departments. At the end of each inspection, HM Inspectors awarded grades for each of the three ability categories* of pupils in respect of the provision for science and the response of the pupils to that provision.

Place of science in the curriculum

1.1 Science subjects featured in the fourth and fifth year curriculum of all the schools visited. Schools offered a wide range of science courses to their pupils: in addition to physics, chemistry and biology, courses in rural studies, environmental science, human biology, forestry, horticulture, materials science, physics with chemistry, general science, electronics, engineering science and technology were noted. In one 11 to 18 full range comprehensive school, with almost 2,000 pupils, as many as eight different science courses were taught to fourth and fifth year pupils, while in a small secondary modern school for girls containing 366 pupils, an optional biology course was the only science subject available. However, very few schools were in either of these two extreme categories. Almost all the full and restricted range comprehensive schools, the grammar schools and about 75 per cent of the transitional comprehensives and modern schools offered physics, chemistry and biology. About four-fifths of full and restricted range comprehensive schools and one-third of transitional and secondary modern schools provided at least one, and in most cases two, other science courses. Human biology, general science, rural studies and physics with chemistry were the most commonly available additional subjects. In several modern schools, chemistry courses were not available, although reasonable alternatives such as physics with chemistry were provided, but in other such schools either general science or biology were sometimes the only science courses taught. Approximately one-third of the transitional comprehensive schools were in the

*See Chapter 5.

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process of extending the range of science courses in order to meet the educational needs of pupils from a non-selected intake: in one such school pupils in the fifth year could take either biology or general science while those from a wider ability range in the fourth year were able to study physics, chemistry and biology.

Take-up by pupils

Compulsion and choice

2.1 7 per cent of schools included science in a basic core of compulsory subjects taken by all pupils, 12 per cent required pupils to take at least one science from a group of 'optional' subjects, making it in effect compulsory; 63 per cent offered it as part of a scheme of non-compulsory subjects while a further 18 per cent adopted some combination of these arrangements. Grammar schools were exceptional, since about 50 per cent offered science as an optional subject and 40 per cent made it actually or in effect compulsory. Where science was included in a basic core of compulsory subjects taken by all pupils, the course offered was usually one of physics, chemistry, biology or physical science. There were often particular reasons for this, as in one restricted range comprehensive school in an area where local employment prospects were closely related to the requirements of a single major engineering firm. Both staff and pupils recognised the importance of physics and as a result it was included in the core of compulsory subjects. A majority of the pupils also elected to take chemistry but unfortunately there was no biology course. These arrangements illustrate the problems faced by schools trying to reconcile the apparent need to maintain science courses in the separate sciences which are acceptable and recognisable to local employers and parents with the educational desirability of providing a balanced science course which reflects the basic elements of the three sciences, without taking up an excessive proportion of the total teaching time.

Number of science subjects studied

2.2 Information relating to the numbers of science subjects studied by individual pupils was obtained from a sample of each type of school and is shown in Table 8A. 204 schools provided detailed statistics and although this represents only about half the schools involved in the survey, the results shown in Table 8A are in accord with HM Inspectors' general experience of the take-up of science in the fourth and fifth years. Wide variations within individual schools of all types were observed: in one untypical secondary modern school 40 per cent of the pupils in both the fourth and fifth years did no science. Equally unusual were the arrangements found in the fifth year of a girls' grammar school where 105 out of 106 girls studied all three science subjects. Most schools, however, adopted the policy of either expecting or encouraging all pupils to take at least one science. Nevertheless, it is a matter for concern that in this sample of schools, 9 per cent of the boys and 17 per cent of the girls did no science in their fourth and fifth years, and about 50 per cent and 60 per cent respectively were studying only one science subject.

2.3 Table 8B shows the numbers of boys and girls taking different science courses in years 4 and 5 in each of the five types of schools. The figures refer to O-Ievel, CSE and non-examination courses, all added together. It will be

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seen that the separate science subjects, physics, chemistry and biology, were taken by a much greater proportion of pupils in grammar schools than in other types of schools while integrated and general science courses were much less frequent in grammar schools. Modern schools offer a greater proportion of 'other sciences' than other categories of schools. The differences between the choices of science subjects made by boys and girls are apparent, with far more boys than girls taking physics and many more girls than boys taking biology. Girls were more likely to take physics or chemistry in grammar schools than in other types of schools. Taking all the pupils together, there is more biology studied than either physics or chemistry.

Table 8A Numbers of science subjects studied in the fourth and fifth years: by type of school and sex of pupils

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Girls and science

2.4 The figures given in Tables 8A and 8B not only show that large numbers of girls as well as boys do not follow balanced science courses in years 4 and 5*, but also that girls do substantially less science than boys in these years.

Table 8B Science subjects studied by pupils in the fourth and fifth years: by type of school and sex of pupils

*See paragraphs 2.1 and 14.1 to 14.5.

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2.5 Tables 8C and 8D show the differences between the take-up by girls and boys of various science subjects in single sex and mixed schools of the five types, modern, grammar, full range comprehensive, restricted range comprehensive, transitional. In all types of school, girls are much more likely to select biological sciences and boys to select physical sciences. It is sometimes claimed that a higher proportion of girls do physics in single-sex than in mixed schools. These tables show this to be so only for single-sex grammar schools; there were too few single-sex comprehensive schools to allow valid comparisons to be made. The infrequent uptake of physics by girls in girls' modern schools reflected traditional attitudes to this subject in some of these schools.

2.6 It should be noted that in Tables 8C and 8D it is not to be expected that the percentages will add up to 100. The percentages of pupils taking no science are not shown and in many cases pupils take more than one science subject and therefore are entered more than once in the tables.

Table 8C Science subjects studied by girls in the fourth and fifth years in single sex and mixed schools: by type of school

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2.7 There was no evidence that girls were being deliberately excluded from taking physical science courses, even though the view persisted (expressed by science teachers in some schools) that boys should study physics and girls should do biology. Some teachers claimed that physics was too difficult for girls. Often, there was no positive encouragement. Sometimes, groupings of subjects in an option system were such that a physical science subject was set against what both the staff and the girls considered to be a 'girls' subject'. For example, if, as occasionally happened, there was a choice between physics and typing or between physics and home economics, very few girls opted to take physics. In some cases poor guidance led to an unsuitable selection of courses; appropriate information about the career implications of subject choice was not always given.

2.8 Both boys and girls may be discouraged by courses which are too academic and difficult. It was interesting to note that greater numbers of girls chose

Table 8D Science subjects studied by boys in the fourth and fifth years in single sex and mixed schools: by type of school

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to take physical sciences when care was taken to teach the skills of science and to increase their confidence by basing the work on well structured, investigative practical exercises. Boys were more likely to be considering careers involving science in one way or another and therefore the career implications of omitting from their choices one or more science subjects were more evident to them than to the girls. Consequently, boys were prepared to tolerate science better when it was not well taught. There was no time during the survey to investigate further the factors influencing the take-up by girls of courses in the physical sciences but a more detailed study is being conducted by HM Inspectors and the findings may be published later.*

Character and content of courses

Examination objectives

3.1 The importance of public examinations was evident in all schools, both for individual pupils and departments, and results for each of the two academic years prior to the survey visit were available. Examination success was eagerly sought by a high proportion of both pupils and teachers but in a considerable number of schools this aim was regarded by teachers as being incompatible with a teaching style which sought to develop analytical and predictive thinking. The situation in several schools did not lend support to this view; although the examination results had no direct bearing upon the work of the pupils seen, these schools had achieved commendable examination success in previous years even though the pupils were encouraged to investigate, predict and search for their own knowledge†. In one rural girls' grammar school which had a good record of examination success, the teachers' expectations were high and the pupils responded in an intelligent and industrious manner. Their written work was carefully presented and detailed, containing examples of accurate descriptive writing as well as evidence of mathematical competence and a scientific approach to learning. In a suburban boys' comprehensive school there was some challenging work in chemistry with a strong emphasis on pupil involvement and understanding which had produced excellent examination results, including a high proportion of upper grades, despite a smaller than normal time allocation (three periods per week in the fourth and fifth years). However, in physics, which was compulsory, the teaching was overdirected, notes were dictated and only a minimum of practical work was done (and even then only to confirm previously stated laws and principles) and the examination results were extremely poor.

3.2 In a number of schools in which curriculum development projects had been adopted pupils had been encouraged to think and speculate and the recent examination results of pupils who had completed such courses were very creditable. A particularly successful case was the grammar school where the Head of Science had been involved in the developmental work of modern science teaching and where the work in chemistry was based on investigatory practical work to a very considerable extent in both fourth and fifth forms. There was less practical work in the biology and physics in the fifth year. However, there were some schools which presented a depressing and lifeless situation, where the interaction between teaching and learning was minimal. An extreme case was found in an inner city school where biology projects required as part of the examination had not been started by the majority and

*Curricular differences for boys and girls, Education Survey 21, HMSO, 1975, considers some of the issues.

†See paragraph 14.14.

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attendance was only about 50 per cent in the fifth year. Examination results were as might have been expected. Few pupils continued long enough in order to take the examinations for CSE in general science.

3.3 There were many situations where too much directed response was asked of pupils. Less time needs to be spent on the dictated note and a more ambitious programme of experimental work needs to be developed. The demands of external examinations may rightly be acknowledged but do not need to be the sole motivating influence for both staff and pupils. The enthusiasm and competence of the teaching staff and enlightened teaching methods are the crucial requirements for successful teaching, whatever the ultimate target.

Schemes of work

3.4 The best schemes of work seen during the survey had clear aims and objectives and specified skills, ideas and attitudes expected to arise from the science courses. Details were given of what was to be taught and a teaching order indicated. Suggestions about ways of teaching the material, related to the aims and objectives of the schemes, were given and also notes about the apparatus available and the depth of treatment required; all this was of help to the new or inexperienced teacher and a useful reminder to the experienced. It might also be noted that schemes of work provide a basis for useful discussions with other departments, thus encouraging coordination between the teaching of science and other subjects. In contrast there were science departments with no schemes of work for the fourth and fifth years. The only guidance available was provided by the GCE and CSE science syllabuses. These describe the content of what the examiners expect but they are not intended as schemes of work and do not necessarily give the best teaching order of the material. Quite apart from the questions of guidance to all the teachers concerned, the absence of proper schemes makes it difficult to provide the necessary continuity if a teacher leaves or is absent for an extended period.

Relevance and application of school science

3.5 A question of some interest is the degree to which school science courses include up-to-date and relevant practical applications of the concepts and principles being studied. Applications can concern the everyday life of the pupils, industry and the biological environment.

3.6 An enquiry into the range and effectiveness of existing links between industry and science teaching was outside the scope of the survey. However evidence was found in at least 16 schools of major attempts to enrich the science teaching and enhance its relevance to pupils by reference to industrial processes and practices, and as the survey proceeded more schools seemed to be becoming interested in developing this aspect. One enthusiastic science teacher used his industrial experience to point out to his pupils, who were using a thermometer to measure the rate of cooling of a liquid in insulated and non-insulated containers, the economic importance of energy conservation in industry. He challenged them to consider ways of measuring the temperature of molten iron in a steel works and as a result pupils appreciated the importance and the difficulties of high temperature measurement. This

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approach added interest and stimulated a lively discussion. In a similar way another teacher, without industrial experience, concluded a chemistry lesson, during which pupils had electrolysed copper sulphate solution using different electrodes, by explaining the scientific principles involved and the importance of this and similar processes in the electro-plating industry and in the purification of a number of important elements. A few schools were actively developing Mode III and non-examination courses which involved industrial visits. Some science departments had a copy of a 'resources directory' prepared by the LEA in conjunction with local industrialists which listed firms willing to provide lecturers, facilities for visits and other forms of assistance, and there was evidence that teachers had attended LEA inservice courses designed to explore ways of incorporating ideas relevant to local industry into existing science courses.

3.7 Most science courses concentrated on science concepts and failed to provide either the stimulus or the opportunity for the pupils to observe applications and to become personally involved in applying these concepts. Even more rarely were the pupils asked to use their science in order to improve a product made by empirical methods. Pupils were seen to enjoy and benefit from technological projects such as building a simple control system or learning how to effect simple adjustments to appliances. However, links with the craft, design and technology department and with external institutions, which help pupils to appreciate the use of scientific concepts in technological situations, were rarely found. Nevertheless, in a few schools some excellent work in electronics and engineering science was seen - the work was invariably taught enthusiastically, the pupils were keen, their records were good and the electronic devices which they constructed were usually of a high standard; in these schools both the thinking and the discussions were often of excellent quality.

3.8 Lessons which emphasised the practical application of scientific principles were not confined to the physical sciences. In about 10 per cent of the schools of all types, some use was made of either the immediate environment of the school or field study centres. One urban full range comprehensive school made effective use of a small lake which was conveniently located in a nearby park: the ecology of this area provided a rich source of problem solving exercises for the pupils and an interesting background for much of the biology teaching. Consideration of the biological development of the individual produced an interested response from pupils in about 70 per cent of all the schools where the topic was observed. Similarly when the study of respiration, nutrition and circulatory systems were made relevant and understandable to the pupils by referring to the medical implications, their importance in the training of athletes and in general fitness, the pupils' motivation and interest were considerably increased. Environmental issues and their relationship with science gave added relevance to the work in less than 5 per cent of the schools; on one occasion a lesson on the nitrogen cycle and crop rotation was coupled with a consideration of the social, economic and environmental implications associated with the excessive

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use of fertilisers. Pupils were encouraged to examine these issues and the available facts in a balanced way, arriving at considered judgements rather than emotive generalisations.

3.9 Teachers often referred to an inflexible timetable, a lack of finance and other constraints as factors which inhibited the use of external resources in schools, and some of them also felt that the demands of current examination syllabuses limited such opportunities. These comments tended to confirm the impression gained during the survey that external resources, such as materials from industry, museums, field centres and many organisations were generally under-utilised.

Science and other subjects of the curriculum

Present position

4.1 Activities in other subject departments were observed where possible in order to assess areas in which the processes of scientific thought and enquiry played a part. In the home economics department of one school, pupils investigated the properties and characteristics of some commonly available fabrics. This involved careful observation, experimental design and the testing of hypotheses. In another school a geography lesson during a field study involved observation, selection of material, recording of information and the seeking of patterns amongst the facts observed; laboratory work included the testing of soil samples from the area. Other examples included the school where there was a good discussion between pupil and teacher about the best place to cook mince pies in an oven, the schools where structures and materials were investigated in technical studies and one where the power output of a motor was investigated using different octane fuels, and the music department where there was a discussion of the physics of musical instruments. The subjects most frequently found to involve the pupils in using the processes of science and in acquiring or using knowledge of science were geography, home economics, art and craft, metalwork and woodwork, but almost all the other subjects in the curriculum were occasionally found to be presented in such a way as to demand some understanding of science. In a history lesson, for example, the pupils who were investigating the origins and authenticity of an old manuscript, were working 'scientifically' insofar as they observed, looked for patterns in their observations, made predictions and tested them.

4.2 In spite of these and many more examples, however, it has to be said that in less than half the schools visited were elements of the content of science or the processes of science found in two or more other subjects, and what was found was often limited in extent. This is a pity because pupils should realise that science is something which can and does appear in many situations; it is not confined to science laboratories. Science will be of more value to them if they are accustomed to using it in different circumstances inside and outside schools. Without practice in doing this, it is unlikely that many will be able to transfer their knowledge and skills.

Possible developments

4.3 Teachers had not given much consideration to the way in which science might appear in other subjects. Most teachers of non-science subjects are

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unfamiliar with the processes of science and, being naturally and rightly concerned to develop the disciplines of their own subjects, do not readily see that the methods of science may play a part, unless their syllabuses include some recognisable science content. Science teachers themselves are also concerned with their examination syllabuses and may not always encourage the spread of scientific methods beyond science departments. There is need for more communication between science and other departments to explore interdisciplinary aspects of science.

Extra-curricular activities


5.1 During the survey examples of interesting and enterprising projects were recorded, as in the school where the pupils were building a racing motorcycle; the twin cylinder 500 cm3 engine had been made at the school and tested up to 5,000 rpm. Liaison with a local university department helped them to overcome some difficulties. In another school pupils belonging to the conservation club were helping to construct a nature trail and provide attractive lakes out of a local marsh and rubbish dumps and in this way gained a greater understanding of their environment.


5.2 Science clubs and societies provided during and after school hours have long been a beneficial feature of the science provision in some schools. Their success depends upon the commitment and interest of both teachers and pupils; during the survey and on many other occasions an association has been observed between lively extracurricular science and good science teaching in the classroom. Out-of-school activities can also set science in a broader context* particularly when, as sometimes happens, teachers of other disciplines join in these activities.

Accommodation and resources


6.1 The standard of laboratory provision was very varied. Typical of poor provision was the seven form entry comprehensive school (age range 13 to 18) which had only three laboratories; the biology laboratory was on the ground floor and the physics and chemistry laboratories on the third floor with one small and poorly fitted preparation/store room. Approximately 50 per cent of the science teaching was carried out in classrooms and needlework rooms. A similar situation existed in a small modern school with only one laboratory, where three were needed to cope with the 102 science periods taught each week. In contrast was the six form entry school (age range 11 to 18) where a new science block provided an excellent complex of nine laboratories, darkroom, greenhouse, central preparation room and library, all designed to a high standard of specification. Rather less adequate but still good was the science accommodation in a six form entry school (age range 11 to 16) which had five modern laboratories, a dark room and two preparation rooms together with a demonstration laboratory; these laboratories, though intensively used, were in very good order and attractive places in which to work.

6.2 The adequacy of the laboratory accommodation in each school was determined by comparing the number of laboratories actually available with the number considered by HM Inspectors to be necessary to provide

*See paragraphs 4.1 to 4.3

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practically based courses for all pupils up to the age of 16. This is discussed in paragraph 14.26 with reference to arguments about the science curriculum in paragraphs 14.1 to 14.7 but it must be emphasised here that the situation in each school was assessed in relation to all the circumstances which were operating in that school. About 40 per cent of the schools of all types did not have enough laboratories. There were indications that comprehensive schools had better facilities than the other types and that schools in inner cities and long established manufacturing areas had worse facilities, but on the whole the differences were not large. Schools with insufficient laboratory accommodation either taught less science (this was the commonest solution) or they taught some science in classrooms with the result that less practical work and fewer demonstrations were done. A number of schools of all types were without greenhouses or special areas other than laboratory side benches where experiments with plants could be carried out. Similarly, small animals were usually kept on side benches; rarely were animal rooms provided.

6.3 About one-third of all the schools visited had dispersed laboratories. This situation was found more frequently in full ability range comprehensive schools and less often in secondary modern schools, probably reflecting the fact that many comprehensive schools have developed as a result of the amalgamations of schools or have been extended to accommodate extra pupils. The arrangement in one school with seven laboratories located in four places spread over two sites pointedly illustrated the problems faced by many science teachers in attempting to provide practical work in dispersed accommodation. The laboratories were difficult to service and maintain. While it was possible to have basic equipment in each laboratory, expensive items of apparatus sometimes had to be carried from one to another: in fact such was the difficulty of transporting apparatus between laboratories that practical work was inhibited. In contrast, another school with seven laboratories grouped together in a science block enjoyed a number of advantages. Technicians were quickly and efficiently able to deploy apparatus, equipment was readily shared and communication between the science teachers and between science teachers and technicians was encouraged. The science teachers were easily able to help each other and in an emergency the special expertise of any one of them was readily available.


6.4 About 80 per cent of full ability range comprehensive schools and grammar schools were judged to have adequate supplies of science equipment compared with about 70 per cent of restricted range comprehensive schools, 50 per cent of modern schools and 65 per cent of transitional schools. Wide variations in the provision of science apparatus and equipment were observed. Sometimes whole areas of science could not be taught practically because of lack of apparatus. This was the case in a modern school where there was a dearth of equipment for biology and chemistry, while for physics the provision was patchy. There were other schools, however, like the comprehensive school where a considerable amount of money had recently been spent on up-to-date apparatus and where a great deal of practical work was done by interested and motivated pupils.

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6.5 Occasionally resources tended to be little used, perhaps because timetable constraints or laboratory deficiencies restricted the amount of practical work or perhaps because some of the teachers were unconvinced of the need for the particular apparatus supplied. On the other hand, in some schools where little equipment existed ingenious teachers displayed flair and imagination in using simple home-made resources to provide some practical work for their pupils.

6.6 There were schools which had been well equipped initially but which had not been provided with sufficient capitation allowance to maintain their practical courses. As the survey proceeded it became clear that, because of lack of money, in an increasing number of schools good apparatus was wearing out and not being repaired or replaced.

Laboratory technicians

6.7 The extent of the technical support available in each type of school was assessed by allocating schools to one of two categories, those with satisfactory provision where there was more than one full time technician per four laboratories and those with support equal to or less favourable than this. On this basis over 40 per cent of the schools visited were understaffed. The support available was much better in the grammar schools where only 21 per cent had too few technicians. The worst provision was found in the secondary modern schools, with 50 per cent short of technical support. Furthermore, these figures could represent an underestimate of the schools' needs since about 40 per cent of them had insufficient laboratories*. It was found that only 30 per cent of the technicians employed had successfully completed a substantial training course designed for laboratory technicians.

6.8 Very poor provision of technical help was found in a modern school with over 1,000 pupils and five laboratories. There was only one laboratory technician (full-time but with no formal qualifications) and he had been absent for a long period. This contrasts with the comprehensive school where the work of a team of six teachers was greatly facilitated by the services of two laboratory technicians who set up apparatus, helped with visual aids, and attended to the general housekeeping of the laboratories and the storage and maintenance of apparatus.

6.9 The importance of ancillary help cannot be overemphasised if a practical teaching approach is to be encouraged. Technicians are required to service and maintain the laboratories and equipment and to prepare materials for science classes. In addition they are needed to ensure that science resources are ordered and safely stored and an adequate inventory is maintained. A lack of technical support was particularly acute in schools operating on split-site premises or in a building where science laboratories were widely dispersed. In contrast, in a small number of schools examples were noted of science technicians being used to carry out clerical and administrative tasks unsuited to their training or experience.


6.10 Many schools had inadequate storage space and in some the problem had been made more acute because of the use of the laboratories as form

*See paragraph 6.2.

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bases. Potentially hazardous situations were observed where there was a lack of specialist storage facilities for flammable and corrosive chemicals, although this deficiency was frequently minimised by the sensible alternative arrangements adopted by many science teachers. On other occasions the distance or the difficulty of the journey from the preparation room to the laboratories was considered to be a handicap to the efficient running of the laboratories. Inadequate storage was found most frequently in grammar (57 per cent) and modern schools (45 per cent), but less so in comprehensive schools (34 per cent) and transitional schools (25 per cent) possibly because more of them were in more recent buildings where account had been taken of this problem.

6.11 There is no doubt that the provision of suitable general and specialist storage facilities assists the work of technical staff and science teachers and prolongs the life of apparatus. The provision of centralised storage facilities offers many advantages: apparatus and equipment are readily available to all members of the science department; chemicals can be grouped together for efficiency and the management and upkeep of the science teaching resources become less complex. Such areas (often with preparation space) provide a useful focal point for informal discussions between all those concerned with the subject; these arrangements were observed in some of the newer schools. The more usual pattern comprises a series of separate physics, chemistry and biology store rooms, each directly linked to a laboratory.


6.12 In about half the full range comprehensive schools and grammar schools and in about one-third of the schools of other types, the provision of science books was considered to be adequate. Amongst these schools were many where every pupil had a good up-to-date textbook and, often, access to a second textbook for specific purposes, where reading material for the least able had been carefully selected, where there was in the laboratories a good selection of reference books at various levels and where the science section of the school library contained a wide selection of general books and periodicals.

6.13 In other schools, however, the extent to which books were available and used was disappointing. Although textbooks were generally available, their quantity, range and appropriateness were extremely variable. It was not uncommon to find that a laboratory had only one set of textbooks and these would be issued only to the able pupils; there were few books suitable for the less able who were frequently observed struggling with textbooks designed for those studying courses leading to GCE O-Ievel examinations. The science sections in these school libraries were often small and little used.

6.14 In nearly every case, the shortage of books in science departments was due to lack of finance. Science is a practical subject and departments had decided that they must as far as possible maintain their stocks of apparatus; doing this often used up most of their financial resources so that little was left for books.

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Teachers of science

7.1 There were 2,742 teachers of science in the schools observed during the survey. Table 8E shows the general qualifications of those (2,601) who taught general science, physics, chemistry and biology as main subjects at some stage in the school. Their qualifications are not necessarily in the science taught. 70 per cent of the science teachers were graduates, of whom 80 per cent had followed a course of professional training. Of all the science teachers 66 per cent were men. It can also be noted that 88 per cent of physics teachers, 46 per cent of biology teachers, 81 per cent of chemistry teachers and 68 per cent of general science teachers were men.

Table 8E Science teachers (1): main subject taught (2) by type of qualification (3) and type of school

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Qualifications of science teachers

7.2 Table 8F shows the relationships between the subject qualifications of the science teachers and the subjects taught. It will be seen that on the whole the best match between the science subjects taught and the qualifications of the teachers is found in grammar and full range comprehensive schools, although generally in all schools the match is good. General science is an exception; here it is common for a teacher to have a main qualification in a single science subject and to acquire sufficient knowledge of the other sciences to be able to teach general science, at least to younger pupils. (There is a case for all science teachers having some knowledge of the three main sciences as

Table 8F Science teachers (1): match between main subject taught and subject of qualification

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well as perhaps being expert in one - see paragraph 14.19). There is also cause for concern in the case of physics; about one in twenty of physics teachers has no qualifications in science or mathematics and about one in five has no qualifications in physics.

7.3 Where specialists are teaching aspects of science in which they are not qualified, many have adapted well and extended their knowledge. Effective teaching demands that they know their subject sufficiently well to be able to guide their pupils, to avoid hazards and above all to avoid giving false or misleading information. Unfortunately in at least 10 per cent of the schools one or more of the science teachers did not know the subject sufficiently well and false information was taught.

7.4 In those full range comprehensive schools where the proportion of graduate trained teachers was higher than in other schools of the same type, the quality of provision and the work of the pupils in science was better. This suggests that the quality of science teaching would improve if the number of graduate trained teachers were increased. This number would of course include both teachers with the Bachelor of Education degree with science as a main subject and teachers with a specialist science degree and a post graduate certificate in education.

Organisation and work of science departments

Heads of department

8.1 In almost all the types of school, except grammar schools, there was a teacher with overall responsibility for science: grammar schools usually had separate heads of physics, chemistry and biology departments, without an overall head of science. Analysis of the information given on Form 2 showed that 76 per cent of the teachers with head of department responsibility for science or individual science subjects were graduates and 84 per cent of them were men; 60 per cent were between the ages of 25 and 49 years; 64 per cent had up to 14 years total teaching experience and 75 per cent had less than 10 years service in their present school. On average, heads of departments spent about 80 per cent of the school week teaching and 20 per cent on a variety of non-teaching duties; wide variations existed within schools of the same type and between schools of similar size. One head of department in a comprehensive school responsible for the work of 12 other science teachers had only five non-teaching periods each week, while the head of chemistry in a small grammar school received ten.

8.2 The frequency and duration of departmental meetings were equally variable. The head of department in a recently formed comprehensive school held monthly meetings of all science teachers to discuss teaching methods, educational objectives and organisational matters. Syllabuses were in the process of being rewritten in order to provide detailed guidance for inexperienced teachers, and the inclusion of criteria for the assessment of pupils' scientific development was a matter being considered by all the staff. In another similar school science staff had never met formally to discuss such matters but they relied upon brief informal discussions during the mid-morning break.

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Departmental policies

8.3 Teachers responsible for science subjects were invited to say whether agreed policies existed for homework, preparation for practical work, the use of demonstration experiments, the use of textbooks, standards of written work and safety: 41 per cent of the grammar schools, 68 per cent of the full range comprehensive schools, 49 per cent of the comprehensive with a restricted range of entry, 53 per cent of the secondary modern schools, and 57 per cent of the transitional schools claimed that such policies existed in four or more of these categories.

8.4 It was apparent during the survey that science departments were more likely to be well organised if there was leadership from an overall head of science. Unfortunately not all departments were effectively led and as a result there was a noticeable lack of direction, staff cohesion and unity of purpose in the work. Nevertheless, some impressively organised science departments were observed; the arrangements in one full range comprehensive school illustrated the complexity of the task and the degree of commitment and industry required by a head of a large science department. He was responsible for the work of 15 science teachers, two of whom had held senior teaching posts in the selective school prior to reorganisation; departmental meetings were held regularly to discuss policy and organisational matters; the department's equipment; books and materials were safely and efficiently stored and all the teachers were encouraged to participate in the activities of a local science teachers group. Detailed schemes of work were available for all courses and good communication ensured that the staff understood and generally implemented the department's agreed policies. His relaxed style, good sense of humour and high expectations brought the best out of his team.

In-service training

8.5 Special enquiries were made in about one-third of the schools about the extent to which science teachers participated in local, regional, national and school-initiated in-service courses. The degree of the science teachers' involvement was extremely variable, ranging from schools where none had attended any courses in the last three years or had studied any of the curriculum developments of the last twenty years, to others where the science teachers attended courses of one kind or another at least once a year. Typical of the latter was the school where the science staff were actively involved in courses at local and regional levels. As a result of this, they were producing, with the help of the local advisory service, science modules for the less able pupils to be used in other schools as well as their own. It is perhaps significant that the quality of science education observed in this school was high.

Sizes of teaching groups

8.6 Table 8G (referring to all schools and to the fourth year only) shows for each examination target the percentages of science classes in various categories of class sizes. The distribution of the class sizes of the different examination groups was in fact found to be much the same for all types of school although secondary modern schools tended to have rather more small classes (under 12 pupils) than other types. In all the schools there are more large classes (31 or more pupils) for O-level examinations in science than for other examinations. The less able pupils who may or may not be aiming at

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an examination were on the whole taught in smaller classes than the examination pupils. In all cases the kind of science studies made little difference to the spread of class sizes.

8.7 That there should be any science classes of over 30 for fourth and fifth year pupils is a source of concern. It is difficult to teach, to organise and to control practical work effectively with classes of this size and questions of safety are more likely to arise. In contrast, classes of fewer than 13 pupils can be uneconomic and lead to extravagant use of teacher and laboratory time.

8.8 A small number of schools had one or more large laboratories and under these circumstances it was common to find double classes of up to about 60 pupils. Two teachers were allocated to such classes, sharing the teaching and the organisation of practical work between them. These arrangements had certain advantages. The special expertise of each teacher could be used to best advantage, an inexperienced teacher could learn by working with an experienced one, and class discussions could be more effective if, for example, the two teachers deliberately took opposing points of view. On the other hand if, for whatever reason, one teacher did all or most of the teaching, the situation was similar to having one teacher alone with a large class and many of the disadvantages of this became apparent.

Teaching styles

Teaching methods

9.1 More than anything else teaching methods affect the response of the pupils and determine whether they are interested, motivated and involved in the lesson in such a way as to be engaged in good learning, understanding and progressive development of skills.

9.2 Regrettably, not all the teaching methods were effective. In many of the science departments the teaching seen offered few opportunities for pupils to show initiative or to develop speculative thinking. They were frequently asked to copy copious notes from the blackboard or were given dictated notes which demanded little or no thought. This teaching method was seen in all three sciences but was particularly noticeable in biology. Occasionally,

Table 8G Science class sizes in the fourth year: by examination target

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it was said by the teacher that the taking of notes was "used to compensate for the lack of textbooks"; in circumstances such as this, it might have been better to issue duplicated notes in order to avoid severely reducing the pace of the work.

9.3 In about one-third of all the schools the teaching of science was always or nearly always overdirected, with insufficient pupil activity. Similarly, dictated or copied notes were prevalent in about half the schools of each type. Some schools achieved good external examination results by these methods but nevertheless it was felt that the excessive use of them detracted from the overall quality of the science lessons.

Use of worksheets

9.4 Worksheets were used in the fourth and fifth years in about one-sixth of all types of schools. Some were seen to be a valuable aid to the organisation of practical work, particularly for classes where the range of ability was large and where the pupils worked individually or in small groups. Well planned and well presented worksheets not only enabled pupils to pursue practical work without constant aid from the teacher; they also asked questions which demanded thought, leading the pupils through carefully structured stages so that the least able covered a basic minimum of work and the most able did more and in greater depth. The most successful worksheets seemed to be those which referred pupils to a variety of resources, including audio-visual material and books.

9.5 Even the best worksheets had disadvantages. Pupils' thoughts (and the teachers') were channelled by them, making it more difficult to notice and react spontaneously to interesting and relevant side issues. Some pupils, especially those who had difficulty with reading, disliked the frequent use of worksheets. The worst worksheets were badly written, unattractive, and constrained all pupils to work at the same pace and at the same level. They consisted of recipes, instructions, diagrams for copying and questions which often required no more than a word or phrase in answer. These worksheets did more harm than good.

Practical work

9.6 In some schools where good teaching was observed, group practical work was an important part of the normal teaching method with sensible support from classroom teaching, demonstration, use of textbooks, theoretical work and notetaking. The teachers were sympathetic to pupils' difficulties and were generally supportive. Such was the case in a secondary modern school where the children were accustomed to doing challenging practical work. Here, fourth form boys were finding the relationship between the pressure of a gas and its temperature at a constant volume, using complex apparatus. Furthermore, they were able to discuss probable sources of error. In these schools the teachers knew their subject well and managed to present the pupils with the appropriate content for examination purposes. They managed to avoid unduly didactic teaching methods and excessive use of dictated or copied notes; consequently the pupils were better able to gain experience of the processes of science, including the skills of observation, experimentation and prediction.

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9.7 Many science teachers recognised the importance of practical work. They believed that pupils should have first-hand practical experience in laboratories in order to acquire skills in handling apparatus, to measure constants and to illustrate concepts and principles. Unfortunately practical work often did not go further than this and few opportunities were provided for pupils to conduct challenging experimental investigations. This is perhaps partly because some science examination syllabuses do not appear to encourage this kind of work and partly because teachers feel under pressure in attempting to complete the syllabuses before the examinations in the fifth year, so that they find it difficult to fit in time-consuming investigatory work in the fourth and fifth years.


9.8 The Nuffield science projects* have had a great influence on the introduction of practical work in science courses of all kinds and not just those labelled "Nuffield". The pendulum has swung too far in some cases, however, with so much emphasis on class practical work that demonstration lessons are rare. It is a pity that only 25 per cent of the schools visited appeared to make sensible and regular use of demonstrations. There is much to be said for a blend of class practical work and teacher demonstration. Pupils can gain much from watching a skilled practitioner who handles apparatus expertly and who involves them by asking for predictions and sources of error. There is also much to be said for the occasional 'gala performance' when a class or perhaps several classes together watch demonstrations connected with some popular topic.

Assessment and evaluation

Nature and purpose

10.1 A large part of the process of assessment seen in the schools was the incidental day-to-day observation of a pupil's progress by a teacher who built up his impression of the pupil from routine exchanges in class and from regular marking of written work. In addition all types of schools used more structured methods of assessment such as those applied in periodic testing of the pupils both informally during lessons and formally by end-of-term, half-yearly or yearly examinations. Few of the science departments visited, however, employed tests designed to produce a profile of each pupil's scientific skills, attitudes and knowledge. One important use of assessment was to enable teachers to diagnose a pupil's difficulties and to indicate possible remedies; another was to enable the pupil to appreciate his own progress or lack of it; another was to provide accurate information which could help the teachers to advise the pupil, for example about sensible choices of optional subjects or possible careers. Sometimes it was used to identify the able, the original or the specially interested, so that their work could be immediately affected. Good methods of assessing the progress of the pupils also provided a means of evaluating the success or otherwise of the science courses. In general, however, such evaluation needed to be more effective.


10.2 In the large majority of science departments books and homework were marked perceptively and constructive comments were frequently noted. In about 15 per cent of science departments assessment of written work by some teachers was perfunctory and seemed to indicate carelessness or lack of attention on the part of the teacher. Marked with a tick in the pupils'

*See the Annex to this Chapter.

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notebooks of one school was the statement that "sparrow hawks feed on hedge sparrows; sparrows feed on blue tits". Elsewhere and also marked correct was the false statement that "trichlorethylene is sold under the brand name of methylated spirit and acetone". In these science departments marking was rarely detailed, critical and helpful; more often, mis-spellings, poor presentation and grammar and even incomplete work were indiscriminately ticked.

Matching pupils' abilities

10.3 In about one-third of all schools it was apparent that insufficient demands were made of able pupils. For example, those who finished practical work long before the rest of the class were frequently left with nothing to do when perhaps additional experimental work of a problem solving kind could have challenged them and tested their abilities to the full. Sometimes the less able also could have done more than was demanded. There were many schools of all types, however, whose assessment methods appeared to be reasonably successful, although not infrequently there was need to match the work more closely to the stage of development of the pupil.

General summary of provision


11.1 The interrelated factors described in the previous sections influenced to varying degrees the overall quality of the provision for science education seen in the schools but there were important elements of the provision, common to all schools, which significantly affected the work. These were the appropriateness of the science courses taken by the pupils, the suitability of teaching methods in relation to the capacity and educational needs of the pupils, the expertise and experience of the science teachers and the adequacy of the specialist accommodation, the equipment and ancillary help. The following paragraphs describe in general terms overall provision which seemed to be unsatisfactory or poor for at least one category of pupils, generally satisfactory for most pupils, creditable or better for most pupils.

The range of assessments

11.2 In about 10 per cent of the schools provision was unsatisfactory or of poor quality for all pupils. Schools where over one third of the pupils in the fourth and fifth years did no science were not untypical. Inappropriate science courses, particularly for less academic pupils, and unsuitable teaching methods were found. Few of these schools had adequate schemes of work: where they did exist they lacked an analysis of aims, objectives and detailed information and there was little evidence that consideration had been given to the development of teaching approaches relevant to the capabilities of the pupils. Often an external examination syllabus was used as the only teaching guide. There was little practical or demonstration work of any kind. The emphasis was often on note taking and the acquisition of content and concepts unrelated to the pupils' experience. The work lacked pace, lessons were sometimes unprepared, and the pupils, particularly the less able, were often the passive receivers of information. There were instances of teachers seeming to be more concerned with containment than education and of teachers being reluctant to allow pupils to be involved in either discussion or any sort of experimental activity. In about 40 per cent of schools, the provision for pupils in at least one ability category was similar to that described above; often these would be the less able. For the remaining pupils, however, the provision in these schools was satisfactory or sometimes good.

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11.3 Repeated staff changes had sometimes affected the quality of science provision. In one school, for example, five of the six science teachers had been appointed in the last three years and the average teaching experience of all six teachers was under three years. In such circumstances it was not surprising to find a lack of cohesion, direction and agreed teaching policies. In only a few cases were the chief factors contributing to the poor quality of provision deficiencies in laboratory accommodation and science equipment. These schools were often located in inner-city areas. An extreme example was one comprehensive school with over 900 pupils which had only three laboratories: the equipment was so poor that experimental work in whole fields of modern science such as radioactivity and electronics could not be attempted. Each of the three science departments possessed only 20 to 24 text books suitable for examination pupils, while other groups were supplied with out-of-date textbooks printed in 1940.

11.4 In about another 40 per cent of the schools, the science provision was generally satisfactory. The work was interesting and relevant, with appropriate courses for the pupils, although there was a tendency for the less able to be less well catered for. Sometimes there were deficiencies in accommodation, equipment, books and ancillary help, but sound organisation of the science departments did much to alleviate the effects of unsatisfactory resources.

11.5 Provision which was very creditable or better was observed in 5 per cent of the schools. These varied in type, size, location and in the ability range of the pupils admitted; variations also occurred in the quality of teaching resources and in the curricular and organisational arrangements for science. The majority did, however, have adequate laboratory accommodation and equipment; a few were not so fortunate but they still managed to provide science lessons of the highest quality. Invariably it was the presence of good science teachers realistically deploying the available resources for the benefit of all pupils which more than compensated for deficiencies.

11.6 Science was compulsory in some of these schools but optional in others. Common to all, however, was the existence of carefully planned courses appropriate to the ability and needs of the pupils. Detailed schemes of work containing realistic teaching objectives usually existed; from such documents it was clear that considerable thought had been given to ways of promoting scientific awareness and interest and that these were the result of departmental action involving most of the science teachers. It was also noticeable that the majority of these schools recognised the value of extracurricular work and the importance of developing lower school science courses which involved, interested and excited the pupils. Leadership was usually strong and effective. Lessons had pace and intellectual challenge, expectations were high and pupils, irrespective of ability, were actively involved in learning. Good science teachers employed a variety of teaching methods to suit the topic and the pupils; practical work, demonstrations, consolidation exercises and discussion all had their place. This diversity of teaching methods and

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the importance of carefully prepared and executed courses were clearly illustrated in one inner city school beset by social problems where considerable success had been achieved with less academic pupils taking a Mode 3 CSE course. The work was based upon a series of linked topics, reflecting important elements of physics, chemistry and biology, which the pupils investigated individually. In the same school the science staff were reluctant to reject well tried teaching methods which they felt were appropriate for the able pupils. The work at all levels was characterised by detailed planning and enthusiastic teaching and these were key factors in the provision of outstanding science work.

The response of the pupils


12.1 The subject content of science courses provided in the fourth and fifth years is extremely varied but certain broad themes tend to recur. It was decided for the purpose of the survey that three such fundamental topics would be regarded as touchstones in assessing the extent to which pupils had acquired an adequate knowledge of science by the age of 16: those chosen (energy, atoms and molecules, and inheritance) ensured that major aspects of science were represented. Not surprisingly pupils usually showed serious lack of knowledge and understanding of those topics which did not appear in the science or sciences they were studying in the fourth and fifth years. There seemed to be various reasons for this; little work on the topics might have been done in the first three years, what had been done might have been forgotten, and they might have been insufficiently mature to understand abstract features of these topics. For example, able pupils not studying chemistry in the fourth and fifth years often had hazy notions about the particulate nature of matter and the differences between atoms and molecules.

12.2 Pupils ranged widely in their knowledge of basic ideas and concepts and any precise relationship between the level of scientific knowledge and the ability group of the pupils was often not discernible. For example, in a grammar school, pupils in a physics class had little knowledge of electrical circuits and were unable to use an ammeter and voltmeter correctly. In another school, during the physical science lessons, pupils of above average ability were unable to generalise about metals and acids and the characteristics of waves, or to appreciate the application of these principles. In this school minimal use was made of text and reference books and often pupils were not encouraged to discuss the results of their experiments, nor were new words of a technical nature always related to previous experience.

12.3 Sometimes pupils responded well to encouraging and sympathetic class questioning, as in the school where the more able could relate the collapsible Volvo bonnet to absorption of energy, although the less able could make no contribution. Some pupils experienced difficulties in utilising their knowledge at appropriate times; for example, it commonly appeared that pupils on examination courses listened fairly attentively to what they were told but few were actively searching for knowledge and very few were inspired to read for themselves. They evidently knew enough to 'pass' the

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examination but few showed their command of appropriate knowledge: many got the facts somewhat wrong the first time, but corrected themselves when questioned systematically at some length.

12.4 In many schools, the acquisition of knowledge was the main feature of the science courses; only rarely was the emphasis on teaching the process of science rather than the subject matter. There were few situations where an appropriate balance between content-based teaching and the 'science as a process' approach had been achieved but in several schools the science staff showed uncertainties about the practices at present being followed and acknowledged that examination success could no longer be ensured for pupils who merely memorised information.

Pupils' skills

12.5 The following paragraphs describe the extent to which fourth and fifth year pupils were seen to have acquired some of the skills and processes of science. These are based upon the eight criteria described in paragraph 13.2, and used by HM Inspectors during the survey.

12.6 In more than half of all the schools visited, pupils were regarded as having developed an acceptable level of observational skills, though these were often given a rather narrow interpretation, amounting to little more than an ability to read instruments accurately or to take note of likely or expected results. There were indications that able pupils were not always allowed to develop this skill very effectively or sufficiently early, and opportunities for testing the pupils' powers of observation were missed. Constraints imposed by teachers which left pupils with little personal initiative were frequently mentioned in HM Inspectors' reports: the situation in which pupils were largely told what to write in their practical books represents the extreme case. In one class in a comprehensive school, for example, average pupils were asked to pick up some small nails with a bar of soft iron when a magnet was held near the other end of the bar. They were to note what happened when the magnet was removed. They thought they knew that all the nails should then drop off the bar and that was what they recorded in their notebooks in spite of the fact that in most instances one or two nails remained attached to the soft iron bar. Unfortunately their observations were unchallenged by the teacher and a good teaching point was missed. In all types of schools and for pupils of all abilities seen during the survey, it seemed that observational powers could be sharpened considerably if opportunities for developing this skill were more frequently provided; there is a need to make pupils alert to the possibility of other effects which may occur during the investigation in hand. If such 'unexpected' phenomena were to be noted and subsequently discussed, an appreciation of the process of science could be enhanced and the 'right answer' syndrome could be eliminated.

12.7 Whatever their abilities, pupils were able to make appropriate selections from a set of observations in almost half of all the schools visited, but especially in comprehensive schools catering for the full ability range and in grammar schools. As in the case of the observational skills, opportunities were sometimes limited, because teachers chose to direct all analysis and synthesis of

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data, but pupils could often attempt the process when asked to do so. It would be unrealistic to suggest that every practical activity in a science lesson can be arranged to provide opportunities for pupils to exercise the process of selection but the number of occasions could be markedly increased. Too often experiments were conducted in a totally prescribed fashion and only limited observations were possible, so that selection was not demanded.

12.8 Pupils of all abilities in full range comprehensive and grammar schools were able to recognise patterns more readily than those seen in the restricted range comprehensive, modern and transitional schools. Some situations seen did not suggest that wider relationships were explored or new topics set into a broader science context, indicating that opportunities for pupils to discern patterns were infrequent, though more able pupils usually tended to fare best in this respect. The purpose of making and selecting observations is to perceive a pattern relating one set of results to another, and subsequently to suggest possible reasons for it. When pupils were encouraged to look for patterns, the able, average and less able pupils were equally good at it, provided that the science courses being followed were appropriate to their abilities and seen by them to be interesting and relevant.

12.9 Not surprisingly, pupils' ability to explain patterns was very similar to that noted for their recognition. Teaching styles in some schools were not always designed to encourage alternative explanations and many pupils were left with the notion that there can only be one 'right' answer. Quite often, pupils would, with prompting, seek to explain patterns, but would not readily rank explanations in order of plausibility. The manner in which pupils engaged in laboratory activities and attempted to offer explanations for their observations showed wide variations even within the same group, though the willingness to speculate and generalise was not confined to pupils in any particular ability band. In order to meet the varied demands of pupils, careful class organisation and a wide range of resources is needed.

12.10 Pupils displayed practical skills of a high order in over three-quarters of the full range comprehensive and grammar schools, and in about two-thirds of the restricted range comprehensive schools, modern schools and transitional schools. In the majority of school science courses, pupils engaged in practical activities at an early stage and the confidence and competence which they displayed in handling apparatus in the fourth and fifth years stemmed from this extended experience. The physical facilities for practical work were most limited in modern schools, so the rather low rating for pupils in this type of school is not surprising. The value of practical work in maintaining a high level of motivation amongst pupils was evident - enjoyment of practical science was frequently mentioned by pupils. Occasionally, organisational or administrative factors were deemed responsible for a failure to provide appropriate opportunities for pupils to develop practical skills: for example in one school, some less able pupils had no access to practical science because of 'timetabling problems'; in another, the absence of any technical help certainly contributed to the lack of practical work in small groups.

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12.11 Only in about a third of all the schools did the pupils seem able to devise experiments, although there was evidence that pupils in almost half the full range comprehensive schools and about half the grammar schools had been given some opportunity to develop this skill. However, much of the course material in use did not demand much pupil initiative in experimental design. In the remaining schools, pupils were thought not to have had enough experience in designing experiments for themselves; they could contribute towards such design, but they did not readily engage in intellectual debate as a class. Several teachers commented that the syllabuses for public examinations tended to emphasise knowledge of standard procedures but rarely required candidates to show innovatory skills and consequently the school courses reflected this order of priorities. However, even if many of the present examination procedures made little or no formal assessment of this skill, pupils ought not to be denied the opportunity to gain experience of this important feature of science as a process.

12.12 Pupils in about 70 per cent of all schools were considered to have appropriate communication skills (verbal and mathematical) for the work attempted. They were slightly better with verbal skills than with mathematics. In class discussions, pupils were often required to make only one or two word answers to questions: the opportunities to give a sustained answer or to write at length were very infrequent and free writing was all too rarely seen. There was a considerable amount of evidence to indicate that in many schools the science teachers did not expect pupils (especially the average and less able) to be capable of using many mathematical skills; consequently the teachers had adopted courses which used less mathematics or often none at all, and the adequacy of the performance of the pupils must be seen in this context.

12.13 Very limited evidence was found of any situations where pupils were able to place their experiences in science courses in a wider context. However, in a few schools pupils used their scientific knowledge and skill in crafts to design and make models and to take part in community projects*. These included building a hovercraft, the restoration of a windmill and the reclamation of waste land.

12.14 Some schools, all too few, successfully encouraged the development of reference skills; it was rare to find schools where pupils had access to, and practice in the use of, a range of books and other learning materials and aids.

12.15 More opportunities could with advantage be given to pupils, singly or in groups, to pit their wits against a problem and advance their own plans for its solution. Sometimes the style of teaching did not lend itself to pupil involvement, since practical work and class discussions were very infrequent. Nevertheless, in roughly 10 per cent of the schools pupils had achieved almost all the skills and attitudes mentioned in the criteria, and were given some experience in the manipulation of data and in the skills required to make observations, to select from them and to test their explanations. It was evident that some fourth and fifth year pupils were suffering from deprivation

*See paragraph 5.1.

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in provision of practical experience in earlier years. The importance of continuity of appropriate experience and opportunities throughout the secondary school cannot be too strongly emphasised.

The role of mathematics

12.16 The assessments of the response of average pupils in mathematics were compared with the assessments of the adequacy of skills in mathematics for science. In view of the limited mathematical expectations in many science classes, it is not surprising that no significant relationship between these two sets of assessments was found. The effect sought is in any case unlikely to be manifest unless opportunities for application are provided.

12.17 Many science teachers declared that pupils were unable to cope with the mathematical demands of the subject. However, there was little evidence to suggest that this view had led to communication between members of the two departments or to the development of common policies. Science teachers took a more favourable view of the adequacy of mathematics skills when certain features were present in mathematics courses; two such features were competence in realistic arithmetic and reasonable attention given to traditional manipulative algebra. Nevertheless a particular kind of syllabus did not automatically win the favour of science teachers. Nor was it always because science teachers had communicated their needs and discussed them with mathematics colleagues. Science and mathematics syllabuses were rarely exchanged; some science teachers used mathematical terminology and procedures unfamiliar to pupils following a modern mathematics course; scientific problems were not usually incorporated in the work in mathematics and there was general confusion about the desirability of using electronic calculators. Undoubtedly there is a need to improve the level of communication and the degree of understanding between science and mathematics teachers, and formalised procedures to ensure this may be necessary.

12.18 In one school it was found as an unusual and welcome feature that the head of science in discussion with the head of mathematics had written out a checklist of mathematics requirements and the dates needed for their use in science eg "First year required very early: multiplication by 10, by 100, by 1,000. Also, diagrams - mean, median, mode ... Third year, by February: solution of watts = amps x volts; after February: gradients of straight line graphs, etc." This list was under continuous review.

The place of language

12.19 School science has an important contribution to make to the language development of all pupils. At its best it can provide opportunities for talk, clear, concise writing, accurate recording of information, vocabulary extension and reading for both information and pleasure.

12.20 It was apparent that pupils of all abilities were more likely to develop these desirable attributes when science was taught as an experimental study which encouraged observation and prediction. Practical work and demonstration experiments led to discussion between pupils and between pupils and teachers; new scientific terms were more readily understood and personal written accounts had point and relevance when related to direct

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experience. Furthermore, science taught experimentally gave pupils with reading and writing difficulties opportunities to take an active part in learning and as a consequence develop both scientific and communication skills.

12.21 In about one-third of the schools visited the dominant teaching style was exposition from the teacher with little or no pupil involvement* and as a consequence fewer opportunities were provided for pupils to discuss or offer extended reasoning. Speech was often restricted to factual recall or brief monosyllabic responses.

12.22 The quality of teacher exposition was equally variable. In some cases teachers introduced new scientific terminology and ideas in a manner which revealed sensitivity to the pupils' background and immediate experience but in other cases teachers seemed less aware of the pupils' needs. For example in one school the less able were taught facts with no simplification of scientific terms such as 'initial temperature' (how hot it was), 'foetus' (baby in the womb), 'placenta' (after-birth), 'oviduct' (tubes).

12.23 The extensive use of copied or dictated notes† was a noticeable feature of many lessons. While this method of recording ensures a reasonable set of notes for revision purposes, its excessive and indiscriminate use carries the danger that pupils record without understanding. A pupil in a mining village wrote "Radiation from coal-volt 60 [cobalt 60] destroys cancer cells" in response to a dictated note. As is pointed out in Chapter 6, paragraph 3.10, however, there were apparent instances of dictation or copying which had to be considered differently when seen in classroom practice.

12.24 There is much to commend the balanced provision observed in one school where writing ranged from a free approach, giving rise to occasional pieces of very good writing from the most able, to summarising a teacher's exposition with guidance from words and phrases on the blackboard. In another school there were opportunities in science lessons for the occasional piece of imaginative writing or poetry. Whatever methods are used, however, for good communication, it is necessary to ensure that the pupil learns and understands the vocabulary of the subject.

12.25 The pupils' written work was often neat and carefully presented but in an uncomfortably large number of schools books were marked infrequently and superficially. Many examples of books containing uncorrected grammatical, spelling and factual errors were encountered.‡

Pupils' attitudes

12.26 Where they were given suitable opportunities pupils generally responded well and this indicated an encouraging attitude to the challenge of science. In some schools their attitudes, in science as in other subjects, were poor, leading to resentment, to regular absenteeism and to the necessity for containment. It should be emphasised that these were exceptional situations.

12.27 More commonly, pupils responded quite well in spite of poor provision. For example, in one such school the pupils did what was expected of them

*See paragraphs 9.1 to 9.3.

†See paragraphs 9.2 and 9.3.

‡See paragraph 10.2.

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by working diligently and cooperatively, attempting to learn without any apparent enthusiasm or interest. In another similar situation those in the bottom set appeared to be trying to teach themselves some science by copying from books: one boy drew and tried to learn the bones of the skeleton, another sketched fossil plants, whilst a third transcribed from a book on radio control, without any understanding. In another establishment where the physical provision was quite acceptable the pupils lacked initiative and their general understanding of the work was poor. On the other hand they carried out experimental instructions carefully and kept well written records of both theoretical and practical work. Most of them were quite interested in their science subjects, but not to the point of reading books of any kind.

12.28 However, there were many cases where response to good provision was very encouraging and pupils' involvement was at a high level. Thus in one comprehensive school where the science lessons were well organised the pupils were involved in extensive investigational activity, there was a sense of purpose in the lessons and all the pupils joined in with interest. The written work of the least able was surprisingly good as was their competence in simple practical work. It was the general work ethos of the school as well as the quality of the science teaching which evidently had led to the pupils performing so creditably in examinations. Other factors operating in the same school were the excellent relations between pupils and staff, the opportunities for individual attention during practical work, the high expectations of staff and the oral contributions made by pupils. In another similar school the good response by pupils was engendered by the security afforded by staff and by the confidence that pupils had in them - second rate work was unacceptable and high expectations ensured maintenance of quality, recognised and respected by the able pupils.

12.29 By informally questioning pupils in a number of schools, HM Inspectors attempted to assess the degree of interest in science activities outside the classroom or laboratory. In general it can be said that able pupils were more likely to undertake reading in science and to have science based hobbies, and also that boys were much more likely to be involved in these activities than girls. Television programmes on science topics were extremely popular with both boys and girls but appeared not to serve as a stimulus for further reading or study for the majority of pupils.

12.30 There is no doubt that the attitude of pupils to the science courses provided for them in schools is a significant factor in the success or failure of the work in science departments. Given a favourable atmosphere and suitable courses, pupils of all abilities were able to develop skills in the manner outlined in the eight criteria already stated, though their response obviously depended on their ability both to generalise and to understand concepts. It is worth repeating here that although many teachers expressed doubts about the effect of this mode of teaching on success in public examinations, in the classes seen pupil enjoyment and involvement were enhanced and there was no evidence that examination performance was impaired.

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General summary of 'response'

Procedures for reaching an overall assessment

13.1 The response of the three categories of pupils was judged by observing the whole quality of their work, both oral and written. Attempts were made (as was indicated in paragraph 12.1) to assess their knowledge of some important topics in the three main sciences, whether or not they were taking these sciences in the fourth and fifth years. Where possible, individual pupils or groups of pupils were engaged in discussions on these topics but the scrutiny of pupils' written work also helped to reveal the level of understanding in these and related areas of study.

Criteria for the assessment of pupil performance

13.2 An important part of the assessment of the response of the pupils was the degree to which they were able to use the skills and processes of science. Judgements of this were based upon the eight criteria given below.

1. Are the pupils observant? That is to say, do they see all that there is to see or do they rely on being told what to see?

2. Do they select from their observations those which have a bearing on the problem before them?

3. Do they look for patterns in what they observe and are they able to relate the current observations to others they have made earlier?

4. Do they seek to explain the patterns? If they can offer more than one explanation, do they attempt to rank them in order of plausibility?

5. Do they have an acceptable level of practical skills in the efficient and safe handling of apparatus and equipment?

6. Can they devise, or contribute to the devising of, experiments which will put to test the explanations they suggest for the patterns of observations? Are they prepared to reconsider an explanation in the light of new evidence?

7. Do they possess the verbal and mathematical skills to allow them to interact adequately with classmates, with their teacher and with written and other material to which their attention is directed?

8. Do they respond to a novel situation by recalling and applying facts and generalisations previously learnt? Do they do this when the new situation is outside the immediate content of the school science course? That is to say, do they see the relevance of what they have learnt in the science lessons to situations outside the laboratory?

13.3 At the beginning of each inspection these criteria were discussed with the science staff and it was explained that HM Inspectors would be observing pupils at work, talking to them, and reading their written work in order to try to assess their performance. In assessing their knowledge and in applying the eight criteria to all levels of ability, more was naturally expected from an able pupil than from one of low ability. For example in physics lessons an able pupil might be expected to understand the patterns formed by potential difference and electric current in relation to Ohm's law and to be able to

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apply these in various situations; in contrast a less able pupil might be incapable of seeing more than the generalisations that large currents cause a wire to get hot and that if the wire is thin enough it might even melt.

The range of assessments

13.4 The quality of work from all three ability categories of pupils was poor or very poor in under 10 per cent of the schools. In a typical case, there was no real pupil involvement and pupils lacked understanding of scientific thinking and of the work done; the best pupils showed little ability to use the skills and processes of science, the average tried but made little progress while the weakest were lost and made no effort. In one comprehensive school few pupils chose science when selecting fourth year options and those who did choose a science subject did so because of the careers they hoped to follow; a significant number of average and less able pupils in the fifth year had dropped out of science courses and although they attended lessons, they were occupied with other work or were simply doing nothing. In general it appeared that the prospect of a very poor examination result or lack of any examination objective could give rise to apathy and inattention amongst pupils. This was compounded by courses and concepts beyond their understanding and lacking relevance to their lives. It was the work of the less able, whatever the type of school, which gave the greatest cause for concern.

13.5 The work of many pupils in the great majority of schools ranged from acceptable to good although in about half of these the work of at least one ability category was poor. There was considerable variation but pupils, including the less able in a few schools, usually fulfilled the expectations of their teachers and showed a good level of practical laboratory skills, the ability to work independently and willingness to speculate when new situations were presented to them. For many pupils, the choice of a science subject in fourth and fifth year options was made with future career requirements in mind and the examination target provided the principal motivation. Whatever the type of school, if poor quality work was found, the pupils concerned were usually the less able or sometimes the average as defined by that school.

13.6 Exceptionally high quality of work was found in about 5 per cent of the schools. These included a variety of types of schools with a wide diversity of pupils and science courses but in all cases there were found to be effective departmental planning and a spirit of cooperation amongst staff and between teachers and pupils. There was also a sense of purposefulness with both pupils and teachers enjoying the excitement of science. Typically, in one comprehensive school the pupils seemed all the time to be interested in the work presented to them and they readily answered questions posed by teachers. Several able pupils in a chemistry class could answer the teacher's worksheet question which asked if their test-tube experiments on water hardness could yield information on possible anion effects as well as those of cations. Some biology pupils of average ability demonstrated that they could devise feasible experiments to explore the responses of insects to stimuli. The less able showed a high level of interest and by using trolleys were well able to investigate factors affecting the acceleration and deceleration of a motor car; the skill with which they could interpret graphs was impressive.

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General discussion of the main findings and issues in this chapter

Science curriculum and organisation

14.1 It is pleasing to note that about one-third of the schools of all types made some form of science compulsory for all pupils up to the age of 16. Commonly this was one of the three main science subjects or, for pupils of below average ability, it was often a form of general science. In roughly 10 per cent of the schools, some of the pupils in the fourth and fifth years were provided with a balanced science curriculum, that is one embracing basic elements of biology, chemistry and physics; often these would be able pupils who opted to take all three sciences or less able pupils who took general sciences courses. No school was found, however, which provided balanced science courses for all pupils up to the age of 16-plus. The majority of pupils in secondary schools of all types were taking either no science or only one science subject in the fourth and fifth years*.

14.2 Attempts to provide for the varying abilities, interests and career aspirations of pupils have resulted in a wide range of O-Ievel and CSE mode 1 science syllabuses offered by the examination boards; in addition there are very many mode 3 CSE science syllabuses drawn up by individual schools and agreed by the boards†. This can be confusing to pupils, to employers and to those selecting students for further or higher education. During the survey examples were found of pupils getting a narrow experience of science in the fourth and fifth years by opting for, say, 'applied electricity' or 'human biology' as their only science subject.

14.3 Premature choices, often made at the age of 13-plus, can and do result in school leavers who are inadequately qualified for further education and employment or in sixth form students who find they are inadequately prepared for the A-level and higher education courses which they would like to pursue. If a main science subject is dropped by some pupils at the end of the third year, it is important to ensure that the subject is rounded off properly and that as far as possible the pupils have been introduced to the major concepts of that subject. Even able pupils, however, can be insufficiently mature at the age of 13-plus properly to understand many important concepts and therefore if they cease to study one or more sciences after the third year, their education in science can be seriously deficient.

14.4 There is a strong case for offering to all pupils up to the age of 16-plus balanced science courses embracing the basic elements of physics, chemistry and biology at depths and with teaching approaches appropriate to their ability. These courses together with other disciplines should on the one hand provide a foundation for further studies in science, engineering and technology which may be undertaken by able pupils after the age of 16-plus. On the other hand, they should provide a broad education in science for all so that in accordance with their various abilities they gain some understanding of the impact of science and technology in industry, of the basis of national socio-economic decisions involving science, of biological and environmental factors and of the processes of science which may be used in everyday living for solving certain problems and for leisure activities. It can be argued that these aims will be even better achieved if the courses include something of earth sciences and something of environmental science in

*See paragraphs 2.1 to 2.8.

†See paragraph 1.1.

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addition to the three main sciences. Quite apart from the educational merits of broad science courses, there is need for them on vocational grounds because most science-based careers require some knowledge of more than one science subject.

14.5 In this scientific and technological age, it is serious that, judged by a sample of schools, roughly 9 per cent of boys and 17 per cent of girls do no science in the fourth and fifth years. As a first step in improving the science curriculum in these years, all schools might consider ensuring that all pupils take at least one science subject. Ensuring that all take balanced science courses, however, requires more drastic rearrangements. Amongst the points to be considered are the following:

i. Able and average pupils might be catered for, as they sometimes are at present, by allowing them to take all three main sciences for O-level or for the CSE. It is, however, difficult to justify the large time allowance (often 12 periods out of 40 per week) which such an arrangement requires; often it results in the omission or inadequate treatment of some other important area of the curriculum and this may well be the main reason why at present only about 10 per cent of boys and 4.5 per cent of girls in the sample are taking all three sciences (see Table 8A).

ii. Considering the balance of the whole curriculum, it seems more reasonable to ask for 'double-subject' time for science in years 4 and 5. A number of strategies are possible for achieving balanced science in this amount of time. For example it might be possible to provide physical science plus biological science or combined science courses at appropriate depths for the different abilities, or various other arrangements. There might be much to be said for providing a common-core of physical and biological science, taught at different depths to pupils of different abilities, with the addition of a group of modules from which pupils could make selections according to their interests, aptitudes and career aspirations. Courses for the less able need particular consideration and groups of science teachers have recently developed and published materials which some schools are trying out.

iii. Different science subjects have some concepts and many skills and processes in common. Consequently, balanced science courses may be of more value to the pupils if they are presented in a unified way.

iv. Wide variations between the contents of different science syllabuses were noted during the survey. It could be helpful to all concerned if there were broad agreement about a common core of science which all pupils would have covered by the age of 16-plus, albeit at different depths according to ability. This is a difficult problem. Its solution requires compromise between the need to lay the foundation for science courses in the sixth form and further education, the need to provide for the vocational demands of school leavers and the need to provide for the personal development of all pupils as future citizens. In addition it is necessary to decide upon the balance between the content of the courses and the skills and processes of science irrespective of content. Of increasing importance is consideration of the degree to which school

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science courses, for able pupils as well as others, should embrace something of technology and be more directly concerned with engineering and industry in general as well as with biological aspects of man and the environment.
14.6 Against the arguments presented in the preceding paragraphs is the fact that many science teachers are specialists in physics, chemistry or biology, knowing little of the other two sciences and with no desire to teach them. There is force in the argument that a science subject is best taught by someone who is trained in that subject and has a particular interest in it. If the science teachers in a school can work as a team, however, it is quite possible for pupils to be given a broad science course while being taught by appropriate specialists for different parts of it, although to avoid fragmentation of the course it is best to have as few teachers as possible with any particular class. There is much to be said for science teachers regarding themselves not only as specialist physicists, chemists or biologists but also as science educators concerned with the all-round development of their pupils.

14.7 If the three main science subjects are taught in the fourth and fifth years in the time which at present is allowed for two, the content of the syllabuses is undoubtedly reduced. It can be argued that this will result in pupils being less well prepared at the age of 16-plus for employment or for further studies in science. There is a fear of a drop in standards. Although less is studied in each science, however, what is done can still be done at depths appropriate to the pupils' abilities. Experience of existing 'double-subject' broad science courses at O-Ievel seems to indicate that they can provide an adequate preparation for A-level science courses.

14.8 The view one takes on these matters depends partly on the relative weight one gives to science as part of the general education of all pupils up to the age of 16-plus and to science as a preparation for forms of employment. More than anything, however, the debate may turn upon the question of curricular choices made by young people at the age of 13-plus. Employers and those concerned with further and higher education might consider whether on the whole there might be gains if instead of making premature choices, all pupils followed broad courses of science to the age of 16-plus with a substantial common core.

14.9 It must be noted that at the present time if science courses were provided for all pupils up to the age of 16, up to 20 per cent more science teachers would be required, and in addition some 40 per cent of schools would need more laboratory accommodation.* Even when falling rolls ameliorate the situation, many schools may still require additional science teachers and more laboratories. These estimates are based upon the assumption that on average between the ages of 11 and 16 science should take up about one-sixth of the total curriculum time. It is difficult to see how a practical subject involving biology, chemistry and physics can adequately be introduced to pupils with less time than this, although much could depend upon the amount of interdisciplinary work and the degree to which science appears across the curriculum.

*See paragraph 6.2.

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14.10 One achievement in recent years is the great increase in the amount of science studied by girls. Once it was uncommon for girls, except in some grammar schools, to take any science other than perhaps biology. Now, almost invariably, girls and boys follow the same courses up to the end of the third year. The survey revealed, however, that traditional attitudes are still prevailing in the fourth and fifth years with more girls than boys opting for biology and far more boys than girls opting for the physical sciences*. There are now many more girls choosing the physical sciences than there used to be but the number is still small. By not studying the physical sciences beyond a very elementary level, girls are denying themselves skills and knowledge in important areas of the curriculum and are cutting themselves off from many career opportunities in science and engineering. The reasons for this seem to be many and complex but it is important that schools should do everything possible to show to girls as well as boys the importance and relevance of the physical sciences and to encourage girls to study them.

14.11 Some good examples were seen of pupils using knowledge, skills and processes of science in other curricular areas† but the number of instances was disappointingly low. Pupils might be more frequently encouraged to be 'scientific' when faced with questions or problems for which the processes of science can be appropriate. Closer links between science and other departments might be helpful and more opportunities might be sought to place science in a wide context.

14.12 As the survey proceeded more schools seemed to be seeking to relate their science courses more closely to the outside world by referring to industry, the physical and biological environment and the biology of man. On the whole, however, the mainstream courses in biology, chemistry and physics seem to be too pure and all pupils, including the most able, might benefit from having more opportunities to use their growing knowledge and skills in real life situations.

14.13 Overall heads of science departments are now common and some impressively organised science departments were seen‡. Good leadership was seen to be beneficial in formulating and coordinating policies for the department, teaching objectives and methods, schemes of work, use of resources, curriculum development and so on. Not all science departments were well led, however, and in some cases there was need for the head of department to pay more attention to his role as leader and manager and to have a better understanding of the place of science in the curriculum. LEAs are able to help by providing more guidance to new heads of science departments through in-service training of various kinds.

Quality of the teaching

14.14 In about two-thirds of the science departments visited, the teaching was such that significant numbers of pupils were actively involved in the work, encouraged to question and to think and to engage in good experimental work§. In the rest, however, there seemed to be too much emphasis upon didactic teaching methods in at least some science subjects and dictated or copied notes were prevalent||. Used excessively, these methods do not help

*See Tables 8B to 8D.

†See paragraphs 4.1 to 4.3.

‡See paragraphs 8.1 to 8.8.

§See paragraphs 9.1 to 9.8.

||Paragraphs 9.2, 9.3.

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to develop the pupils' use of language, both oral and written; they can make the subject uninspiring and they tend to inhibit individual initiative and a spirit of enquiry. On the other hand, there is evidence that they can lead to good results in those science examinations which ask mainly for recall of factual information which has been learnt. A certain amount of close direction of pupils' work may be necessary and beneficial but too much direction does not seem to encourage good attitudes to science and effective learning of its skills and processes. It might be advantageous for some science departments to review their methods and to adopt teaching approaches which are more successful in maintaining the interest and motivation of the pupils.

14.15 Science teachers in general in all types of schools recognise the importance of practical work, but there is room for more experiments of a problem solving kind and for more demonstrations conducted by the teacher*.

14.16 The assessment of a pupil's progress and aptitude is an integral part of science teaching and is commonly done by day to day observation and periodic testing of attainment†. Few of the science departments visited used tests designed to produce a 'profile' of the pupil's scientific skills, attitudes and knowledge and to diagnose his difficulties; consideration might be given to the greater use of such assessment methods. In many schools assessment methods were successful in indicating the general ability in science of each pupil but in about one-third of schools of all types, however, the needs of able pupils had not been fully assessed, so that they were being insufficiently stretched; occasionally, the least able were capable of doing more than was demanded.

14.17 A science department should devise means of evaluating the success or otherwise of its courses and good methods of assessing the progress of the pupils are an integral part of this process.


14.18 While most science teachers are teaching the science subject(s) in which they are qualified, it is a matter of concern that in the case of physics, about 16 per cent of the teachers have no qualifications in the subject and 5 per cent have no qualifications in any science subject or in mathematics‡. Few teachers of general science have qualifications in that subject; usually these are teachers with a qualification in one of the three main sciences who have learnt enough of the other two to be able to teach general science successfully.

14.19 There are clear implications for initial and in-service training. Students well qualified in physics need to be attracted to the teaching profession and appropriate in-service training courses need to be provided to help teachers who are teaching physics in spite of having little knowledge of the subject. Similarly, appropriate initial training and in-service training courses are needed for many who teach general science. There is a case for all science teachers knowing something of all three of the main science subjects. The well qualified teacher of physics, for example, may be a better science

*See paragraph 9.8.

†See paragraph 10.1.

‡See Table 8F.

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educator if he knows a little chemistry and biology, for he will then be better able to relate physics to these sciences. If appropriate science courses for all up to the age of 16-plus were to become a reality, it would be even more important for every science teacher to know something of science in general as well as being an expert, perhaps, in one of the sciences; external in-service training courses can help with this but in addition much can be done within a school with teachers learning from each other.

14.20 Evidence from full ability range comprehensive schools* suggests that the quality of science teaching would improve if the proportion of graduate trained science teachers were to be increased.

Standards of work

14.21 In rather more than half of the schools visited the standards of work attained by the pupils ranged from excellent to acceptable. These were schools which provided for most or all of the pupils carefully planned courses, detailed schemes of work with realistic objectives and lessons with pace and challenge. There was usually strong leadership and effective departmental planning, laboratories and equipment were adequate, pupils were involved in the work and teachers used a variety of teaching methods to suit the topic. Pupils performed well or satisfactorily on all or most of the eight criteria mentioned in paragraph 13.2, and the examination results of past pupils were good or at least quite acceptable.

14.22 In the remaining schools, however, there was serious cause for concern about the standards achieved by pupils in at least one ability category. Some pupils in these schools did no science at all in the fourth and fifth years; some science courses, especially for the less able, were too academic and lacked relevance to real life; teaching methods were not always suitable and copied or dictated notes were prevalent; lessons lacked pace and often there were no schemes of work. Shortage of laboratories, equipment, books and laboratory technicians sometimes aggravated the problems. Pupils in at least one ability category performed badly on the eight criteria. It is important to note, however, that only in about a quarter of these schools was the picture as black as this for all pupils. In the remainder, the pupils in one or sometimes two ability categories achieved standards of work which were at least acceptable.

14.23 The following seem to be amongst the most important ways in which science education could be improved, although in some cases factors outside the control of the school or LEA (eg the nature of the catchment area) may be important.

i. The provision of science courses more suited to the needs of the pupils and to their abilities. These are particularly required for the less able.

ii. Discussions followed by action within science departments on curriculum development and suitable teaching methods. These can be aided by programmes of in-service training provided by LEAs and other agencies.

iii. More attention to assessment procedures which indicate more clearly the pupils' stages of development, their aptitudes, interests and difficulties

*See paragraph 7.4.

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and which lead to the better evaluation of the success of the science courses offered.

iv. Provision of resources (laboratories, equipment, books, and technicians) adequate for the work to be done.

v. Provision of adequate teacher time. This involves a careful assessment of the number and kind of science teachers required by each school.

14.24 Standards of work were affected by the fact that in many cases (and especially with average and less able pupils) science teachers had adopted courses which used little mathematics and they were critical of pupil performance in the subject*. There is need for close collaboration between science and mathematics departments and for science teachers, where necessary, to make themselves familiar with terminology used in modern mathematics courses. Similarly there is need for science teachers to concern themselves with the contribution which science should make to the language development of pupils†.

In-service training

14.25 Science teachers have been in the forefront of both curriculum development and in-service training, many recognising the importance of keeping up-to-date with their special subjects and with the changing needs of their pupils. Nevertheless, evidence from this survey shows the need for effective in-service training which involves substantially more science teachers than at present. Amongst science teachers are many willing to take a lead in organising this who are eminently qualified to do so.


14.26 If it is assumed that science should on average occupy about one-sixth of the curriculum time for all pupils between the ages of 11 and 16‡ and that science is taught by practically based courses, the number of laboratories required is roughly n and (n + 1) for 11 to 16 and 11 to 18 schools respectively, where n is the number of forms of entry of the school. Formulae such as these, modified by taking into account the size of the school and other factors, were used to determine whether schools had enough laboratories. On this basis, some 40 per cent of the schools were short of laboratories (paragraph 6.2). There were also serious deficiencies in the provision of equipment, books and storage facilities in many schools§. Nearly 40 per cent of the schools overall were short of laboratory technicians. When financial circumstances allow, remedying these deficiencies will do much to create the conditions in which work of good quality can flourish.

The effects of secondary reorganisation

14.27 The intention of the survey was to view the situation as it was, and this was at a period when many schools visited had recently undergone, were undergoing or were about to undergo reorganisation. A number of effects were evident. Patterns of subject provision were changing. Former modern schools may not previously have offered all three of physics, chemistry and biology; some had offered physics to boys only, whilst girls had been offered only biology. In former grammar schools many pupils had taken separate physics, chemistry and biology up to the third year and more than one science up to O-level. The majority of comprehensive schools were planning to increase the range of the science taught to pupils

*Paragraph 12.16.

†Paragraphs 12.19 to 12.25.

‡Paragraph 14.9.

§See paragraphs 6.4 to 6.14

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in the fourth and fifth years. Therefore as time passes, pupils in these schools may well have increased opportunities. Former grammar schools had often had separate heads of department for physics, chemistry and biology and sometimes this arrangement persisted; in other schools, reorganisation had resulted in the appointment of an overall head of science. Many teachers were having to adjust to teaching a range of abilities not hitherto encountered. In addition, some comprehensive schools still awaited additional laboratories, used split sites and suffered from inconvenient or inadequate equipment and arrangements.

14.28 Some of the effects described above were responsible for some of the unsatisfactory aspects of the provision for science and the response of the pupils noted in this Chapter. These effects are temporary and during the survey there was abundant evidence of strong efforts to overcome them. There is no doubt that science education has a firm base and that there are many promising developments.

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Annex to Chapter 8

Assessments related to uptake of Nuffield Projects

1. Each school was asked to complete a questionnaire giving information on the uptake and extent of use of sixteen different projects including the Nuffield physics, chemistry and biology ordinary level materials. Replies were received from 85 per cent of the schools (330 out of 384) and the results are shown in the table.

2. Nuffield ordinary level projects in physics, chemistry and biology were of particular relevance to pupils in the fourth and fifth year and schools were 'scored' for uptake and extent of use of each of these three projects. Each school was 'scored' for each of these three projects by awarding three points for 'doing' the project, two points for substantial use, one point for some use and no points for no use. This gave a maximum possible score of nine points and a minimum possible score of zero. We accepted schools' own assessments of the uptake and extent of use. The scoring described above was simply a device for analysis, involving no value judgements. Similarly schools were scored for the extent of use of the Nuffield Secondary Science Project.

3. For full ability range comprehensive schools it was found that better grades for the response of pupils were correlated with the extent of uptake of these materials. Those 36 schools making more use of Nuffield ordinary level materials (scores 5 to 9 points) had a higher percentage of science response grades in the first three (A to C) than those 109 schools making little or no use of them (scores 0 to 4 points). This was the only statistically significant relationship. Moreover, it was true for pupils of all three ability ranges, few of whom would be expected to take ordinary level examinations; this could be taken to indicate that the good results had more to do with the teachers themselves than with the teaching material.

4. There were very few restricted ability range comprehensive schools or modern schools which had above average scores (5 to 9 points): no significant relationship with the grades emerged. Similarly, although the proportion of grammar schools doing or using one or more of these projects was relatively high, the number involved was too small to provide a significant result.

5. It was not possible to find any relationship between the influence of the Nuffield Secondary Science project and higher grades for response.

6. Of course, use of these or any other materials' did not guarantee that teaching skills would be improved and a very different picture came from a

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school which had undertaken significant curriculum development work. The department had not settled on a policy suitable for a comprehensive school. The work had not been significantly changed by the fact that they did the Nuffield courses; these were taught in just the style that the Nuffield courses set out, in principle, to change.

7. A major result of Nuffield course development has been the thorough and wide-ranging review and changes made by examination boards in recent years to syllabuses and to style of questions and question papers. Most would agree that these have been beneficial to science teaching. In general, the projects have had a great influence on the introduction of practical work in science courses of all kinds, not just in those labelled 'Nuffield'.

Table 8H Schools making use of science projects

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9 Personal and social development

Introduction - contribution of curriculum - arrangements for pastoral care - careers education, curricular and careers guidance - concluding comments.


1.1 Schools have long recognised the need to provide opportunities and experiences which allow all pupils to have the chance to gain knowledge and to develop skills and attitudes that will help their personal development as well as preparing them for the next stage in their lives, whether this is to be in continuing education or in employment. In recent years, these major objectives have assumed a more significant and conscious place in the aspirations of schools in response to external pressures and to changes in society, and within the schools themselves.

1.2 The personal and social development of the pupil is one way of describing the central purpose of education; a purpose in which the school does not work alone. All aspects of the school and of the educational process, for example, the formal curricular programme, the formal teaching and learning, the character and the quality of experiences associated with learning, the attitudes and expectations of the teachers, the underlying assumptions, are factors which influence the ethos of the school and the development of individual pupils. This part of the survey therefore takes into account all aspects of the school's life, both inside and outside the classroom.

1.3 The complex nature of personal and social development poses considerable problems. First, the various factors that contribute to the development of young adults are difficult to define in detail. Secondly, it is impossible to isolate the school's contribution from that of the physical and social environment in which young people live and, particularly, from that of the home. Thirdly, although it is possible to make a reasoned, if tentative and mainly subjective, judgement of a school's concern and of its provision for the personal development of its pupils, it is extremely difficult to judge the effect of this provision, that is, the pupils' response; HMI were able to observe only some of the pupils' responses for the relatively short period of the week's inspection of each school. Much of the evidence needed to determine response is intangible and long term and may be expected to emerge in attitudes and judgements over a lifetime.

1.4 Thus HMI attempted to take into account all the ways in which schools consciously tried to foster their pupils' personal development, including:

a. the extent to which the curriculum, the content of learning, the teaching methods employed, the knowledge, ideas and skills made available and

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the intellectual frameworks provided as an aid to the ordering of experience, appeared to match the needs of all pupils.

b. the way social and pastoral systems provided for the supervision, guidance and care of individual pupils and the use the school made of external agencies such as the welfare and careers services.

c. the ways in which the pastoral and curricular systems of the school were linked.

d. the extent to which the school ensured that careers education and guidance of all kinds were made available and how far it attempted to prepare pupils for the requirements of the world of work.

e. the ways in which personal relationships were developed within the school between pupil and pupil and between pupils and adults both within and outside the classroom.

f. the manner in which the school provided an overall climate in which good personal and social values and individual responsibility could develop.

In the light of these considerations, HMI sought to assess the success of schools in attempting to strike a balance in meeting a number of requirements: for example, the need to provide structure, authority and guidance and to allow the individual pupil the chance to share in the taking of decisions; the need to develop a pupil's potential as a member of society and to foster his development as an individual; the need to provide security and the obligation to stimulate and develop independent critical faculties; the broad educational objectives of the school and the narrower claims of external examinations.

1.5 Although the survey was focussed on the fourth and fifth years of secondary education, it was necessary in this part of the survey to take account of the school as a whole and to consider, for example, the general organisation, curricular guidance in the third year and the operation of tutorial groups throughout the school. To ensure a common approach HMI worked to guideline papers and structured the enquiry under three broad headings: the contribution of experience in the classroom and through the curricular programme; the arrangements made for pastoral care; careers education and curricular guidance. Although some specific questions were asked, the guidelines were left fairly open so that HMI could be responsive to the aims, objectives and aspirations of each of the schools visited. Evidence was gathered by observation in the classroom, by visits to assemblies, tutorial periods, registration periods, house and year meetings, by discussions with teachers and also with pupils, by visits to out-of-school activities that took place during the inspection and by consideration of the school's records and the information and letters sent to parents. As indicated in earlier Chapters* an attempt was made to distinguish between the provision made for, and the response made by, those thought likely to be leaving full-time education at 16 and those continuing their education at school or elsewhere.

*See Chapter 1, paragraph 2.2, and Chapter 5, paragraph 4.5.

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The contribution of the curriculum

2.1 The curriculum in this context may be seen as all the experiences that have been planned and organised by the school, whether for groups or individuals, inside or outside the classroom. Most of these opportunities for learning are provided through formal activities for which the school timetable allocates specific periods of time. The 'informal' curriculum - societies, clubs and other activities outside the teaching timetable - is considered later in paragraphs 3.26 to 3.28. This part of the Chapter concentrates on the 'formal' curriculum, its organisation and the way subjects are taught. Intentional, organised activities of this kind presuppose a concentration on some things rather than others, that is, a making of choices and an establishment of priorities. The overall curricular programmes of the schools in the sample therefore reflect the values of those responsible for the curriculum: the existence of a programme conveys messages to the pupils and influences their attitudes to certain parts of their education. In a similar way the implementation of the programme, for example, the distribution of resources and of staffing, may indicate the values held by the school, sometimes in ways not intended by the institution. In addition the content of the subjects that make up the curriculum and the styles of learning employed indicate the school's thinking about the need to stimulate and encourage its pupils to acquire not only personal, social and intellectual skills but also certain attitudes. These might include the spirit of inventiveness, enjoyment, curiosity and perseverance in their studies, a capacity to work independently, a sensitivity to aesthetic values, an understanding and concern for other people and groups, a desire to understand and respect the environment in which they grow up and a realisation of their strengths and weaknesses.

2.2 In general, schools placed much greater emphasis on fostering the personal development of their pupils through pastoral care than through their curriculum. In only a seventh of schools of all types did HMI consider that sufficient detailed attention had been given to the ways in which the curriculum could serve the pupils' needs in this broader sense. Yet the very complexity of curricular organisation characteristic of secondary schools derives from attempts to meet diversity of need and interest among the pupils. If in practice neither the actual individual programme nor the ways in which the programme is implemented are consciously directed towards each pupil's personal development, that complexity and the efforts devoted to maintaining it become hard to justify.

Curricular patterns

2.3 The information set out in Chapter 3 then assumes particular importance here. The early decisions made in the lower school about the availability of certain subjects, such as the first and second foreign languages and separate sciences to certain pupils, are often necessary if groups of pupils and individuals are to receive the curriculum that their abilities, needs and interests require. Pupils, however, may sometimes translate varying provision, for example, extra help with basic subjects or the chance to learn a second foreign language, into different valuations of their worth as individuals: they need to be made aware that this is not intended and that the school's expectations are high and its essential concern the same for all pupils. It is also important that decisions made at this stage do not preclude pupils

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from changing the direction of their studies later as a result of developing interests or of success in overcoming educational or personal disadvantage. The less able are most at risk in both these respects, as was evident in the 43 schools considered to be catering very poorly for their pupils' personal and social development. For example, in one of these schools there was rigid streaming from the first term after an initial assessment, with, from the beginning, some differentiation of the curriculum which increased progressively. This organisation made movement of pupils in and out of the C stream most difficult to arrange and seemed to result in members of this group accepting this initial assessment of their ability as being also final. The most able are also vulnerable to early and nearly irrevocable decisions, as was indicated earlier.

2.4 Effective continuity between courses in the first three years and courses in the same subjects in the fourth and fifth years can be difficult to ensure, particularly where pupils transfer between schools at the age of 13 or 14. Chapter 3 refers to these problems. Despite the efforts of teachers in schools with entry at 13 or 14 the lack of effective curricular links resulted, in some schools, in restricted syllabuses in the third or fourth years with little account being taken of experiences and learning in the lower school. There was also evidently a problem of providing for the pupils, before transfer, adequate guidance about the courses available in the upper school and a need for good records to enable the upper school to place pupils in appropriate teaching groups. These problems were again accentuated when entry was at 14-plus because of the need for pupils to make option choices before transfer. Analysis of the assessments made by HMI showed that the 13 to 18 comprehensive schools were markedly less successful than 11 or 12 to 18 full range comprehensive schools in providing for the personal development of their pupils (the sample provided too few 14 to 18 schools for statistical analysis). This lack of success, of which the behavioural difficulties noted in paragraph 3.25 may be one manifestation, can be attributed partly to the problems of continuity, but still more to the constraining effects on the curriculum and teaching methods of the emphasis the schools felt it necessary to place on preparation for public examinations.

2.5 Chapter 3 also describes the ways schools attempt to create balanced yet flexible programmes for all groups and individuals. Since schools work towards public examinations at 16 and are largely staffed by specialist teachers, a subject based approach characterises the organisation of the curriculum in almost every school. Many schools were aware that a curriculum made up of individual subjects, however carefully chosen to provide a balanced programme, may not necessarily result in a coherent experience for the pupils or provide all the opportunities they need. Many, however, need to go further in establishing a clear policy agreed by head and staff which can be translated into the organisation of subjects, the content of individual subjects and the teaching and learning methods used. It is clear that there are considerable intellectual and organisational difficulties in this approach. Such an overall view of the curriculum is rare. It is present only to a limited extent in some of the 'packaged' courses offered to certain pupils*

*See Chapter 3, paragraphs 9.6 to 9.8.

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and in curricular areas where certain skills are seen to be shared, for example, in mathematics and science in a few schools. It is interesting that there did not seem to be any greater overall planning of the curriculum in the 52 schools in the survey that had set up faculty structures: in many of these schools faculties seemed to be more concerned with general organisational matters than with curriculum planning.

2.6 There is the risk, in the absence of cooperative, coherent planning, that some pupils' programmes will be made up of subjects which duplicate certain experiences and ways of thinking (no bad thing in itself but often unexploited because the overlap was unplanned) and leave out other skills and experiences. The complexity of the organisational structures employed in the option years in many schools adds to this risk. All schools operated guidance procedures of some kind to help their pupils select appropriate courses. In almost all cases these procedures were operated flexibly to permit exceptions to be made to the general rules designed to ensure balanced and appropriate curricula for the majority of pupils. Often these programmes did not provide a balanced educational experience for the pupils. For example in one full range comprehensive school nearly 20 able girls had been allowed to choose courses which consisted of 15 periods a week of commercial subjects to the exclusion of physical education, religious education or physical science and only optional mathematics. In another full range comprehensive school 20 per cent of the fourth year pupils did not take a subject in the humanities while 50 per cent of the girls undertook no science. In a considerable number of other schools similar situations existed where pupils had been allowed to make up programmes which did not appear to cover the range of studies appropriate to their needs.

2.7 There are many heads and teachers who are aware of the need to establish a policy which will promote an overall view of the curriculum in the school as a whole and of the programmes of individual pupils. Many schools, however, seemed to have little time to carry out the consultations and discussions necessary to develop such a policy and to translate it into practice. To achieve this, it is necessary to arrange convenient and regular blocks of time when teachers can meet, variously as members of a subject department, as members of an area of the curriculum such as the humanities and, at yet other times, as heads of departments or as a complete staff. Some schools find time in the school day while in others, in addition to meeting during the school day, teachers meet after school and for weekend conferences.

2.8 Some schools manage to overcome lack of time by a combination of enlightened leadership, appropriate delegation and staff commitment. There were schools, however, of all types in which there was little evidence of substantial staff discussion about the school curriculum as a whole. In some cases the teachers appeared to be too preoccupied with responding to the day-to-day pressures of running the school to engage in larger policy making. In other cases the absence of a staff development programme, of curricular leadership by some heads of department or of an open climate in the school which encouraged discussion seemed to be important factors.

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Some courses designed by schools to contribute to personal development

2.9 Schools often look for a special contribution to personal and social development from careers education*, religious and moral education, health education and community service. These courses may be free-standing in the fourth and fifth year programme or appear as part of existing subjects; for example, health education may be covered within human biology and home economics. They may also occur as elements within specially designed courses under such titles as 'learning for leisure', 'design for living',or 'personal education' intended to develop knowledge of and interest in society, the world of work and the social and moral issues faced in daily life. Some examples were found in all types of schools of well conceived courses of this kind which encouraged pupils to meet life as young adults outside the school with greater confidence. In a large number of schools these courses were included in the option system and were expressly designed for the less able pupils.

2.10 Religious education was taught as a separate subject in over half of the schools of all types in the survey. In a number of schools the subject was making a worthwhile contribution to non-examination courses, either as a separate subject or as part of a general or social studies programme. Several schools were specifically noted as helping pupils to come to a better understanding of personal and social issues through discussions that took place in religious education lessons. Joint explorations of some basic moral issues took place in some schools where links had been developed between religious education and other subjects such as music, drama and history.

2.11 About half the schools in the sample provided opportunities for at least some of their pupils to engage in community service. Visiting to help and to entertain the elderly in their houses or in old people's homes or hospitals appeared to be the most common form of this activity. Some schools had established close links with schools or hospitals for the handicapped, and many more schools had arrangements for their pupils to assist in nurseries and playgroups. These sometimes successfully combined community service with opportunities for observation and relevant practical experience for pupils taking child care or child development courses. A feature of the well organised and wide-ranging programme of community service of one rural comprehensive school was the contribution made through it to the improvement of the local environment by working parties of pupils.

2.12 Where community service appeared on the timetable it was most frequently an optional subject and in some cases in competition with others at least equally attractive. For example, in one school fourth year pupils on one afternoon a week were able to choose one activity from 12 which ranged from visiting the elderly to sea fishing. In other cases community service competed with subjects such as geography and physics which might be essential to the careers of some pupils. In other schools community service was associated with courses bearing such titles as combined studies or social studies: it often formed a separate element, or option chosen by a minority of pupils, within these courses. Although there is wide acceptance in schools of the value of community service, in practice it is likely to be available on

*See paragraphs 4.1 to 4.32.

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the timetable only to a minority of pupils, mainly the less able, and to be taken up in mixed schools by more girls than boys. In some schools community service was associated with the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme while in others it was confined to a few pupils, who, supported and encouraged by an interested teacher, visited old people or local hospitals largely in their own time.

2.13 In a number of schools the educational experience gained by the pupils on community service was limited by insufficient consultation with the receiving agencies, inadequate preparation of the pupils for their service and the lack of time given to follow-up and discussion when the pupils returned to school. There was little evidence that experience gained through community service was drawn upon in other areas of the curriculum.

2.14 The opportunity for older pupils to give practical help in the local community can, however, be of great educational value. It can help pupils to understand more about the communities in which they live and the needs of their members, and also give opportunities for relationships to develop across differences of age, background and experience. At its best, for example, in a school where the course was carefully planned, integrated closely with a more theoretical classroom course and taught in a lively way, it provided something of great value to the pupils. Some pupils appeared to have gained much self-confidence and had undertaken activities which demand commitment and involvement together with a high degree of responsibility. In some cases the pupils continued with these activities during holiday times. Schools might wish to consider how this sort of experience can be provided for more pupils from a wider range of ability.

Styles of teaching and learning

2.15 It was clear that the teaching and learning styles employed in the schools effectively determined what pupils gained from their curricular programmes. Overall, the survey showed that teachers used a wide variety of teaching methods, dependent on their skills and experience, on the nature of the work in hand and on their appreciation of the needs of their pupils. The best work seen was done by skilled and confident teachers who employed appropriate class, group and individual teaching methods and enquiry-based approaches to suit the kinds of learning demanded.

2.16 It may be helpful to consider the setting in which a wide range of teaching styles operated in the 11 per cent of schools which were making notably good provision for their pupils' development. Teaching methods were based on good information about individuals and groups of pupils and their needs, and were designed to provide a balance between directed and independent thought. Teachers made sensitive adjustments to the work according to the strengths and weaknesses of the pupils, prepared their work thoroughly, gave pupils individual attention, praised whenever possible and showed high expectations, thus encouraging the pupils' self-esteem. Pupils worked hard, talked with purpose and commitment; good relationships developed which gave teachers the opportunity to experiment further with teaching methods. The pastoral system was closely linked with

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the academic structure of the school. Once established, the relationships in these schools seemed to have become self-generating and to have a powerful further effect on the attitudes of the teachers and the way they talked with their pupils: teachers, like their pupils, appeared to gain confidence, to operate more skilfully and to be receptive to new ideas and suggestions.

2.17 Many of the characteristics listed above can be found to some extent in other schools but earlier Chapters have illustrated how much of the teaching observed in very many schools of all kinds in the fourth and fifth years consisted of highly directive teaching of examination techniques and the production of routine notes and exercises copied from the blackboard, from textbooks or dictated by the teacher. However laudable the intentions, the major effect of such teaching is the promotion of memory and transcription skills at the expense of curiosity, initiative, oral skills, independent work and the ability to discriminate. Some teachers also placed undue reliance on one particular teaching approach. In particular, the over-use of highly prescriptive worksheets was noted in many schools, very often for less able groups where they were being used more as an instrument of class control than as the most appropriate method of teaching.

2.18 As has been noted earlier some subject departments had decided to use worksheets and other ephemeral material instead of books. Often it was a result of a policy decision about the way the department would work when faced with teaching groups made up of pupils with a wide range of ability. Schools need to consider the overall effect on pupils when the majority of departments are working in this way.

2.19 The decision to use worksheets was sometimes due to shortage of money, sometimes to the sad experience that the loss, theft or vandalism of books, if they were issued, placed an unacceptable strain on the finances of the department. Some schools compromised by issuing books only when necessary for homework to be completed. Whatever the reasons, the absence of books for further and independent work outside the classroom is a matter of concern, particularly if it is also associated with little use of the school library and of books in lessons. Some loss is perhaps inevitable and this is a risk worth taking if pupils are to be encouraged to learn on their own. There was evidence that where a school with social problems, even in a disadvantaged area, had taken this risk pupils responded well.

2.20 Where pupils were subjected to unsatisfactory or to unvaried teaching methods they generally responded not with hostility or disruptive behaviour, though both did occur occasionally, but with patience and resignation. Some pupils responded with resilience to this sort of teaching, attempting to divert the teacher to more interesting and stimulating matters. Other pupils seemed to welcome the kind of security offered by limited modes of teaching and were remarkably receptive to them, though some less able pupils responded with passivity and inertia to similar teaching.

2.21 The marked difference in some schools between pupil responses and behaviour inside and outside the classroom indicates that these schools

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might capitalise further on the interests, abilities and enthusiasms of their pupils. For example, it was not uncommon, as some earlier Chapters have illustrated, for pupils to speak little and behave quite passively within the classroom, whereas outside the classroom they were lively, talked freely and seemed to enjoy good relationships with the teachers on a social level.

Organisation of the resources of the school

2.22 The distribution of the teachers available to a school, the way pupils are grouped and the ways the learning environment and material resources of the school are used may have an impact on the pupils' self esteem and aspirations. They too illustrate some of the unintended outcomes of decisions which were referred to in paragraph 2.1.

Staff deployment

2.23 The teaching strengths of the schools included in the sample and the ways in which these strengths match the curricular needs of the school have been set out earlier in Chapter 4. It is not easy to distribute equitably the teaching strengths of a school, particularly when schools are recognising an ever increasing number of valid demands on the time of their teachers. Generally, and particularly in schools which were about to be reorganised or had recently been reorganised, it was the less able pupils that were less likely to get the teaching they needed. There was no evidence, however, to suggest that a large majority of schools distribute their staff in an unreasonable and inequitable way. In some comprehensive schools it was noted that the most able and experienced teachers shared in the teaching of the less able pupils and, elsewhere, that courses for these pupils were given a very high staffing ratio. However, where shortages of suitably qualified or experienced teachers exist, schools are faced with a most difficult problem in trying to maintain appropriate courses for all their pupils. In some of these cases the balance of teaching strengths had become heavily weighted towards the more able groups. In the 76 schools thought by HMI to be making very poor curricular provision for the less able there were examples of schools where these pupils were taught science, mathematics and some other subjects by non-specialist teachers, by less experienced teachers in the school, by untrained teachers and, in some cases, in the poorest accommodation. It is worth noting that in these schools the redistribution of existing teaching resources might only put the development of other groups of pupils in jeopardy and that most of these schools needed better qualified teachers, together with in-service training to improve the skills and knowledge of existing teachers.

Groupings of pupils

2.24 The grouping of pupils may be dictated by resources; at the same time it could be an expression of the values of the school. It is evident that all schools must group their pupils for social, academic and pastoral purposes. In making these decisions schools have to attempt to reconcile objectives which, in some ways, may appear to be conflicting. For example, for some purposes groups of varied abilities may be suitable while for others more homogeneous groupings may be more appropriate. It is clear that there is no one best way of organising pupils for all purposes and that individual schools adopt a variety of practices. Once schools have decided on the ways in which they will group their pupils it is important that they are aware of the problems

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their organisations, of necessity, create, and successfully attempt to minimise these difficulties. Grouping by ability, frequently by setting, sometimes by banding or by some combination of these methods was common in the fourth and fifth years of a majority of the schools surveyed. Even in these organisations the spread of ability in any given class may still be very great in some subjects. Such an arrangement, used flexibly and thoughtfully, can allow for the needs of pupils of all abilities to be met in a way that makes effective use of the teacher's time and expertise and also makes it easier to match the appropriate teaching programme and any examination objectives to the abilities of the pupils. In a few schools it was found that problems had arisen through curricular decisions being made in the first three years without the possibility of additional opportunities at a later date with the result that pupils were working in inappropriate groups in years 4 and 5. In other schools pupils were not able to move between ability groups in the same subject because there had not been sufficient common planning of course content or because the demands of different examination targets were incompatible. Some schools which banded their pupils in the lower school retained the bands in the option years, and used them to determine the pupils' programmes and the level of examination entry. For example, the provision of O-level for the top band, CSE for the middle band and CSE Mode 3 examinations or non-examination courses for the lowest band often resulted in a rigid structure which prevented pupils working at their best level in different subjects. In such schools this type of banding had tended to reinforce teachers' earlier expectations of the pupils; it was very difficult for late developers to move between bands, and pupils were taking too many or too few examinations, some at an inappropriate level.

2.25 Mixed ability teaching groups are sometimes set up as a matter of policy in years 4 and 5, but more usually this type of grouping at this level is involuntary and results from the organisation of the option schemes employed by most schools. Here there is clearly a tendency for the same teaching methods and materials to be employed with all the pupils in a group. This problem arises partly from the overriding importance given to the examinations which occur at the end of most courses, but mainly because the abilities and aptitudes of all members of the group have not been identified. The introduction of a single system of examining at 16-plus might ease some of the problems of the schools. More schools and teachers need to be aware of the effects on their pupils of the ways they choose to group, and of the teaching skills needed whatever grouping system has been adopted.

2.26 Some schools made provision within the school for the particular needs of their gifted pupils* by organising, for example, special classes and withdrawal systems. Almost always this concern for the needs of these pupils formed part of a general concern for individual needs favourable to the personal development of all pupils in the school.

2.27 Most schools increasingly try to ensure that all fourth and fifth year courses are open to pupils of both sexes. Boys and girls, however, seem reluctant to take full advantage of these opportunities and the traditional

*As defined in Chapter 3, paragraph 4.1.

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division between the sexes in technical and domestic craft subjects is still apparent. This may well demonstrate the influence of earlier climates of opinion both within and outside the school on those at present in the fourth and fifth years. Similarly, the traditional divisions in the sciences are still present, as Chapter 8 has illustrated.

The environment of learning

2.28 The quality of the school environment (the buildings, the classrooms, the circulation areas and the grounds) and the stimulus which it can provide are undoubtedly important to the development of the attitudes and values of the pupils. Some schools are naturally at an advantage in that the area in which they are built is attractive. It is easier for these schools to create an atmosphere in which pupils respect the school and the local environment. However, there were schools in the most unpromising surroundings where there was an absence of litter, of graffiti and of vandalism of even a minor kind, and where a positive attempt had been made to enhance classrooms and circulation areas by extensive displays, often by the art and craft departments, of the pupils' own work; in other schools self-help programmes, such as tree planting or litter removal campaigns, had played a part in creating a pleasant atmosphere.

2.29 Many factors contribute to the quality of the environment in which the pupils learn. Two are expressly relevant here. The first is the pupil's ability to identify with the school, which derives to some extent from his sense of responsibility and commitment to some part of the school buildings. It is notable that in some schools where there is an unsettled atmosphere neither subject departments nor class groups had the security of, or responsibility for, fixed bases. In one large comprehensive school where pupils moved about for most of their lessons, the school was beset by vandalism which resulted in carved desks, broken chairs and many graffiti. The second is the quality of the visual displays in the classroom, which can play a major part in the creation of an interesting and stimulating environment. Comment is made in other chapters about the important effects that visual displays have on learning. Here it is worth noting that displays in rooms and display areas which were seen to be the responsibility of individual teachers, pupils or groups of pupils were rarely vandalised. For example, in one large comprehensive school, the adjoining geography rooms, in which two members of this department taught full time, were full of visually stimulating materials and a settled teaching atmosphere existed. Elsewhere in the school there were no displays of any kind and teachers said that those that had been put up had been defaced or destroyed by the pupils.

The effects of external examinations

2.30 The qualifications which examination successes can provide, the examinations' prominent place in the expectations of parents, teachers and employers, their enhancement of the pupils' motivation and the standards they set ensure that schools give them a very high priority and make success in them one of their major objectives. There is evidence that a minority of schools go further and attach little importance to anything else. In all circumstances, the examinations generally taken at the end of the fifth year affect the structure, content, and teaching of the curriculum and, in conse-

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quence, the atmosphere of the whole school. Much depends on the skill of the teachers in recognising and utilising the stimulus to pupils' application and motivation which examinations provide, while avoiding the unsatisfactory and unnecessary repercussions of the examination system which are discussed later in this Chapter and in Chapter 10.

2.31 In many schools examinations clearly increased the motivation of both pupils and teachers. At best examinations gave a common objective to pupils and teachers, provided a clear structure of work and led to effective learning. In other schools the work was no less productive but the associated attitudes were less satisfactory because the rewards for endeavour were seen by teachers and pupils only in terms of certificates: in the process they lacked opportunity to explore the intrinsic interest of the subjects being studied and the enjoyment of different modes of teaching.

2.32 Although such application to work is commendable it sometimes hides deficiencies in the quality of learning: such deficiencies may be the result of inappropriate demands being made on the pupils. It was evident that in some schools pupils were being entered for examinations inappropriate to their particular abilities and some embarked on examination courses who would have been better suited by non-examination courses. Elsewhere, the range of programmes offered to some groups of pupils, usually the more able, was narrowed: these pupils were thought to have no time to spare for creative and aesthetic subjects and non-examination courses. Careers education, health education and religious education also tended to be excluded. The work attempted in the classroom was often constrained by exclusive emphasis placed on the examination syllabus, on the topics thought to be favoured by the examiners and on the acquisition of examination techniques. In almost all the schools no time was made available in the fourth and fifth years for reflective work such as might be fostered by independent but carefully guided private study periods and the development of study skills which the pupils might need later in school, or for future education or employment. The pupils may be put at a disadvantage by this narrowing of their curricula and modes of work and the ensuing effects on the range of skills, values and attitudes which they have acquired. Certainly some pupils responded by showing little interest in anything which was not seen to be related to their examination work. Other pupils, for example those leaving at Easter in the fifth year or not intended to take examination courses, may also be at a disadvantage in schools where the examination objective has such primacy.

2.33 Teachers are influenced by a variety of factors in determining how they will teach: for example, through their own views of their responsibilities to their pupils and by the expectations of parents and employers as they and their pupils see them and by the degree of their own professional confidence. The interest and support of the community and particularly of parents plays a major part in the success of a school: the dividing line between an interest which reinforces the best work of the school and that which hinders it is a fine one. Many schools interpret, rightly or wrongly, parental and

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employers' interest as a demand solely for good grades in public examinations. Some schools respond by committing some pupils to inappropriate examination courses; some teachers respond by restricting course objectives and teaching styles and some pupils respond by showing interest only in examination work.

2.34 Some schools, however, showed that they could be successful in relating the demands of external examinations to more general educational objectives. In these schools schemes of work were based on curricular objectives that were far wider than the syllabus requirements of the external examinations, and the teaching styles were lively and successful in promoting the pupils' learning. Examinations were not ignored but they were not given more than due weight. There were a few encouraging examples of schools of all kinds in the survey which operated in this way and had also found that their examination results had not suffered. Some schools have successfully enlisted the interest and concern of parents and employers. There can be little doubt of the potency of enlightened 'outside' interest in support of the teacher and pupil, especially where this interest is as much concerned with the processes and quality of learning as with the examination results.

General comment

2.35 It is clear that there is a need for many schools to reconsider curricula, methods of teaching, use of resources and methods of grouping pupils with regard to their impact on pupils' personal development. Many schools are conscious of the need to explore more fully ways of looking at the present and future needs and progress of their pupils, particularly the less able, in order to build on the strengths of the school and to provide appropriate courses and teaching. The creation of a continually updated comprehensive and reliable picture of each pupil requires the collection, organisation and better use of the results of assessment techniques already employed in many schools. The development of fuller evaluation programmes (of which better assessment would be part) to replace the more limited ones now generally operating would help schools to make better judgements about the appropriateness of their course objectives and their performance. At present too much reliance is placed on examination results. Although these provide an important measure of pupils' academic achievement they are inadequate yardsticks by which to assess whether pupils are growing into responsible, well adjusted and interested young adults, and can say little about the reasons why a school is, or is not, succeeding in these ways. In addition, more subjective information, such as the results of observations in the classroom, needs to be collected to provide insights into the processes of education. Time needs to be spent within and between departments and generally in the school on reviews of work and teaching methods. Such cooperative activity can provide important data, often engender a high degree of staff involvement and commitment to an agreed target and create confidence on which future developments can be based.

Arrangements for pastoral care

3.1 All schools, of necessity, attempt to create a framework (their 'pastoral' organisation) which will deal with the general welfare of all their pupils while also providing a setting in which relationships and care for particular

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individual needs may be fostered. One of the characteristics of successful schools and teachers is that they are able to provide such a framework. The majority of schools in the survey were evidently concerned that their pastoral systems should:

a. attempt to coordinate consideration of the pupil's personal, social and academic development;

b. facilitate the development of good relationships between teachers and pupils;

c. try to ensure that each pupil knows and is known by a particular adult;

d. make available relevant information through the development of effective communication and record systems;

e. involve parents and outside agencies in the work of the school, where appropriate;

f. enable someone to respond quickly and appropriately to pupils' problems or indeed to anticipate a problem which might arise;

g. by these means improve the learning of the pupils.

The quality of pastoral care in about two-thirds of the schools in the sample was favourably commented on by HMI.

Pastoral systems

3.2 In the last ten years or so there have been considerable changes in the ways in which schools have attempted to realise these aspirations. The increased size of secondary schools and changing expectations of education by society have put greater emphasis on the importance of the teacher's formal pastoral role. Most schools now consider that informal arrangements which rely for their effectiveness on individual teachers interpreting and extending their own roles are not sufficient. This need for co-ordinated efforts has led to wide use of systems which seek to define and organise pastoral care.

3.3 Most systems fall into one of two broad categories. In 'vertical' systems the pupils are divided into groups, each group usually given a 'house' name, each of which contains an equal proportion of pupils of every age group and ability level. Each house is under the direction of a house master/mistress, who is usually responsible to a particular deputy head or to the head. Within the house, pupils are placed in smaller groups (which occasionally may be made up of children from the full age range the school serves, but more often of pupils of only a one or two year age span) under the supervision of a house tutor. In 'horizontal' systems group tutors are responsible to year heads and these teachers in turn are responsible to a deputy head or the head. Some schools operate systems which have elements of both the vertical and horizontal groupings, for example, a house system in years 1 to 5 may be combined with a year system for the sixth form. The survey showed that over three times as many schools of all types (189 : 59) employed year systems rather than house systems, and that about a third of all the schools have adopted mixed systems of various kinds.

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Size of the school

3.4 Predictably enough the pastoral care systems of large schools (with over 1,200 pupils on roll) differed from those of small schools (with under 600 pupils on roll). A highly structured system may not be necessary in a small school and indeed a cumbersome organisation may actually inhibit effective care, as it did in one such school where pupils were deflected from talking to a teacher they knew to others who were supposed to deal with their pastoral needs. However, it cannot be assumed that frequency and closeness of informal contact, often thought to be characteristic of small schools, will in themselves guarantee knowledge of and support for all pupils. In some cases the lack of a system prevented information from being communicated or recorded, so that it never became available to others in the school. Further, in other small schools visited, the absence of a pastoral system reflected the fact that little organised thought had been given by the school to the nature of pastoral care and the ways in which support and encouragement could be provided. However, in small schools it is clear that care of the individual was possible without complex organisational structures. For example, in one mixed 11 to 16 modern school the teachers clearly understood the nature and extent of their roles, careful planning had taken place and the arrangements for coordination and liaison were successful. The essential characteristic of this school, and of other small schools operating successfully without a highly structured pastoral care system, was that the roles and responsibilities of teachers had been clearly thought through and were understood by all.

3.5 There is much evidence that a more structured system is essential in larger schools and the remainder of this section of the Chapter describes and comments on various aspects of the systems used by larger schools. An illustration is set out in paragraph 3.30. There was no evidence from the written reports that the effectiveness of the pastoral system of large schools was in any way different from that of other schools or, indeed, that large schools suffered more from organisational problems.

Factors contributing to the success of pastoral care

3.6 The quality of a school's pastoral care was found to depend very heavily on the following factors:

a. the definition of roles;

b. the length of time available to teachers for the care of the individual pupil and the use made of tutor time;

c. the record system;

d. the leadership of the head and senior teachers and the commitment of the staff.

The definition of roles

3.7 Pupils were well served where schools and teachers had successfully linked the traditional roles of the class teacher - teacher, adviser, arbiter of acceptable behaviour - to an effective system of year or house heads. Many schools were found that had developed such organisations. For example, in a restricted range, mixed, 11-18 comprehensive school of 1,000 pupils pastoral care was based on the form as a unit and the form teacher, with year heads coordinating the work of form teachers and liaising with two deputy heads. Form teachers in the early years normally taught their forms for some

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lessons, generally in their form or subject room, gaining a good understanding of individual children. All staff with pastoral and academic responsibilities worked closely with the form teachers. The remainder of the system was equally well organised and elicited a good response from the majority of pupils who had confidence in the staff, for whom they showed liking and respect. In this school the interests of the pupils were well served by the form teacher acting as the immediate and direct line of contact between the pupils and the year head who coordinated the efforts of their teams. In schools where the teachers' roles were poorly defined, and ineffective in practice, the result was either wasteful duplication of effort, or, worse, a serious gap in the school's system for care. Irrespective of the system of pastoral care which is operated in a school, there are clear indications that where the quality of care is poor there is also a failure to deal adequately with the interrelationship between the academic and personal development of the pupil.

3.8 In 55 schools (14 per cent of the sample) one teacher or more than one teacher had been given a special responsibility as counsellor. In a further four schools, counsellors were identified by HMI, although they had not been recorded on the staffing return supplied by the school. The role of the counsellor was variously defined by the schools. As would be expected, his responsibilities reinforced the schools' practice in individual care, in respect of such work as liaison with services outside the school, maintaining or contributing to pupils' records, inter-school transfers, discussions about pupils' progress, careers guidance and the counselling of individual pupils.

3.9 The practice of counselling in schools, whether undertaken by the counsellor or by another teacher, may include, or consist solely of, advice. However, its prime purpose is to help a pupil to learn how to deal himself with the problems or tasks that have led him to seek help, or have shown that he needs help. The difficulties are those which most young people encounter at some time. The symptoms include, for example, underachievement, problems in relationships, unpreparedness for subject or career choice. Learning how to cope with or to overcome these difficulties, which may sometimes be quite disabling for the pupils concerned, is a task for which individual help is often asked of teachers, whether or not they are designated as counsellors. Such work is especially time-consuming. Senior staff such as heads of houses, mentioned in one school as having been carefully selected for their personal qualities and qualifications in counselling, were allowed some timetabled time for this aspect of individual care. In 21 of the 55 schools where teachers had a special counselling responsibility, the teacher was allowed under 50 per cent of his time for his non-teaching duties. It has to be remembered that some of this time would be needed to carry out normal marking and preparation duties associated with teaching. In only 15 schools, ranging in size from 538 to 2,473 pupils, did the counsellors' non-teaching time reach 75 per cent or more. Lack of time militates seriously against effective counselling provision in many schools.

3.10 There was some evidence of inadequate definition and insufficient understanding of the roles of counsellors and pastoral staff, and sometimes

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lines of communications between counsellors and other teachers in the schools were less than satisfactory. In some cases problems were also caused when accommodation for the counsellor was inappropriate, or non-existent.

Tutors and time

3.11 The survey revealed a wide variety of practice in respect of the time given to tutor periods and the use made of them. A minority of schools had considered carefully the amount of time needed by form and group tutors to carry out their pastoral duties properly. In general, in these schools there were better relationships between teachers and pupils and much productive activity took place in timetabled tutorial periods, particularly where tutors also taught their groups. Schemes of work were sometimes provided for tutors for use in the tutor periods. These included help with remedial work, preparation and follow up of careers work and assisting pupils to use the class library. In addition, some schools provided materials and resources which guided activity when pupils were engaged in individual or group work. On the other hand examples of poor practice were also seen. In some schools the amount of time allocated to tutor groups was insufficient for anything but registration and administration and the group had little sense of identity or community. Elsewhere such poor use was made of tutor time that tutors were quite unable to assist their year heads. In such a school the basic lack of sympathy between many pupils and teachers appeared to be due to insufficient demands being placed on the pupils in respect of standards of work and behaviour: the example set by teachers who did not take their role as tutor seriously and revealed this by the way in which they worked also played a significant part in this situation. Time is also needed so that tutors, and others, in a school can build up effective communications and useful relationships with the local community and other educational bodies and agencies such as the Education Welfare Service, the Area Health Authority, the Schools Psychological Service, the Social Services and the Careers Service. Greater care in planning the time given to tutor periods and help and advice to tutors on how best to use this time would allow better use to be made of tutor periods.

The record system

3.12 In order to develop an adequate record system and picture of its pupils, the secondary school must begin with the information supplied by the schools which provide its future students. Such information is usually provided in the form of record cards which may be transferred with the pupils when they change schools. It was found that the quality of the information on these record cards varied considerably but that they generally contained details of academic attainment and progress as well as general information on health, interests and activities, and responsibilities held in the contributory school. Examples of schools were found where no use had been made of the records transferred from the primary schools.

3.13 Secondary schools have begun to develop other links with contributory schools. The survey yielded many examples of schools where the first year class teachers and heads of years or houses visited these schools to meet their new pupils and to discuss progress and problems and other matters. The schools' efforts in this direction are affected by the numbers of contribu-

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tory primary schools. Additionally, secondary schools invited their future pupils for a day's visit, late in the term prior to transfer, so that they might see their new school and meet their new teachers.

3.14 Within the secondary school knowledge of the pupils is commonly built up through the compilation of academic records, reports on progress and relevant information on their interests, aptitudes, career interests and aspirations. The total picture of the pupil which emerges from these records helps to give a sound basis to curricular and careers guidance. Just under two-thirds of the schools had created an effective system of record keeping, collecting reliable and worthwhile information and making it accessible to those who needed to use it. For example, in one such school information about individual pupils was accumulated conscientiously yet selectively and reviewed regularly to remove material which was no longer important to the understanding of the pupil as he developed. Matters concerning individual pupils were dealt with in some detail through consultation with appropriate members of academic and pastoral staff. Parents were promptly contacted when necessary. Effective storage and retrieval of information and speedy communication were promoted with the help of an efficient school office.

3.15 In a minority of cases the record systems employed by schools were not effective and consequently did not make a full contribution to the schools' pastoral arrangements or to their assessment of academic needs. In one of these schools separate record systems had been set up by the school office, by year tutors and by the careers teacher; this resulted in much duplication of information and it was difficult to obtain a clear picture of any pupil. In other cases the system did not contain sufficient, or up-to-date, information: and elsewhere the information, particularly on academic performance, was clearly unreliable. Reliable information and its proper use are clearly important if continuity of education for an individual pupil is to be satisfactorily achieved.

Leadership of head and senior teachers and commitment of staff

3.16 About a third of the schools, including schools of all types and sizes, were very well led. In such schools priorities were clearly defined and included, though with variations in emphasis, the development of pastoral care, close cooperation between academic and pastoral structures, academic success, staff development and appraisal of the school's performance. Most heads in these schools initiated ideas and policy, but also readily encouraged ideas in others and reconciled opposing interests and views. Styles of leadership varied with personality and included both authoritarian and democratic approaches, but most of these heads consulted fully the staff of their schools and allowed decision-making to be widely shared while retaining an overall and acknowledged leadership. Many examples were noted of schools where a group of dedicated senior teachers strongly supported their head teachers, gave leadership to their colleagues in their own right and generated a warm and good humoured atmosphere in the staffroom and throughout the school.

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3.17 The commitment of the staff is also most important. Many reports mention schools where teachers gave generously of their free time for pastoral care, where strong links had been established with the community, where each pupil was helped to succeed in at least one area of the school's life, where teachers spoke to pupils in a way that showed their understanding of the needs of young people and where teachers willingly accepted their responsibility for the personal development of all the pupils in their charge.

3.18 The combination of all these factors can lead to a sense of purpose which manifests itself in a commitment to hard work by all, pride in the school, proper concern with examination success and at the same time an enjoyment of school. In schools where this happened pupils of all abilities behaved in a natural easy way, were proud of their school and appreciative of the efforts made for them by their teachers; relationships between teachers and pupils were good and standards of courtesy and general behaviour were high.


3.19 HMI took account of the more structured aspects of school life which contribute to discipline. Discipline can be seen as the formulation of an acceptable code of behaviour and a framework in which pupils' attitudes are able to develop. Pupils learn that they have to act within a range of behaviour which is acceptable to themselves, to their fellows and to society, striking a balance between self-interest and communal good.

3.20 The range of behaviour that is accepted as reasonable is necessarily wide and is related to factors such as variations in the nature of the local community, the style of leadership and the quality of the teachers, the tradition of the school and the ages of the pupils. Taking these into consideration, HMI felt that nearly 80 per cent of the schools visited struck a reasonable balance between the permissive and the authoritarian: just under 20 per cent of schools were thought to be overauthoritarian and under five per cent too permissive. It should be stressed that these were difficult judgements to make in any one school as almost every school contained a few teachers who found it difficult to strike a reasonable balance. A larger proportion of single sex schools than mixed schools were considered overauthoritarian but there was no relationship between overauthoritarian schools and type of catchment area or type of school. Authoritarian and permissive schools alike were associated generally with poorly organised pastoral systems and poor leadership. Heads of such schools also found it difficult to create a purposeful atmosphere and to care for the individual needs of their pupils.

3.21 A balanced approach to discipline, in the particular circumstances of the school, may be illustrated by one girls' comprehensive school which was located in an old established manufacturing area. The code of behaviour was firmly and consistently organised and reflected the school's careful consideration of the needs of its pupils. The code included: positive rewards and sanctions, and close checks on attendance, punctuality, homework, and internal truancy. Corporal punishment was not employed. The response of the pupils was seen in the close and friendly relationships that had

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developed between pupils and teachers. The pupils, almost without exception, reacted positively to the school's caring attitudes and there was much affection for the school and the headmistress. There was a positive atmosphere about the school and a situation existed where good standards of behaviour and work could prosper.

3.22 One mixed comprehensive school considered to be over permissive may be taken as exemplifying some of the characteristics of schools in this category. The school had decided to reduce its rules to a minimum but freedom without responsibility had led some pupils to disregard the few rules that existed; for example, punctuality was poor and there was little concern for the environment. Some pupils were disruptive to the extent that they had to be removed from some lessons. The efforts of the head and some of the staff to gain higher standards of work and behaviour were to some extent being frustrated by the views of some teachers who did not demand the same standards as their colleagues.

3.23 At the other end of the scale a mixed 11 to 18 comprehensive school situated in a suburban area demonstrated some of the characteristics of the overauthoritarian school. About 20 per cent of the pupils had marked learning difficulties and many did not see their education as relevant to their needs and had reacted accordingly. This challenge was seen by many teachers to be an attack on and a threat to their authority. The school had become obsessed with ensuring that pupils conformed to a series of petty rules. Transgressions of these rules had led to many pupils being caned. Teachers readily over-reacted so that minor confrontations appeared as major challenges. Such encounters had become counterproductive, flexibility of action had been lost and relationships in the school had in general been damaged.

3.24 There was no evidence to suggest that general indiscipline, violence between pupils or hostility to teachers were commonly found in schools or that problems of this kind were on the increase. This view was supported by the independent comments of heads on the incidence of behavioural problems in their schools.* It was clear that schools which were successful worked within a coherent and consistent system, the limits of which were clear to teachers and pupils.

3.25 Comment was also made by HMI on the pupils' behaviour and courtesy which were considered to be good in 326 schools (85 per cent of the sample). Schools of all types, apart from grammar schools, were included in the 15 per cent of schools where standards of behaviour and courtesy were poor. It was notable that about one-third of the 13 to 18 comprehensive schools in the sample were included in the latter group, often as a result of the poor behaviour of their less able pupils. This particular problem may well be related to the difficulties of the 13 to 18 schools in taking important curricular decisions soon after the pupils enter the school, sometimes, as was noted earlier, without much knowledge of the pupils' previous experience and achievements. At the same time other 13 to 18 schools were able to create

*Discussed in Chapter 11.

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a more adult atmosphere than schools with younger pupils. It was found that pupils in these schools responded in a mature way with generally good behaviour despite, in some cases, their difficult social backgrounds. In the whole sample good behaviour and courtesy were often associated with schools serving long-established manufacturing, rural and prosperous suburban areas, with poor behaviour and discourtesy being more frequently associated with schools serving inner city areas. Many of the latter schools were nevertheless able to overcome these difficulties and one such school is described in paragraph 3.30.

'Extracurricular activities'

3.26 Many schools mount varied programmes of voluntary activities which include sports, hobbies, cultural and scientific activities, and outdoor pursuits such as adventure training, camping and sailing. Usually these activities take place outside the formal curriculum although some schools allocate time on the timetable in which they can be undertaken. Additional to these are activities involving social service which contribute to the welfare and community life of the locality, such as helping the disadvantaged and lonely or elderly people. In most schools, extracurricular activities are designed to cater for the needs of pupils of all abilities.

3.27 The success of extracurricular activities of this kind was, predictably enough, closely related to the support and enthusiasm of the teachers involved, most of whom devoted considerable amounts of their own time to such pursuits. Schools rightly saw these activities as offering ways of improving understanding and personal relationships between teachers and pupils and between pupils and pupils, since they often allowed shared interests to be developed and explored. They also provided situations where individuals became known, tensions were eased and teachers became aware of difficulties that might arise. In addition this type of activity not only reinforced and extended the experiences given in the formal curriculum and provided opportunities, particularly through residential experience, for pupils to learn to live with others in an unfamiliar environment, but was also valuable for the enjoyment and stimulus provided. Many schools with well developed extracurricular provision also achieved better standards of behaviour and courtesy and had a happy and contented atmosphere.

3.28 There are schools which have become, in addition, centres for the local community. In five cases such schools had been designated 'Community Schools' by their Local Education Authorities and had been given special accommodation so that the campus could provide facilities for the local community as well as for evening and day courses, for example a library, a swimming pool, a youth club and gymnasia. Although these schools as a group did not provide particularly generously for extracurricular activities, they were all markedly successful in fostering the personal development of their pupils.

Pupil participation

3.29 A most important element in the schools' provision for personal and social development was the degree to which the pupils were enabled to play an active part in shaping its daily life. In the large minority of schools where

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teachers had given pupils the opportunities to take initiatives, to plan their work to some degree, to take responsibility for the performance of duties appropriate to their age and to be involved to a limited extent in decisions which affected their school lives (for example, through a school council), there was abundant evidence that the pupils made full and sensible use of these opportunities. The participation allowed by schools varied very widely from those that expected little from their pupils and offered few opportunities, to those in which much was expected and many opportunities were offered. Where schools did allow pupils opportunity for initiative a greater sense of community was apparent.

An illustration

3.30 The following example has been selected to illustrate some of the evidence set out in this part of the Chapter. A girls' comprehensive school located in the inner ring of a city and serving a very difficult area had developed a most successful pastoral organisation. The success of the system may be attributed to the following:

a. the head had strong support from a number of long serving experienced teachers of quality;

b. there was an exceptionally well planned pastoral system:

i. each house had a team of group tutors who normally moved up with their tutor classes;

ii. the heads of houses had substantial teaching assignments and counselling was closely linked with academic study;

iii. there were weekly policy meetings between senior teachers and teachers with tutorial responsibilities;

iv. regular meetings took place between the two deputy heads responsible for pastoral and academic matters and the heads of house to enable the top management to keep in touch with the general functioning of the school.

c. all teachers knew what action to take when they faced behavioural difficulties either in or outside the classroom;

d. there was a well maintained record system based on:

i. personal files which included primary school record cards, the school record card, general correspondence, and careers information;

ii. confidential files (accessible only to senior teachers) which included details of the pupils' contacts with agencies such as the social and child guidance services;

iii. medical cards;

iv. a special file of cases where internal action was urgently needed kept by each head of house.

e. there were frequent and generally most effective meetings with external agencies: the school-based Educational Welfare Officer was exceptionally active, and absence and truancy were quickly dealt with.

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Most of all, the essential quality that made the school's provision so eminently successful was the total devotion and commitment of the teachers to their jobs and the inspirational leadership given by the head.

Careers education, curricular and careers guidance


4.1 All pupils need opportunities to discuss with knowledgeable adults the implications of the curriculum for their future. Different pupils require different types of consultation at various stages in their school career: this process should contribute to personal development. To derive the most benefit from such consultations young people need to be able to set their aspirations in the context of the world outside the school; to enable this to be done many schools have set up a careers education programme. The most successful guidance practices observed were those in which the balance and appropriateness of a pupil's curriculum was the concern not only of the form or house tutor and the head of year or house but also of the various subject specialists. These members of staff cooperated with trained careers teachers and careers officers with the result that careers education, curricular and careers guidance were interlinked. Effective teamwork was a feature of a comprehensive school which had a team of seven consisting of the careers coordinator, the head and three staff who were directly involved in careers teaching and two teachers who respectively were responsible for school-industry liaison and a work experience scheme for fifth and sixth formers. Great care was taken to meet the curricular needs of individual pupils. Good links existed between careers staff and heads of houses. Careers education was an element of the curriculum for all pupils from the third year.

4.2 Not all arrangements were as satisfactory as this, however. In the organisation of the curriculum insufficient attention was sometimes paid to 'keeping doors open' as long as possible. In some cases pupils were not encouraged to participate in discussions leading to curricular choices and career decisions. Features of schools observed to have poor links between curricular and careers guidance included: omitting to assign to a member of staff responsibility for reviewing each individual's total curricular programme; lack of coordination between those responsible for advising on choice of courses and the careers staff; lack of communication between the school and the careers service on the effects of curricular choices. In some schools careers education was rudimentary, with emphasis on 'information' rather than on guidance; in others, while careers education and guidance was adequate, it was provided too late to have any effect on curricular choices*.

4.3 Pupils may turn for guidance to those members of staff with whom they have the greatest rapport and contact rather than to the teachers who are best qualified by experience and position to help. Clearly it is important that the guidance system does not stop pupils discussing their interests and problems with teachers with whom they have a good relationship. On the other hand it is important that the various sources of guidance, together with the extent and nature of the expertise available, are known by all members of staff and that a systematic guidance programme is provided.

*See Chapter 3, paragraph 6.1.

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4.4 In-service training has an important part to play in helping schools to develop both the skills of individuals and teamwork within the institution. Some of the successful careers staff had not only received training themselves but were active in the in-service training of others, both within their own schools and more widely.

Relationships with parents

4.5 Over 90 per cent of schools said that they consulted parents extensively in year 3 before decisions were made on subject options and in year 5 before decisions were made about employment or continuing education. The achievement of such parental participation involves schools in much effort; the survey showed that time spent in this way was well spent. In the most successful schools relationships were developed in a variety of ways which included parents' meetings, interviews (at some of which the reports on pupils' work and development were issued), letters and circulars, parent-teacher associations, careers conventions and social events. Many schools made commendable efforts to overcome what in some cases does appear to be parental apathy or reluctance to join in educational discussions. However, in other cases schools had given the impression that they did not welcome parents or encourage their involvement. For example, in one school, the parent-teacher association existed only to raise funds for the school. In other schools the documents sent to parents were complex, impersonal, lacking in explanation, and meetings were limited to informing parents of the school's decisions.

Careers education in the curriculum

4.6 In 1973 the Department of Education and Science issued Education Survey 18 Careers education in secondary schools (HMSO). This report expressed the view that for all boys and girls careers education should be a continuous process and an important element in the curriculum. One of the conclusions from the survey was: "The concept of careers education as that element in the school programme more especially concerned with living and working in the adult world is not at present generally accepted or put into practice except by a minority of schools". Since 1971-72, when the careers education survey was undertaken, the school leaving age has been raised to 16 and many more comprehensive schools have been established. The purposes and scope of inspection in the national secondary survey were different from those in the survey of careers education. Caution is therefore needed in making detailed comparisons between the two surveys, but some comparisons can be made and the criteria used in Education Survey 18 remain valid.

4.7 Careers education programmes normally included information about the world of work and about opportunities in further and higher education.The better ones aimed to develop self-awareness and realistic self-appraisal. They sought to stimulate interest in occupations, both in relation to the individual and to the economy. One of their general aims was to develop competence in gathering and evaluating information and in making reasoned decisions. In particular, they set out to prepare young people for the transition from school to work or to some form of continuing education, to encourage them to use the resources of the various helping agencies and to enable them to search for jobs while recognising that they will not all be successful.

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4.8 Table 9A indicates that only half of all the schools in the sample offered a timetabled careers programme to all the pupils in the fourth year and the proportion was similar in the fifth. Less than a fifth of the grammar schools offered a timetabled careers programme to all pupils in the fourth year and only a fifth in the fifth year. Less than two-thirds of comprehensive schools offered a timetabled careers programme to all pupils in the fourth year and only just over half in the fifth.

4.9 Small schools (under 600 on roll) were less likely than large schools (over 1,200) to offer careers education programmes for at least some of their pupils; this is only partially explained by the over-representation of grammar schools in the former category. Otherwise, the pattern of provision is not related to the size of school. Some of the schools where no programme was mounted introduced aspects of careers education in other ways, for example, as part of individual guidance or through various subjects in the curriculum, but this happened in an informal and unstructured way. Where programmes were offered to some pupils only, it was usually the abler pupils for whom no provision was made.

4.10 Various arrangements were found where careers education was offered as a specific component in the curriculum. These can be grouped into four categories:

a. timetabled periods designated careers education:
i. more than one period per week (or the equivalent);

ii. one period per week (or the equivalent);

Table 9A Provision of careers education programme* in the fourth and fifth years: by type of school

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b. rotational arrangements. (During the course of the year a weekly period, or periods, is occupied in rotation by two or more subjects, one of which is careers education, so that pupils have regular careers education but their time allocation usually amounts to less than one period a week);

c. as a planned component of a broad course of study called, for example, design for living, preparation for adult life, combined studies, general studies;

d. a replacement system, where careers education is substituted for other timetabled lessons infrequently or occasionally.

These patterns of organisation can be further subdivided depending on whether the course was a two year course or was confined to either the fourth or fifth years.

4.11 Table 9B sets out the arrangements made by the 217 schools in the sample which offered a careers education programme of some kind to all pupils in the fourth and fifth years or in both years.

4.12 Some of the careers education programmes were impressive. In successful schools there was a carefully thought out syllabus with clearly defined aims and objectives. A wide range of experiences was provided through publications, films and video-tapes, visiting speakers and visits to places of employment. Exercises in self-appraisal by the pupils took place several

Table 9B Arrangements made by schools offering careers education programmes to all pupils (1)

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times during the course and pupils were encouraged to match their own abilities and interests against the opportunities offered in a wide range of employment possibilities. There were also examples of well conceived programmes among the schools that offered careers education as an element of a broader course of personal and social education. A 13 to 18 school in a large city provided a well designed and balanced general studies course which was followed by every pupil in the fourth and fifth years. This course included both careers education and other elements. The strength of the teaching, which was undertaken by the careers teacher and senior members of staff, derived in large measure from the collective wealth of experience in careers work and, in the case of the careers teacher, also in industry. The work seen was lively, individualised and varied in approach, and it made a significant contribution to the development of language. The contribution made by this course was particularly valuable for members of ethnic minorities who had language difficulties.

4.13 Some aspects of the topics and experiences mentioned above may be included within subject teaching, whether or not the school has a careers education programme. However, only a very few schools had made a deliberate attempt to coordinate such provision - for example, in one school in which the heads of English, religious education, geography and craft, design and technology departments had consulted the careers teacher when developing their syllabuses. All the schools where such coordination was seen also had a timetabled careers education programme. In general the potential for careers education within the subjects of the curriculum was not being exploited.

Material resources

4.14 Very few schools had been provided with purpose-built units comprising an office, interview rooms, a careers library and teaching room. More usually careers departments had the use of converted accommodation. For example, one comprehensive school made two rooms available, one for teaching and the other for use as an interview room and a base for the careers coordinator. The lack of a careers room was found to be a serious constraint. Some schools had a wide range of up-to-date publications, video-tape recordings, slides and films, but a large number of schools were lacking in material resources.

Staffing for careers education and guidance

4.15 The teachers responsible for careers education and guidance were known by various titles: careers teacher, careers coordinator, head of careers. (For the sake of convenience the report refers to these teachers as heads of careers.) Their duties were found to vary widely, depending on the amount of careers provision in the school and the extent to which other teachers were involved. In some cases little more was undertaken than the collection of information and its dissemination to individuals on request. In other cases the head of careers coordinated and participated in the work of a team of teachers and careers officers, in addition to organising the resources and maintaining links with higher and further education, industry, commerce and the professions. As with any course the provision of careers education in the third, fourth and fifth years requires the design of a scheme

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of work and the selection of teaching methods appropriate for a wide variety of interests and levels of ability. Some careers teachers devoted much time to interviewing individual pupils and parents, as well as maintaining records and preparing the information which the schools supplied to the careers service.

4.16 Table 9C sets out some features of the staffing provision for careers education. In the sample 370 schools provided information from which it was possible to determine the pattern of responsibility for careers education. Of these, 352 schools (95 per cent) recorded at least one member of staff with a major responsibility for careers.

4.17 There were 415 teachers designated as heads of careers, 30 per cent of whom were women. Table 9D relates to the 415 teachers.

The types of responsibility held in addition to careers were most commonly head of department and head of the year or house. About one-sixth of the 184 teachers recorded as having careers as their second responsibility served

Table 9C Provision of teachers with responsibility for careers education: by size of school

Table 9D Responsibilities of heads of careers

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in small schools where some senior teachers would of necessity take on a number of responsibilities of this kind. The assignment of careers work to a teacher holding one of the most senior posts in the school may have advantages in enhancing the status of careers education. However, even in a small school (with 600 pupils or fewer) the organisation of careers work is a time-consuming task; the holding of other responsibilities may reduce the range of careers work or detract from the efficient performance of these duties, or both.

4.18 Fewer than one in 20 of the heads of careers taught careers education and no other subject, and only one in five listed it as their first subject. Very many heads of careers obviously combined their work in careers with a commitment, often a major one, to subject teaching outside their careers department.

4.19 In addition to the heads of careers 94 teachers were listed as holding a special responsibility to assist with careers work. Of the schools with a head of careers and one deputy, 37 were mixed schools: 26 of these had a man in charge and a woman deputy, seven had two men, three had a woman in charge and a man deputy, only one had two women. Of the 15 mixed schools with more than one deputy, only one had a woman as head of the team.

4.20 The information supplied by the schools listed nearly 650 members of staff, including heads and deputy heads of careers, as teaching some careers lessons; this figure certainly does not include all those for whom careers work was a part of their teaching duties. In some cases an individual's involvement was no more than one or two lessons a week. This dispersal of the teaching responsibilities increases the need for school-based in-service training in which heads of careers have an important contribution to make.

4.21 One important factor is the amount of non-teaching time available to careers staff for the guidance of individual pupils, for liaison with agencies outside the school, and for administrative duties in connection with their responsibilities for careers; much of this work can only be carried out when the school is in session. In a six form entry school, to give each pupil in the fourth and fifth years one interview (allowing a 35-minute period for preparation, interview, recording and follow-up) during a 36-week year would require ten periods per week of non-teaching time. In addition to these duties preparation and marking are required of all teachers. Heads of careers with no other responsibility were found to teach, on average, for 28 periods in a 40 period week. While much depends on variables already discussed, it appears that lack of sufficient non-teaching time was in many schools a severe constraint on careers work. It was notable that there was an association between inadequate non-teaching time and poor careers guidance provision although there were exceptions where dedicated teachers provided a good service despite the time limitations they faced. This was achieved only by work before and after school, in breaks and in the lunch hour.

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4.22 Experience in occupations other than teaching can be of value to careers staff. An approximate idea of the length of this experience was obtained by subtracting from the age of the teachers the number of years spent in teaching plus a notional period of 24 years before qualification. On this basis, almost half the heads of careers had some experience outside teaching and more than one in five had more than five years. This does not take into account experience gained during vacations.

4.23 The attitude of the head towards careers education is crucial. Apart from this, the most important single feature of schools where the careers work was on a sound footing was the quality of the heads of careers: their knowledge and experience of careers education and guidance, their understanding of pupils and of the world of work, the strength of their contacts with the careers service, employers and employees and their ability to manage and develop the human and material resources available to them.

The careers service

4.24 HM Inspectors cooperate with Inspectors of the Department of Employment Careers Service Branch in some inspections of the LEA careers service and in these inspections attention is given to the relationship between schools and the careers service. For the purposes of this survey only limited enquiries were made. In many schools adequate links appeared to exist between the careers teacher and careers officers and in nearly one-tenth of the schools these links were considered to be good. Where links appeared to be less than satisfactory, mention was made of the absence of a head of careers, lack of non-teaching time for contact when there was a head of careers, shortage of staff in the careers service and careers officers who were unable to spend sufficient time in schools. There is scope for developing links between careers officers and members of staff other than careers teachers. Schools reported that careers officers made their major contributions by giving individual vocational guidance interviews. They also worked with groups of pupils, took part in parents' evenings and helped to arrange work experience and careers exhibitions and conventions. Cooperation between schools and careers officers was particularly productive when the school took its own responsibilities for careers education and guidance seriously and the careers officer was involved as a partner in the process.

4.25 A comprehensive school situated in the London suburbs provided the following example of good relationships with the careers service. Careers officers attended all parents' meetings, assisted with the careers education programme in both the fourth and fifth year classes, and undertook selective interviewing; selection was by a combination of self-referral and referral by the parents or by the school. Parents were invited to attend the interviews with the careers officers. Prior to the interview the careers teacher provided a full profile for each pupil. At the end of the interview, each pupil was discussed by the careers officer, the careers teacher and the head of year. In addition, a useful summary of the interview was given to each pupil and was also kept in the school's record system. In this case the careers officer was working successfully within the context of the school's careers provision: in some cases the context was poorly developed and the effectiveness of the careers officer was diminished.

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Linked courses

4.26 The survey yielded examples of linked courses at local colleges of further education. In many cases pupils had responded enthusiastically to the opportunities provided. Linked courses were almost always vocational in nature and included courses which offered experience of industrial, commercial and retail activity, so that their reference to the world outside school did not need to be emphasised. Some schools relied on linked courses, such as building construction, automobile engineering or office practice, to widen the curriculum for pupils in years 4 and 5. In most cases these courses were available only to the pupils of average ability or below. In a number of schools teachers spoke favourably about linked courses and said that there had been an improvement in the attitudes and response to school work of pupils attending them, although it was recognised that the timetabling of these courses created some problems. It was not possible to assess the degree to which the work of schools and colleges was in fact linked by such arrangements.

Links with the world of work

4.27 One means by which schools try to provide their pupils with knowledge and experience of industrial society is through activities which require the cooperation of industry, commerce and the professions. A wide variety of work experience was offered to pupils, although the opportunities available to anyone school depended on the character of employment in the locality. For example, an urban school was able to arrange work experience in large and small factories of many types, offices, shops, a hotel, hospitals, nurseries and banks; on the other hand, in some areas the variety of possible placements in work experience was much more limited. One hundred and forty-two schools (37 per cent of the sample) provided work experience for their fifth year pupils. The duration of work experience was mostly five days or less, though in 20 of the schools pupils were placed for from six to fifteen days in their final year. Only 5 schools, 2 comprehensive and 3 secondary modern, provided work experience for all their pupils and 4 of these had fewer than 150 pupils in year 5. In many schools only a small proportion of the year group was involved and these were usually of average or below average ability. Some schools said that they would like to develop their schemes further for pupils of all abilities, but that numbers were limited by the capacity of local commerce and industry to meet the schools' requests for placements.

4.28 It was not possible during the survey to assess the value of the work experience or to determine whether the outcomes justified the time and resources that the arrangements demanded. Some teachers operating schemes were convinced that pupils had benefited, especially through the growth of self-confidence; some young people were enthusiastic and thought that work experience had improved their understanding of the world outside the school (even though in some cases they already had Saturday jobs). On the other hand, teachers who were not themselves directly involved sometimes commented on the absence of pupils from their lessons. This underlines the need for all the teachers in schools which organise work experience to be conversant with the objectives of the scheme.

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4.29 Schools commonly invited representatives of industry and commerce to talk to pupils either in connection with subject studies or as part of the careers education programmes. It was less common, however, for schools to arrange for groups to visit industrial and commercial firms. Three schools set aside a week in years 4 and 5 when speakers visited the school and pupils visited industrial and commercial firms.

4.30 Visits, work observation and experience and lectures by outside speakers all need careful preparation and follow-up if the experience is to make the maximum impact on the pupil and his attitude to the curriculum and the world of work. However, half of the schools which offered work experience failed to find adequate time for preparatory and follow-up work; it was particularly noticeable that pupils were rarely asked to share with their fellows their observations and feelings about their experiences. But, when well conceived and implemented, these activities can provide a valuable stimulus and can enrich the work that is done in schools.

4.31 During the period of the survey there was increasing interest in developing links with the world of work. Evidence of this interest included the appointment of industrialists as school governors and the modification of mathematics courses to take into account the views of local industry. Such developments may play their part in helping young people to achieve a better understanding of the society in which they live and to adjust more readily to working life.

General comments

4.32 Advances have been made during the 1970s but it is still the case that many schools could do more to prepare young people for living and working in the adult world. Not only careers teachers and careers officers but specialist subject teachers and members of staff concerned with pastoral care have a contribution to make to careers education, curricular and careers guidance; these contributions need to be identified and coordinated. Much is gained when subject teachers are accurately informed about educational and employment opportunities connected with their subject. Young people benefit when the school cooperates with the family, sometimes to provide information about opportunities of which parents may not be aware and sometimes to draw upon parental knowledge and experience. At its best careers education uses the resources offered by the community, both in the locality and farther afield.

Concluding comments

5.1 The difficulties of making judgements about personal and social development must limit the confidence with which generalisations are put forward or conclusions drawn. The school cannot be the sole or even the main influence in this matter. Indeed, there may well be conflict between the standards and attitudes which schools seek to foster and those which prevail in the homes of some pupils, among their peer-groups and in the world outside the school. Nevertheless the ways in which pupils will have developed by the end of their compulsory schooling are influenced not only by the experiences they have had in school and the atmosphere within which these

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have been provided; the knowledge they have gained and the skills they have acquired also play their part.

5.2 The overwhelming majority of schools recognise their obligations in this matter and give much thought to them, particularly through their systems of pastoral care. But there are wide differences in the extent to which admirable general intentions have been translated into effective practice. Of the schools included in the survey one-sixth were assessed very favourably in this respect. Without exception these were schools where much careful detailed thought, often involving many or all of the teachers, had led to agreed policies and practices concerned with general matters affecting the whole school community. These included decisions about what constituted acceptable behaviour; what should be done in response to unacceptable conduct; the maintenance of high expectations; the setting of clear targets for individual pupils; agreement about the purpose and nature of the curriculum offered to pupils of all abilities. Essentially these were schools where there was effective leadership at all levels. It was evident that pupils in these schools responded well to the clearly defined arrangements made by the school. There were on the other hand an equal number of schools where the provision for the personal and social development of the pupils was assessed as unsatisfactory. These schools lacked leadership and agreed policies and pupils were often confused by the conflicting objectives and varying standards that they found in different classrooms and areas of the school. These schools had not found it possible to develop programmes and teaching methods suited to the varying needs of their pupils (particularly the needs of the less able pupils) and many of the curricula offered lacked balance and coherence. Both these deficiencies were also found to a much more limited extent in schools which were judged on balance to be making a reasonable attempt to foster their pupils' development.

5.3 It was always easier to identify and appreciate the overt ways in which the school encouraged the growth of the pupils' personal resources than to assess the results of the provision. The pupils' response may often only be seen in the long term and the effects that could be observed could not necessarily be attributed directly to the school. The report has therefore concentrated on the schools' efforts. Overall the response of pupils of all abilities was judged to be better than the provision made for them; it was judged unsatisfactory in only one-tenth of the schools in the sample.

5.4 It is quite clear (as was to be expected) that the quality and extent of the influence the school has on the personal development of the pupils depends primarily on the teachers as individuals or as members of staff. This influence comes not only from the teachers' educational views reflected in the curriculum, the structure of the school and the learning methods but also from the impact on the pupils of the behaviour and attitudes of teachers, their expectations, their professional practices and skills. This impact is felt at all levels in the school but particularly in every lesson in the classroom.

5.5 Schools place great emphasis on fostering their pupils' development by means of pastoral structures and organisations. Much would be gained

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if equal emphasis was placed on the learning in the classroom and the teaching of an appropriate curriculum. Further attempts are needed to develop each school's curricular philosophy so that the skills, ideas, knowledge and attitudes developed in individual subject areas might be better coordinated. This coordination would help not only with the development of basic skills and skills associated with certain subjects but also with important across-the-board aspects of education such as language development, health education, moral education, environmental education and careers education, as well as the capacity for independent learning.

5.6 It is also important that the aims of the school are stated clearly so that they may be put into practice without distortion and communicated to pupils, teachers, parents and the community. Statements of this kind can give a greater sense of purpose to the school itself, as well as letting others know what is taking place in the school.

5.7 Much remains to be done in many schools to involve pupils more in the life of the school. This can be encouraged by allowing pupils opportunities to play a more active part in their learning, showing in the classroom, for example, that their ideas and the ways in which they express them are valued. Pupils (particularly older pupils) also need to be encouraged and allowed to play their part, where possible and appropriate, in decision-making in the school.

5.8 It is sometimes argued that because many young people cannot look forward to a career in the sense of progress towards promotion, and because for some the immediate prospect is unemployment, there is little point in careers education. Certainly high levels of unemployment present a severe challenge to those involved in careers education and in guidance. This reinforces the case for an approach to the curriculum and to careers education which is concerned with personal development and sets employment in the context of adult life. In view of the impact of technology and the changing nature of work, it is the more important that young people should understand the economy and begin to appreciate their role within it, and that they should be helped to achieve personal fulfilment and to cope with the many changes which are in prospect for them. The responsibility for providing this help rests both with the schools and also with the wider community of which the schools form a part.

5.9 The teachers often blamed the pressures of external examinations for limitations in the secondary curriculum. Changes in some examinations which would put more emphasis on understanding and reasoning and the development of positive attitudes to learning might indeed help. There is evidence, however, that confident and assured teachers, particularly if supported by the local community, are able to meet the requirements of external examinations without harmful effects on the curriculum and teaching styles.

5.10 Schools are already paying considerable attention to developing their methods of assessing the progress of pupils and to improving the supporting

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record systems. This process needs to continue so that the pastoral, careers and academic arrangements may be matched more closely to the needs of individual pupils. Much is gained from linking more closely the pastoral, careers and academic programmes of schools.

5.11 Most aspects of the life of a school impinge to some extent and in some ways on the development of the attitudes and self-esteem of the pupils. Schools need, as many of them would acknowledge, to consider and regularly review their arrangements and practices from this point of view. They themselves are best placed to observe the results of their practices over a considerable period of time, the length of a pupil's stay in a school, and therefore to evaluate their success in achieving some of their important objectives. There would be considerable benefits if all schools attempted to set up more explicit and more formal self-evaluation programmes than generally exist at present. In doing so it would be helpful if schools explored ways of assessing their pupils' development and their own practices that complement and may go beyond the results of tests and examination certificates. At present it is clear that many schools feel themselves unable to give sufficient consideration to these matters because of other pressures and claims on time. Most schools face considerable problems when attempting to carry out the task of self-evaluation, which involves all teachers in the school in adopting and accepting an open, critical attitude to their own work and to the work of their colleagues. Very many schools will need help in setting up such programmes and all schools would benefit from external help when considering the results of their evaluations.

5.12 Procedural reviews of the kind outlined above cannot on their own change anything. Undoubtedly they can, even in their simplest form, provide evidence on the basis of which schools will be able to see, more clearly, the limitations and successes of present practices, the ways in which roles and responsibilities may need to alter and the ways in which attitudes in the classrooms (and elsewhere) may need to change. The translation of the review into good practice requires leadership at all levels and conviction and commitment from everyone in the school.

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10 Public examinations (at about age 16)

General - entry practice and policy - O-level and CSE - number and range of subjects offered in examinations by schools - number and range of subjects taken by individual pupils - factors influencing school policies with regard to examinations - effects of decisions regarding examination entry - reasonableness of entry policies - effects of examinations on the fourth and fifth years - constraints affecting schools - schools' use of examinations.


1.1 Earlier chapters have demonstrated that public examinations hold an important place in the work of schools and that preparing pupils for them is a dominant feature of the work of years 4 and 5. For the majority of pupils examinations at 16 plus provide a qualification for employment or continuing education and afford a valuable means - though not the sole means - of assessing and recording their academic achievement towards the end of their compulsory schooling.

1.2 In recent years the public examination system has become increasingly diversified in response to changing needs, and the range of opportunities for pupils to gain certification in public examinations is now very wide. The number of candidates for GCE O-level and CSE examinations has also risen substantially. While the main reason for this increase must be the rise in school population affecting the age group, and particularly the raising of the school-leaving age, some influence may be attributed to the diversification mentioned above, especially when it is considered that the range of ability of those taking public examinations has widened. Evidence from the schools in the survey confirms this and indicates that over 80 per cent of pupils are taking courses leading to public examinations in English and in mathematics.

Practice and policy of schools with regard to examination entry

2.1 Schools were asked to supply information about entries to GCE O-level, CSE and the joint examinations of GCE and CSE boards and the grades awarded in them for the two years prior to the date of the visit. For that reason the information has been used mainly to identify schools' practice and policies in entering pupils for public examinations. No attempt has been made to relate the results to the work of the fourth and fifth years seen at the time of the visit, nor to use them comparatively across the schools inspected. In all there were 325 usable returns of information. They revealed practice of some variety and complexity.

O-level and CSE

3.1 Almost nine in every ten schools made both O-level and CSE examinations available, though not necessarily to all pupils. Twelve per cent of the schools in the survey offered a single target exclusively, 7 per cent CSE examinations only and almost 5 per cent O-level only. All the schools which worked exclusively to an O-level programme were grammar schools. Of the 25 schools which offered only CSE examinations, 20 were of 11 to 16 age range; 22 were

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modern schools and 3 were comprehensive; 13 had rolls below 500 pupils; of the remainder one had 900, and two had 1,600 pupils.

3.2 A number of other schools offered very few subjects or entered very few candidates for one or the other examination. Nineteen schools offered as few as three subjects whether at O-level or CSE; 45 quoted fewer than 10 candidates in some subjects, the majority at O-level. Several made use of the joint examinations specifically as a means of extending the opportunities to take O-level examinations where to introduce them as separate targets would have been difficult. In other cases the joint examinations* were used as a 'fail-safe' device for those pupils whose performance was considered borderline. The information supplied by the schools indicates that they were making increasing use of such joint examinations as were available in their area.

3.3 The ability range of the pupils in the school is obviously the most important factor in the school's choice of examinations. But the need to distinguish between O-level and CSE examinations, especially in small schools and in those subjects where only one teaching group can be timetabled, creates a problem for the organisation of classes and the planning of work, above all when examination syllabuses diverge markedly. These demands, coupled with parental and pupil pressure for entry to O-level, appear to be one cause of the larger classes preparing for O-level in some subjects.†

Number and range of subjects offered in examinations by schools

4.1 The practice of schools differed widely in respect of the number and range of subject examinations for which they presented candidates. (In calculating these each examination target has been counted as one subject: thus in a school offering mathematics at O-level and in CSE Mode 1 and, say, commercial arithmetic in CSE Mode 3, the total would be three examination subjects.) At one extreme were to be found small schools of restricted ability range: an 11 to 16 school of 258 boys offering ten subjects at CSE only; another (147 on roll), offering ten subjects, three at O-level and seven at CSE. At the other extreme there were 27 schools which offered a total of over 45 subjects examined (in all types of examination): 76 schools offered 40 or more subjects; of these 63 had a sixth form and 53 had rolls in excess of 1,000; all were comprehensive except four which were modern.

4.2 Table 10A shows that the largest numbers of examination subjects were offered by comprehensive schools with a full ability range. Comprehensive schools - largely coeducational - offered on average 37 subjects and non-comprehensive schools of all types 24. This presumably reflects the need for comprehensive schools to offer a greater variety of courses and examinations. By the same token, grammar schools and, to a lesser extent, modern schools offered fewer subjects because they contained groups less diverse in ability and interest. As expected there appeared also to be a significant difference between the number of examination subjects offered in single sex and in mixed schools. The latter offered on average 34 subjects compared with

*See Glossary

†See Tables 3N, 3Q, 7D and 8G.

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25 for girls' schools and 24 for boys' schools. Only in the case of the modern schools was there relationship with age range: the average number of subjects offered for examination in 11 to 16 modern schools was 23 and in 11 to 18 modern schools 31. There were no regional differences in the number of examination subjects offered.

4.3 Table 10B indicates that the number of examination subjects increased with size of school and that, although the great majority of schools worked to a broadly similar pattern, some fell well outside it. Practice varied considerably both across all types of school and within each type. For example,

Table 10A Number of subjects offered in examinations: by type of school

Table 10B Number of subjects offered in examinations: by size of school

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for all types of school of between 601 and 800 pupils, between 14 and 53 examination subjects were offered; in modern schools of 800 plus pupils, between 21 and 52 subjects.

4.4 Thus most schools made full use of the range and diversity of public examinations available. The variety of practice may best be illustrated by example. In one school CSE arithmetic was an optional subject alongside both O-level and CSE mathematics; CSE general science was to be seen in conjunction with three separate sciences at O-level; other subjects were available in Mode 3 form to make appropriate examination targets accessible to as many pupils as possible. Another variant was exemplified by a school which offered examinations in five of its main subjects through two GCE boards, through alternative O-level syllabuses (for example 'physical science' alongside 'physics') together with alternatives at CSE such as 'elementary mathematics and money management', 'household mathematics and science', which were offered together with two O-level mathematics syllabuses and a Mode 1 CSE syllabus. A final example gave 15 O-level subjects (divided between two GCE boards) and 35 CSE subjects with a large number of variants in one subject area such as accounts, commerce, office practice, shorthand Pitmanscript, shorthand speedwriting, typing.

4.5 Schools use alternative modes of examination (mainly at CSE but also at O-level) in order to acquire public certification for courses of their own devising. They may wish to design their own syllabuses and examinations for two reasons: to align GCE and CSE syllabuses in order to avoid the problems arising from divergent courses (especially in those subjects which are necessarily restricted to one teaching group); and to reflect in the examination syllabus and the forms of assessment the approach adopted in the teaching programme, for example, in courses of largely local interest (as in history or geography) or in new subjects or combinations of subjects. Schools can and do design such syllabuses and examinations with the full range of candidates in mind. In practice, however, the majority of these courses are intended for pupils of average ability and below, sometimes with a limitation placed on the grades which may be awarded. Schools were not asked to identify the modes for which they entered candidates and the few specific references were unlikely to be representative of the actual take-up of such alternatives.

Number and range of subjects taken by individual pupils

5.1 Schools have the responsibility for deciding, in association with pupils and parents, whether or not to enter their pupils for examinations, in which subjects these should be, how many and of which level and style. These decisions need to take account of the pupil's aptitude, attainment, interests and career plans. The subjects he takes, some of which are likely to be necessary for qualification purposes, should absorb his interest and stretch his talents and not overload him by dint of their unsuitability or number. The course should offer him worthwhile learning experiences and the examination a reasonable chance of success. With these considerations in mind the school endeavours to arrive at balanced and appropriate programmes for its pupils.

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5.2 The wide differences in practice described in paragraphs 4.1 to 4.3 were also to be seen when the average number of subjects taken in examinations by individual pupils was considered. For each school the average was calculated by dividing the number of subject entries by the number on fifth year roll. In modern schools pupils took on average 5.1 subjects; in grammar schools 8.0; in full range comprehensive schools 6.4; and in restricted range comprehensive schools 5.7. The variations applied both across and within types of school: thus of 45 schools (of all types) of three forms of entry the average number ranged between three and ten examination subjects per pupil - between three and eight for modern schools. Conversely, schools with roughly the same average number of examination subjects per pupil were of widely differing sizes: an average of six occurred in schools of three and of eight forms of entry.

Factors influencing school policies with regard to examinations

6.1 The variations indicated here and in earlier paragraphs derive from the effects of several factors. Clearly, size and type and consequently teacher resources play their part. So too do individual school policies: a low average may result from a small number of available examination subjects or from educational or organisational considerations which limit the number of subjects for which some or all of the pupils are entered; or both influences may be at work. On the other hand, a high average may obtain because a very wide range of examination targets is made available with most pupils being allowed to take a large number. Another factor in a high average occurs where use of double entry is extensive; no figures are available for this practice although it is commented on in paragraphs 6.2 and 8.2.

6.2 School examination policy is also affected by regulations made by LEAs. One in three of the schools stated that they were affected by such regulations; these schools were distributed among 51 LEAs. In 80 per cent of the cases the LEA forbade or discouraged double entry. The other ruling most frequently quoted was the limitation on the number of subjects a pupil might take. It was to be found operating in 12 per cent of the schools, the most frequent maximum quoted being eight. Other rulings related to a limitation on the number of GCE boards a school might use and a refusal to pay for 'repeats'. Such stipulations had the desirable educational effect of reducing a potentially heavy examination load whether brought about by double entry or, more important, by entry in a large number of subjects.

6.3 Some schools made a practice of entering all pupils for an examination in each subject they were studying. A number stipulated a maximum number of examinations to be taken - usually 7 or 8 subjects. In most cases the curriculum the school was able to provide and the requirements of the organisation of classes imposed their limit on the number of subjects which could be taken in examinations. But the practice in some schools of allowing 9, 10 or 11 subjects to be taken created an unnecessarily heavy examination load, especially on those below the top level of ability.

6.4 Discussions with the schools indicated that a number of factors were at work affecting entry policies. The ability range of the pupils was one important

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factor: a high proportion of pupils with learning difficulties might mean relatively few entries. Yet, in spite of such special difficulties and even if a school favoured a cautious policy towards examinations, there were pressures to increase numbers entering for them. A newly reorganised school was usually anxious to offer a growing number of examination targets, often in competition with neighbouring schools. Some schools endeavoured to win parental and pupil interest by introducing examination courses in subjects where none existed previously. Parental interest was often felt as pressure for entry to O-level examinations: the lower grades D and E were said to carry more prestige with many parents and employers than the possibility of a grade 1 at CSE.

Effects of decisions regarding examination entry

7.1 For the less able and least able pupils - that is, those for whom O-level and CSE examinations are not nominally designed - entry may encourage purposeful work and avoid the creation of a group marked off because it is not engaged in examinations. At the same time it must be questioned whether courses designed largely for pupils of average ability and above can be appropriate for pupils of more limited ability and whether the results which they obtain hold much value in the world at large.

7.2 Another effect of the pressure to increase examination entries may be that they are concentrated on entry to types of examination in which borderline pupils have little chance of success. The decision to enter a pupil for an examination or for a particular type of examination may also be the product not of educational but of organisational considerations. Thus there were examples of a small number of schools restricting O-level to their top band or allowing this band to take only O-level examinations; candidates might therefore be taking inappropriate examinations in their weaker subjects and pupils in a lower band might be denied opportunity in their stronger subjects: one school was entering only a third of the fifth year group for examinations. Chapter 7 comments that progress in mathematics could be hindered where pupils were confined to a lower band because of their performance in other subjects. On the other hand, there were cases where, because of an expectation that all the pupils in a group should take a certain number of subjects, a low ability group was working to an unrealistic programme. It may be added that the schools where opportunities to take both O-level and CSE were not available probably contained pupils for whom examinations of one or the other type would have been more suitable.

Reasonableness of entry policies

8.1 Public examinations were a major preoccupation of the schools inspected. In seven out of every ten schools the entry policy seemed reasonable to HMI. This judgement took into account three factors: appropriateness to the abilities, interests and ambitions of the pupils of the subjects being examined; the loading on pupils considered in relation to their ability; and the currency value, both in commercial and educational terms, of the subjects being taken. For half of all the schools surveyed unqualified approval was recorded. This was an overall judgement made for each school, bearing in mind the factors

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which governed its examination entry policy, including catchment area and resources, and taking into account reservations about policies in one in five of these schools which in other respects were considered reasonable.

8.2 Overall, the majority of schools appeared to strike a satisfactory balance in respect of entry policy. But about one third of the schools were making unrealistic demands on some pupils, with too high expectations of some and underexpectation of others. There was also a lack of considered policy and an absence of guidance for the individual pupil or of coordination of his examination programme. Occasionally entries were being made despite the large number of low grades awarded and/or absences recorded in the previous year's examinations, a lack of success which should have led to reconsideration of entry policy. On the other hand, too many pupils were allowed to opt out of examinations in some schools. But the most frequent problem concerned overloading, where too many subjects were being taken (a figure of 10 or 11 was quoted); where double entry was practised; and where pupils were working to overambitious targets. The overload was worse for the pupil of average or low ability. Some of the more questionable policies can be put down to the need, as schools saw it, to justify themselves through examinations. Difficulties were increased where this was allied to inexperience in dealing with some categories of pupils and in assessing their potential successfully.

The effects of examinations on the work of the fourth and fifth years

9.1 The schools whose results were thought by HMI to be of good quality tended to be those where entry policy was considered reasonable. This applied also for the majority of those schools where HMI considered that examinations had a dominating influence. But the relatively high proportion of such schools where results were poor suggests that exclusive concentration on examination targets is not necessarily conducive to good results. These not surprisingly occurred more frequently in schools in favoured situations. But poor results were to be found almost equally in schools in favourable and unfavourable circumstances. Good performance in examinations could evidently be achieved without excessive distortion of the teaching programme and independently of circumstances.

9.2 The chapters on language, mathematics and science illustrate the effects of examinations on the work of the classroom; that on personal development deals with the impact of examinations on the school as a whole as well as on the individual pupil. It is perhaps worthwhile to draw together the observations made in those chapters and to consider the role of examinations in schools.

9.3 The very high priority accorded to examinations by schools, parents and employers has effects which far exceed the purposes for which they are designed. These are to record the level of pupils' achievement in certain subjects at a certain stage of their school education (for most pupils the terminal stage) and to provide qualifications necessary for the pupil's career in further or higher education or in employment. Examinations thus provide

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a stimulus for pupils and teachers and the opportunity for the school to set its own performance against national standards. Moreover, when teachers come together as examiners or moderators there is a further opportunity to relate the school's performance to that of others. In some cases examination syllabuses act as substitutes for teaching syllabuses and thereby provide a framework for teaching and learning.

9.4 Some beneficial influences of examinations on the work of a school are illustrated in the earlier Chapter 5. In mathematics their effect has been to introduce much new content and broader methods of assessment. In science they have provided an opportunity for an increased range of science teaching and for average and less able pupils to gain a certificate in science. When Mode 3 examinations were the outcome of coherent courses they were said to have a liberating effect in the development of the written and spoken language and in allowing pupils to enjoy a wider range of literature. Some teachers considered CSE examinations to be important in motivating the less able.

9.5 That said, those chapters also make clear that the effect of the dominating pursuit of examination results was to narrow learning opportunities, especially when work was concentrated on topics thought to be favoured by examiners. Sustained exposition by the teacher and extensive note-taking by the pupil tended to limit oral work; this was especially likely to happen when the attainment of candidates had made them borderline performers. Even preparation for oral examinations became too dependent on the formal requirements of the examination. In at least one fifth of the schools the demands of public examinations appeared to be an important factor in the impoverishment of reading, with the least able pupils suffering most, even though the school had often successfully helped them over their initial difficulties. In many subjects writing tended to be stereotyped and voluminous - the result of the widespread practice of dictated or copied notes, instead of encouragement to engage in a variety of kinds of writing for different purposes. In mathematics, examinations were one factor in encouraging narrow, repetitive practice and standard routines divorced from application to real situations, making it difficult to arouse interest and to deepen and broaden understanding. Similarly in science, the emphasis on content and concepts unrelated to the pupil's experience, again characterised by intensive note-taking, was precluding investigational activity even where examinations required assessment of such skills.

The constraints affecting schools

10.1 At the same time the constraints affecting schools must be appreciated. The prominent place that examinations occupied in the expectations of teachers, parents and employers often resulted in pressure on schools to enter pupils for examinations (particularly at O-level) inappropriate to their ability, or on pupils to work at an excessive number of subjects. Some employers may wish to consider whether, in making use of examination qualifications as indicators of general performance, they make requirements over and above those strictly necessary for the type of work they offer. Rightly or wrongly, examination results were commonly perceived by the

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school as the sole indicator of its success in the eyes of the community. Newly formed comprehensive schools were liable to be particularly conscious of this pressure. For these reasons some pupils appeared to lack interest in anything not related to examination work. The organisation of teaching groups was complicated by the need to have divergent examination targets in mind, particularly in those schools and in those subjects which needed to teach pupils with different examination objectives in the same group.

Schools' use of examinations

11.1 Nevertheless, it is for schools to match the curriculum and examination targets to pupils' needs. While the demands of external examinations may be acknowledged as a key factor in the work of fourth and fifth year pupils there is a balance to be struck by the teacher between practice designed to satisfy examination requirements and wider educational aims. The inclusion in the teaching programme of particular skills, content and understanding and the balance between them should be decided on merit and not merely by reference to examination syllabuses which stem from what can be conveniently, or is traditionally, tested. The latter are to be seen as a framework for study, to be interpreted and extended according to the needs of the pupils and the objectives of the course professionally decided upon within the school. Yet many schools were found to have only an examination syllabus available for the fourth and fifth years. New content is sometimes introduced not for its own sake but because it is in the examination; and it may therefore be less well taught if its purpose is misunderstood. There are enough examples to suggest that the achievement of examination success is not incompatible with broader aims and approaches.

11.2 The above comments bear less upon the intrinsic value of examinations than upon the way in which they are used, and they suggest that there is a passive acceptance of the system and the pressures it imposes on schools. There is clearly a need for schools and others to consider ways in which examinations themselves might contribute more fully to wider educational purposes. To devise methods of examining which encourage the best approaches while not imposing repeated and isolated practice of certain techniques is not easy. In order to bring together curriculum and examinations there is a case for the participation of more teachers both in devising syllabuses and in assessing their pupils, particularly in those aspects of work which cannot easily be tested within a timed written examination. The benefits of a balance of broad based and school assessment would apply to all pupils and not merely to the average and less able. The introduction of a new system of examining would afford opportunity as well as reason for the development of more broadly based methods of assessment which match changes in the curriculum.

11.3 The exclusive pursuit of examination success does not necessarily promote work of quality. Nor can the quality of work in schools be assessed solely by examination results. Pupils and their parents have a right to expect not only examination success but also that schools should promote valuable personal and intellectual qualities such as curiosity, the ability to express views orally, the capacity to work as a member of a team and to work

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independently. Work which fosters such qualities is not incompatible with examination objectives. It is for schools, assisted by the examining boards and encouraged by the 'users' of examination certificates, to continue their endeavours to make examinations serve the educational process rather than determine it.

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11 Pupils' behaviour - some special problems

1.1 The way pupils behave in schools affects both their own progress and well-being and that of the whole school community. Schools rightly attach importance to these matters and so do most parents. If difficulties do arise, of indiscipline, say, or truancy or vandalism, they understandably attract public concern, though often it may be hard to know the extent or seriousness of any particular occurrence.

In communities of relatively large numbers of adolescents, it would be surprising if no difficulties involving groups or individuals arose from time to time. Indeed, the resolution of those difficulties, given that they are not excessive in number or severity, may well be regarded as part of the educational process: young people growing up may be helped by the skill and patience of their teachers to work through their problems and come to a code of behaviour acceptable to themselves and to others.

1.2 Direct observation of the daily life of 384 schools inside and outside the classroom reassuringly suggested, as Chapter 9 has already indicated, that the very great majority were orderly, hard working, and free from any serious troubles. Since, however, some sorts of problems would not necessarily have manifested themselves over the few days of a visit, and, even if manifest, could not have been assessed except over a considerable period of time, the schools were invited to contribute information and their own assessment of some selected 'special problems'. All willingly did so.

1.3 Most of what follows in this Chapter therefore derives directly from the schools' replies. This is their situation as they perceive it. The questions asked were relatively few and simple, and the replies do not admit of any refined analysis. Nevertheless, the responses of a large sample of schools in a variety of circumstances command respect.

Enquiry into certain problems

2.1 The problems on which the schools were invited to comment were: indiscipline; violence between pupils; hostility to teachers; truancy unknown to parents or against their wishes; absence with the parents' knowledge or positive encouragement; internal truancy ie pupils registered as present in school but absent from a class they were due to attend; theft, by pupils in school; vandalism, by pupils within the school. Definitions were discussed with the schools to ensure reasonable consistency of interpretation. They were asked to assess the severity of the eight problems at the time of the visit,

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and to judge whether each - if it existed - was increasing, decreasing, or remaining much the same. Schools were asked to identify where possible by age, sex and ability the pupils most involved.

2.2 Schools assessed whether for them there was:

i. No problem (possibly single isolated cases, but not such as to cause concern).

ii. A minor problem (some cases, but not numerous, and measures to deal with them were reasonably successful).

iii. A considerable problem (efforts to deal with it contained the problem, but no more).

iv. A serious problem (efforts to deal with it made little difference).

2.3 Schools were also asked to record the number, if any, of seriously disruptive pupils, that is, those whose behaviour in the classroom regularly interfered with the learning opportunities of other pupils, and imposed undue stress on teachers. As a further possible indication of pupils' attitudes to school or to the educational process, schools were asked whether significant numbers of pupils of academic potential were leaving full-time education before that potential could be realised - that is, whether there were academically able pupils who did not continue in full-time education, in school or further education, beyond the minimum leaving age.

2.4 Heads of schools were given sufficient notice of the questions to allow time for reflection and consultation among the staff. Such consultation was often essential, since in assessing the seriousness of any particular problem account needed to be taken of incidence over a whole year and the extent to which it had been encountered by more than a very few teachers.

The schools' replies

3.1 The overwhelming majority of schools of all types described themselves as having, at worst, some minor problems, as defined, and a happy small minority were able to declare themselves unaffected, to any degree worth mentioning, by any of them.

3.2 Indiscipline is not a source of anxiety for many schools. Out of the whole sample of 384 schools, 24 recorded a considerable problem and only 3 affirmed it serious. Hostility to teachers is the least of their worries: only 7 schools found this a considerable problem, none indicated a serious situation. Violence between pupils was a considerable anxiety for 7 schools, and was named as a serious problem by 1 only.

3.3 In the majority of schools, if there is a problem, it is most likely to be the absence of pupils with the apparent acquiescence of parents. 67 schools declared this to be a considerable or serious problem, and a further 18 schools thought that what was at present a minor problem was getting worse. This suggests that just over a fifth of all schools may be considerably troubled by this form of absenteeism.

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3.4 Of the other problems listed, some way after absence, as defined above, came theft and truancy ie absence unknown to parents. About 38 schools in each case found the problem considerable or serious. Theft was thought to be getting worse by 22 schools as yet experiencing only minor difficulties. Similarly some 13 schools thought truancy was on the increase.

3.5 Vandalism was a considerable problem for 17 schools, and a similar number thought the situation was worsening. But of all the 'problems' this, predictably enough, was the most difficult to attribute confidently to the behaviour of the pupils in the school. There were schools, particularly those with open sites or scattered buildings, which were excessively vulnerable to damage from persons outside the school; it was often not possible to be sure of the source of damage, still less to know how far deteriorating conditions not originally caused by the pupils in school might subsequently be contributing to less responsible behaviour on the part of some of them.

3.6 Replies to the two additional enquiries concerning the numbers of 'disruptive' pupils and of pupils leaving full-time education prematurely were not supported with enough detail to admit of more than a few very broad generalisations.

3.7 The majority of schools reported that they had no disruptive pupils. 138 schools (36 per cent) said they had some, but of those only 51 estimated that they had 10 or more. Clearly the effects of the presence of such pupils may vary with their number in relation to the size of the school. On the whole, where there were larger numbers they were in the larger schools. But the school of 350 which claimed 40 disruptive pupils faced a potentially more disturbing problem than the school of 1,750 with 30 such pupils. The majority of those schools which indicated the heavier problems. as later parts of this Chapter illustrate, serve either inner city or less prosperous suburban areas.

3.8 Catchment area again emerged as an apparently influential factor for the majority of the 80 schools which estimated that 'significant numbers of pupils of academic potential' left full-time education before that potential had been realised. 51 of the schools served inner city or poorer suburban areas. Of the 80 schools, 10 were grammar schools, 56 were comprehensive schools, and 8 modern schools. It would, however, need a great deal more information than was available, including some case studies of individual pupils and their schools, to be able to attempt any interpretation of these figures.

3.9 Most schools, then, taking the enquiry overall, do not consider themselves subject to serious problems, and are confident of their capacity to handle such minor difficulties as they encounter. These are necessarily subjective judgements of the schools about themselves: they nevertheless supply a useful perspective in which to consider the small minority of schools who express serious anxieties.

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3.10 It seemed worthwhile to examine what else might be known from other evidence gathered in the survey about those schools on the one hand which were notably free of difficulties, and those on the other with the greatest concentration of problems. This was done with particular attention to those problems which bear most directly on the orderly functioning of a school indiscipline, violence between pupils and hostility to teachers. 25 schools declared three or more considerable or serious problems, of which at least two were in this last list.

Schools with a concentration of problems

4.1 The most readily apparent common characteristic of most of these 25 schools was, not unexpectedly, environment. 13 were inner city schools, another 6 drew on the less prosperous suburbs, often the now deteriorating, older housing estates. Of the remaining 6, one was a rural school. The schools varied widely in size. 11 had fewer than 1,000 pupils, 13 were over 1,000, with a school of 500 at one end of the range and two schools over 1,500 at the other. They included modern and comprehensive schools, but no grammar schools. In this connection it should be noted that the survey sample as a whole included very few grammar schools with inner city or poor suburban catchment areas. There were other factors. The 19 schools from the poorer catchment areas commonly recorded some 25 per cent of their annual intake of pupils as having serious learning difficulties, but in some cases the figure was as high as 30, 33 or 57 per cent.

4.2 17 of the 25 schools were troubled by high levels of absence, with or without parents' knowledge and by internal truancy, and had 10 or more - sometimes appreciably more - disruptive pupils. But the pattern was not invariable. For example, 5 of the schools had no internal truancy to report, although they had high levels of absence and considerable numbers of disruptive pupils, whereas 5 others, including the 4 most troubled by internal truancy and absence, had high percentages of slow learners but no disruptive pupils.

4.3 The capacity of these schools to cope with their problems and to find ways of overcoming them had, until recently, been severely limited by rapid turnover of staff and difficulty in attracting appropriately qualified or experienced teachers, especially at head of department level. In one large 11 to 18 comprehensive there had been 360 staff changes within eight years. Of 120 staff at the time of the visit, 70 were under 30, 82 had five or fewer completed years of teaching experience, and 81 no more than two years in the school. Mathematics, science and some English departments have been especially affected by lack of continuity in leadership and fragmented teaching. For example, in one 11 to 16 comprehensive with just under 1,000 on roll, there had recently been as many as 16 teachers involved in mathematics teaching, and some fifth year pupils had been taught by as many as nine different mathematics teachers since they entered school.

4.4 Just over half the 25 schools had been unaffected by reorganisation during the previous eight years, including the modern schools and some long

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established comprehensives. In the remainder, however, reorganisation had made additional demands on frequently inexperienced and rapidly changing staff. Within a few years, these schools had undergone changes in ability range, age range and size. Reorganisation in some schools had involved taking in children simultaneously at both 13-plus and 14-plus, the amalgamation of two or three very different schools and transfers from dissimilar institutions.

4.5 Most teachers and heads in these schools, including some recently appointed heads, reported the utmost difficulty in breaking through the cycle of recurrent problems. Many of the average and less able pupils, especially the less able, brought with them from home already low expectations of themselves as learners. These attitudes, understandably but regrettably, were only too likely to be reinforced by the low expectations of their teachers. In HMI's observation of the schools, many of these teachers, especially the less experienced under pressure of behavioural problems, found themselves teaching for containment rather than learning. The consequent emphasis on exposition rather than discussion, on a large and sustained output of writing in class, and the very limited scope for personal interest or involvement, all tended to reinforce the disruptive behaviour of the minority and made it increasingly more difficult to change attitudes. Lack of appropriate expertise for diagnosing or resources for dealing with serious learning difficulties added to the problem. Three of the schools with the highest proportions of slow learners listed no teachers with remedial teaching responsibilities. Several reports noted a lack of coordination between the work of remedial teachers, teachers of English and of English as a foreign language, and the work of the rest of the staff.

4.6 One school, without being in any sense 'typical' of the 25 in its particular circumstances, illustrates the range of problems many of them exhibit. An 11 to 16 modern school with well over 1,000 pupils on roll, it served an inner city catchment area of partial slum clearance but without subsequent redevelopment. A constant thread of indiscipline and disturbance ran throughout the age range, involving a relatively small group of highly disturbed and disruptive pupils, with more than 10 fourth and fifth formers on probation at the time of the visit, and others with court appearances pending. The school estimated that nearly one-third of its intake of pupils, which, at the time, included a number of travelling children, had serious learning difficulties. The nature of the accommodation, two-thirds of which was in temporary buildings on two sites, with pupils transported by bus to a third site for otherwise deficient craft facilities, increased the opportunity for indiscipline. The returns showed that the heaviest problems were those of absence with parents' connivance and internal truancy, with average attendance for the term in fourth and fifth year classes ranging from just over 60 to 93 per cent at best. Lack of an Education Welfare Officer meant that year heads were left with the task of trying to visit the homes of truants.

4.7 Although there were half-termly meetings between the school, police and social workers, liaison was not particularly effective, with the same names

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tending to recur at each meeting. Within the curricular organisation of the school, with banding which supported an overall emphasis on examination objectives for the more able, while offering more restricted subject choices to the average and less able, there was little within the curriculum to counteract the negative attitudes of some pupils. Low expectations of the less able were reinforced by teaching which aimed for class containment rather than pupil involvement. Although some stability was provided by a nucleus of relatively long-serving staff (who held many of the key posts) the school reported the utmost difficulty in attracting younger staff of sufficient calibre, and rapid turnover of those who were appointed.

Schools notably free of problems

5.1 Necessary concern for the very small minority of schools such as those just described must not distort the picture. The much greater majority of schools presented a very different appearance. The 75 most notably problem-free schools represented a variety of catchment areas (but predominantly rural, 27, and more prosperous suburban, 26). Nine recruited from long established manufacturing areas but 12, it should be noted, were from the poorer suburban areas and one was an inner city school. They included 34 grammar schools, 18 full range comprehensive schools, and 15 secondary modern schools. Six were restricted range comprehensives and two were 'transitional' schools, They represented a variety of sizes and age ranges. Given the ability range of the schools, it was not surprising that many recorded no pupils with serious learning difficulties; of those which did, most indicated less than 15 per cent of the annual intake, and only a few schools reached 20 per cent. None had more than a handful of disruptive pupils, and most recorded none.

5.2 They exhibited a variety of individual strengths, but some general characteristics were indicated in HMI reports. The best of them stood out for a general liveliness and skill in the teaching and the involvement of the pupils in learning, as well as for strength on the pastoral side. Good relationships and caring attitudes were observable inside and outside the classroom. The professional awareness of many of the staff, encouraged by good leadership, had led to involvement in in-service training and collaboration within and between departments in school in evaluation and revision of approaches. The environments for learning were attractive and stimulating and well used by the pupils. Some of the schools, including some of the smaller and more isolated, were notably outward-looking. In some this took the form of community service, in others an extensive programme of extracurricular activities and visits. The following descriptive examples of four schools, in no way typical of the whole range in their detailed circumstances, may nevertheless indicate the quality of life in these schools.

5.3 The first example is that of a school serving a notably poor and difficult area known to have many social problems. Vandalism and violence were commonplace in the neighbourhood and other schools in the area faced high rates of truancy and absence. Yet this school, an 11 to 16 mixed comprehensive still in the process of reorganisation from a secondary modern school, had virtually none of these problems. One of its most obvious strengths was

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the high quality of concern for the pupils, backed by an effective structure of pastoral care which had been established by clear analysis and discussion of the needs and by careful planning. Communications were good and arrangements sufficiently flexible to allow members of staff to use them as occasion required. The school, like many others, had not solved all its curricular problems, but classroom relationships were such that pupils made a willing response and showed good attitudes to work. Their general confidence and pleasant ease of behaviour were impressive. The school had encouraged an extensive programme of extracurricular activities in which many pupils and a high proportion of its staff took part; it also made the most of its good fortune in having its own residential centre in Wales, where groups of pupils were given opportunities to learn from living together and sharing responsibilities.

5.4 The second example is that of a mixed 11 to 16 school, of just under 600 pupils, which at the time of the survey had recently evolved from secondary modern to comprehensive school and community college, with the comprehensive intake by then in the fourth year. Reorganisation, coupled with strenuous efforts on the part of the headmaster and the local authority advisers, had helped this small rural school to attract some very well qualified teachers. Positive and successful efforts were being made to adapt curriculum and staff to the changed nature of the school, both the younger teachers and their more experienced and established colleagues working well together. A great deal of effort was put into defining and establishing pastoral responsibilities, and into seeing that work was pitched to suit the needs of individual pupils. In many of the classes responsive learning was being encouraged through wide reading and excellent provision of both books and other resources. A good programme of out of class activities, involving a variety of responsibilities for the pupils, coupled with 'linked courses', served to extend the experience which pupils brought to their learning.

5.5 Another mixed 11 to 16 comprehensive school of nearly 1,100 pupils, serving one of the less prosperous suburban catchment areas, had not been without its problems a year or two before. Reorganised from two single-sex modern schools, the school had to endure months of disruptive building work which even so failed to keep pace with its growth in size. Yet, at the time of the visit, the most striking characteristics of the school were the calm, disciplined, caring atmosphere which had been created and maintained, and the many ways in which senior pupils had been involved in responsibilities, whether in assemblies, in helping to run the library or the school bookshop, or taking part in the school council. Firm but kindly discipline helped to create a settled and caring community which facilitated learning. Social cohesion in the school was helped by a blend of mixed ability grouping and setting, supported by careful rethinking and discussion of teaching approaches. Pupils of all abilities responded enthusiastically, being prepared both to listen, and to speak with considerable maturity and confidence. They enjoyed access to a wide variety of reading matter. Many of the staff had provided excellent stimulating and background material, and had worked hard to create attractive and purposeful working environments in their

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rooms. Their efforts were rewarded by the high standard of presentation achieved by pupils in their own work, and by the obvious respect they showed for their own appearance and for that of the school. The curriculum offered various opportunities for pupils to develop a more mature understanding of the world beyond school. For example, a community service option course enabled some pupils to have experience of and gain insight into the problems of mentally and physically handicapped children. This work was most sensitively handled by the teachers concerned, and was doing much to refine in the pupils a sense of care and concern for others,

5.6 A fourth school, a relatively small girls' grammar school serving a small manufacturing town, had also recently encountered problems at the time of the survey. A change of leadership after a long period of direction by a much-respected headmistress had coincided with a decision to reorganise the school on comprehensive lines by amalgamation with the smaller boys' grammar school. At the time of the visit, the process had just begun, with some staff displacements and appointments. The school building had been subject to the noise and hazards of reconstruction. In this situation, not only had morale been maintained, but the school's tradition of lively learning continued and developed in preparation for the forthcoming changes in intake and composition. Within the framework of an academic curriculum and traditional grammar school examination objectives, the girls were encouraged to explore ideas and to exercise critical judgements. The formal curricular programme was well supplemented by out of class provision. There was a good range of opportunities for choral and instrumental music; there was enthusiastic support for games clubs, chess and mathematical games; and both the school bookshop and the library were popular and well used at lunchtime. This was a school with a strong tradition of liveliness, creativeness and independence of thought, both within the formal curriculum and outside it, which seemed very likely to give it the necessary momentum to move successfully into a new phase of development.

Some general observations

6.1 It will have been noted that the schools just described were not wholly free of some adverse circumstances, but they had the capacity to deal with them. The earlier accounts of the schools in serious difficulty point to a strong association with adverse environmental and social factors, but the converse does not necessarily apply. In the total survey sample of schools there were 159 with inner city or poor suburban catchment areas, but only 19 of these were among the group of 25 schools with concentrations of severe problems,

6.2 It would need a far more detailed and extended exploration than could be undertaken within this survey to establish how far this difference derives from strengths in the schools themselves - the professional skills of better qualified or more experienced teachers, more effective leadership, a school organisation and curricular provision more suited to the pupils' capacities and needs, styles of teaching and learning which encourage higher expectations in the pupils of themselves; how far from better resources or accommodation, stronger outside support from the LEA advisory service and the

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educational welfare service, and positive support from the parents and the local community; and how far there may be significant differences of degree and severity in initial circumstances of disadvantage.

6.3 Not all inner city or older suburban areas are poor, socially or economically: some may have community strengths which schools have been able to tap. The presence of as much as 20 per cent of slow learners or a group of disruptive pupils evidently does not automatically plunge a school into difficulties. But there may be a threshold beyond which the proportion of pupils of very limited ability, presenting a variety of learning problems, the number of disturbed and disturbing children, the proportion with troubled home backgrounds, the inadequacy of resources, whether of specialist skills among the staff or in the facilities offered by the buildings, the generally depressing character of the outer environment, may together create problems of a different order. The gulf between that very small minority of schools and the rest is the more marked, given the reassuring - and it is highly reassuring - picture of the great majority of all secondary schools.

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12 General reflections

1 The survey confirms that in most schools teachers and pupils alike work hard and have some solid achievements to show. A minority of schools have work of real distinction. The great majority are orderly communities where much thought and effort is given to promoting the well-being of individual pupils. Only a very small minority of schools felt themselves to be facing serious behaviour problems. All are anxious to secure basic skills and to enable their pupils to obtain examination qualifications which may be important to their future. They are sensitive to public expectations and aware of the need to prepare their pupils for the responsibilities of adult life.

2 That picture of secondary education may offer few surprises, but neither is it simple. Most schools exhibit a mixture of strengths and weaknesses, understandably, given the range of needs they are trying to meet, the variety of their circumstances and resources, and the changes affecting all schools in some degree and some markedly in consequence of reorganisation. There are some troubling inequalities in the opportunities they are able to offer.

3 Given the large measure of self determination which schools enjoy, they appear remarkably similar in their broad characteristics. Despite differences of type and size and age range, patterns of curriculum and organisation have much in common. The establishment of comprehensive schools, now providing for more than 80 per cent of the pupils, and the raising of the school leaving age have not led to any radical reshaping of the curriculum, which essentially continues the practice of the selective schools with some added features taken from the modern schools.

4 At the fourth and fifth year stages at which the survey was directed, the real differences appear to lie in the programmes of individual pupils and in the styles of teaching and learning. The apparently large range of options available in some schools is not necessarily reflected in the choices effectively available to individuals or in those actually taken by them. Nor does it necessarily result in either a 'balanced' programme or one which has coherence for the pupil. The nature of the choice and the process by which it is effected may be more significant than the number of options available.

5 Yet the effort to provide a very wide range of options often results in a complexity of organisation which makes it more difficult for teachers to coordinate the learning of the pupils, to plan and consult together and to

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attain a synoptic view of the curriculum offered by the school and of their contribution within it. Particularly at risk are those aspects of education which are not simply identified with particular specialist subjects - language development, reading skills at all levels of ability, health education, careers education, social and moral education are some obvious examples, and at a more general and no less important level the preparation of all pupils for life in a multi-racial society.

6 The problem is not easy to solve. The organisational and curricular complexities are in substantial part the outcome of schools' entirely proper desire to respond both to the diverse needs and interests of the pupils and to continual public demands for the introduction of new 'subjects', for example, economic and political education or preparation for parenthood. But paradoxically the 'new' subjects often require a different perspective across the curriculum, and the less able pupils who might be thought most in need of motivation often have least real choice.

7 It may be time to think again. Particularly, it may be necessary to develop a more explicit rationale of the curriculum as a whole, which may make it easier to see how far it is realised or realisable in particular structures. Individual schools will always need to shape their actual structures in the light of their own strengths and circumstances. During a time of contracting secondary school population, it could be helpful to schools to have some criteria whereby to assess their curricular provision and the resources they may need to sustain it.

8 Styles of teaching and learning reflect pre-eminently the knowledge, skills and attitudes of the teachers, although they are also conditioned by resources and accommodation. The survey revealed considerable inequalities between schools in staffing ratios and in the adequacy and appropriateness of teachers' academic and professional qualifications for the work they were being asked to do. This applied particularly to specialists in English, mathematics, physics, modern languages, and religious education. The consequences of some teachers operating at or beyond the limits of their knowledge or of their professional confidence were evident in the range and quality of work. It may be noted that the grammar schools, as a group, though not all individually, generally received higher assessments. They also, as a group, had a markedly higher proportion of trained graduate and experienced specialist staff. The implications of these findings are further discussed in Appendix 3.

9 The survey did not include a detailed enquiry into accommodation and equipment, although note was taken of relevant conditions as they were encountered. It is clear that the existing science accommodation in many schools is insufficient to provide all pupils up to the age of 16 with a balanced programme, including opportunities for individual and group practical work. It is also clear that many schools lack sufficient and appropriate books and library resources, although some schools could make fuller and more effective use of the libraries they have.

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10 It was apparent that the style and ultimately the quality of work in the fourth and fifth years were dominated by the requirements, actual or perceived, of public examinations. Schools are naturally anxious to secure examination qualifications for their pupils. They are also conscious of the degree to which the effectiveness of schools is liable to be measured publicly by examination results. In consequence they tend not only to enter as many pupils as possible for as many examinations as possible; they also tend to adopt teaching approaches which are thought necessary to secure examination success. There are several questions to be resolved here. One is whether the content of work needs to be confined to the requirements of the examination syllabus - many schools had no other schemes of work. A minority of schools and teachers did not consider themselves so confined and nevertheless sustained a creditable record of achievement in examinations. Another question is whether the styles of teaching and learning which are widely employed are necessarily conducive to the best examination results or to the best education. Such styles typically include heavily directed teaching, a preponderance of dictated or copied notes, an emphasis on the giving and recall of information, with little room or time for enquiry or exploration of applications. Examinations themselves are altering and increasingly demand more than mere recall.

11 Such an approach is often accompanied by the virtues of sustained and careful industry, but there remains a doubt whether energies are being effectively harnessed, and whether the pupils are gaining sufficient experience of ordering their own efforts. Given the number and variety of types of examinations available, crude generalisations would be misleading and unfair. Some interesting developments in the design of examinations and in the techniques of assessments are already taking place. But perhaps in the continuing development of examinations it will be important for all those concerned in their design, the teachers among them, to consider further how the selection and balance of content and the nature of the questions may be such as to stimulate the enquiring mind and to encourage teachers to go beyond the instilling of facts to the exploration of underlying ideas and concepts.

12 'The public' - particularly, though not only, parents and employers - have some responsibility also. If schools believe that their work is appreciated only as far as it is reflected in examination results, they will be tempted to subordinate all else, even though this may lead paradoxically to their narrowing the work in a way that precludes them from responding to other public demands upon them. It is already leading to the entry of pupils from below the ability range for which the examinations were designed, with consequent disappointments for the pupils in results or, in some schools, a high rate of absenteeism from the examination itself. There are also potential problems in the maintenance of standards in the lower grades of the examinations.

13 Public examinations have a proper part to play in the assessment and recording of achievement in the secondary school. They cannot constitute an account of the whole educational experience; nor, by their character or the way in which they are operated, should they limit that experience.

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14 Examinations are the most visible forms of assessment. But day-to-day assessment of the work in hand, the diagnosis of difficulties, and regular review of progress are important parts of the educational process. The survey suggests room for improvement in these aspects of assessment. There is evident need for more critical and constructive marking of written work. There is a still more fundamental need in many schools to establish explicit and consistent policies. A major part of the problem is lack of time: time for the marking itself, which may be particularly heavy in those subjects which generate large quantities of written work; time for teachers within subject departments and across departments to work out their policies and agree on their practices. But more time will not of itself solve the problem, without wider perception of the needs to be met.

15 Marking, however, is only part of the process. A still more important part is what use the teacher is able to make of this and other forms of assessment. Regular and systematic evaluation of progress is needed if work is to be matched to pupils' capacities. There were indications that the ablest pupils were not always sufficiently challenged. There were more widespread indications that the less able commonly had inappropriate programmes, which could be both too difficult in some respects - some of the quoted examples of pupils' writing illustrate the problems teachers face - and yet insufficiently demanding in others. That 'third quartile' of pupils who lie somewhat below the average in ability but are not so limited in capacity as those who are singled out for special help in 'remedial' groups often gave greatest cause for concern. These are the pupils who are most likely to spend their time on the more mechanical exercises in writing and computation, with too little context to evoke interest or relate their learning to real life. They are not necessarily the most difficult pupils in terms of behaviour - often they are patient and passive - but they lack motivation and stimulus to extend their talents. Although they may leave school seemingly equipped with essential skills, they may have acquired little incentive to try to sustain these and little ability to apply them in unfamiliar contexts. The pupils who leave school at the minimum age with modest achievements have most need to acquire an enjoyment and confidence in learning which will carry forward into their personal and working lives.

16 The survey was an attempt to assess more than the teaching and learning in selected subjects. In seeking to examine how well schools realised certain broader objectives it was enquiring into the policies and practices of schools as whole institutions. The planning of coherent policies and their effective implementation require the collective involvement of the whole staff. They also require clear and effective leadership, by heads and by heads of departments and senior staff.

17 The indications are that collective thinking and planning are difficult to achieve, even where there is appreciation of the need. The reasons will not be the same for all schools. One which can confidently be adduced in many cases has already been touched on - lack of time. The discussion of policies, their translation into the planning of specific programmes of work in the

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classroom, their regular reassessment and evaluation take more time than many teachers have available to them, if they are also to keep up with daily preparation and routine marking. The time available is further reduced if, for entirely valid reasons, teachers are also asked to make more contacts with parents and with the outside world. both to enrich their own teaching programmes and to interpret the work of the school to others who have interest in and responsibility towards it.

18 A second reason is one of historical habit. The separate status of major subject departments, and of the individual teachers within them, is well established. There are contexts in which departments are consciously in competition - for example, in bidding for time on the timetable. There are others in which they are not in competition but tend to act on an assumption of self-sufficiency, although they are dealing with skills or knowledge which the pupils require for many purposes. The traditional nature of the secondary curriculum defined by subject specialisms reinforces this habit of operating in isolation. Yet teachers themselves increasingly recognise the need to introduce studies which bear on the work of many departments - careers education and health education are particular examples. The promotion of language development in the pupil and the appreciation of the place of language in learning of all kinds require both the attention of the teacher within his own discipline and collective policy-making in the school.

19 Even where all this is in principle recognised, the complexities of school organisation can be a formidable obstacle to effective joint action. It can be very difficult for any teachers actually to know the full programmes of all the pupils they teach. When they can and do know, the extensive regrouping of pupils for different subjects and purposes in the fourth and fifth years may still make it impossible to assume any common experience within a particular class.

20 Another reason why, for some schools and some teachers, the collective process appears difficult is the openness it requires. Some departments feel themselves on the defensive when asked to examine the rationale of their teaching; some teachers, especially those who are less than secure in their specialist knowledge, may feel vulnerable in engaging in joint evaluation. Much depends on the tact and sensitivity of those initiating new developments, if the processes are to be appreciated as ultimately supportive - as they should be - rather than threatening.

21 To these common factors may be added the particular circumstances of individual schools. Especially when they have recently undergone reorganisation, the staff may still be in the process of developing its corporate identity, and individual teachers may be still adjusting their professional thinking to the wider range of needs and abilities among the pupils they teach.

22 All of this confirms that it is no simple or easy request to ask the majority of schools to develop in the direction along which a minority are already moving. There is nevertheless some essential thinking towards which many schools could profitably address themselves.

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13 Looking forward

1 Thirty-five years after the 1944 Act the education system is still seeking to give effect to the commitment of that Act to secondary education for all, suited to the age, aptitude and ability of every pupil. That the attempt is still going on is not a criticism of the substantial changes and achievements in the interval. Rather, it bears witness to enlarged ideas of secondary education, and is a reassuring acknowledgement that the commitment remains valid, though the implications require constantly renewed examination. There are no once-for-all prescriptions to be sought or found. Young people are now in school for a longer span of years; expectations of them when they leave and their own aspirations change with the world in which they find themselves. The schools which most of them attend now include, within one community, a wider range of aptitude and ability, and, very often, of social and cultural background. Increasing understanding of how children learn and develop, and particularly of the part language plays in learning, requires refined skills of assessment on the part of the teachers of both potential and progress; teachers are also required to develop greater flexibility in their classroom approaches, and to exercise discrimination in using the variety of technical aids which have become available.

2 This report therefore is a contribution to that continuing process of reassessment and interpretation. The survey was not an exhaustive enquiry into every aspect of secondary education or of the individual schools visited. Its findings, summarised in the preceding chapter and discussed in detail in earlier parts of the report, nevertheless highlight some considerable strengths in the schools and some important needs still to be met.

3 Close to the heart of any formulation of the aims of education must lie concern to develop the potential of all pupils to enjoy a full personal life and to take an informed and responsible part in the adult world, including their part in the economic life of the country. Curricular provision, therefore, ought not to be such as to shut off any pupils from important areas of knowledge and experience, or to suggest quite different views of their future role in society. The opportunities to learn provided by the school and the nature of the teaching must take account both of individual differences and of essential common needs. Most schools recognise this in principle, and earlier parts of the report describe the complex, often ingeniously contrived organisations through which they seek to provide appropriate curricular programmes as well as a supportive system of 'pastoral care' which may enable the pupils to take better advantage of the opportunities offered.

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4 'The curriculum' has no nationally defined content in this country, but at institutional level it has broadly similar connotations. This broad simplicity is not true for the pupils. For them, certainly from the fourth year and sometimes earlier, the curriculum consists of a number of building blocks, some with a fine patina of tradition, some still comparatively novel, with very few rules governing their selection and assembly. Most schools have established some rules of the game, but the resultant individual programmes may still display marked disparities in the range and quality of experience they signify.

5 There are understandable historical reasons for this. At each stage of the enlargement of secondary education, traditional provision has been augmented; and at the same time the energy and initiative of teachers seeking to respond to newly voiced demands have continually added to the sum of subjects and areas of study. The resultant number and variety, too much all to be absorbed into any one curricular programme, have conveniently suited the need to provide for choice and for some degree of differentiation.

6 The prevailing structure with a marked break at 14 also owes something to history. Starting from a baseline when the great majority of pupils left school at 14, and only the selective schools offered any tried model of provision for older pupils, the curriculum has been augmented to take account of the 'new' fourth and fifth formers successively. Although most schools following each raising of the school leaving age quickly realised the need to think in terms of four or five years rather than simply of 'an extra year', it is only very recently that they have begun to have pupils reaching the fifth form who all entered the school knowing that they had at least five years' full-time education ahead of them.

7 A further factor which tends to reinforce the present structure, though it does not determine it, is the single-subject basis of public examinations at 16-plus. An à la carte examinations system sits more comfortably on an à la carte curriculum than would, say, one which required a candidate to enter for a minimum number of subjects or to select them according to certain broad principles in order to qualify for a certificate. The fact that a very much larger proportion of pupils representing a wide range of ability now enter for at least one or two subjects in public examinations at 16 also tends to support a curriculum arrived at by the aggregation of discrete units.

8 It is easy, then, to appreciate how schools come to be as they are. But the evidence of this survey is that many pupils are not well served by the curricular structures and organisations of their schools. Some are deprived, though they do not necessarily feel themselves to be so at the time, of important areas of experience and consequently of opportunities to extend their understanding, by the narrow range of studies they take: this applies in different ways to both the more able and the less able pupils. Others, whose programme seems to be reasonably broad and to contain necessary elements, are nevertheless not readily enabled to relate what they learn in different subjects or to see applications in new contexts. The complex organisation of teaching

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groups, which in large part derives directly from the complex option systems, often makes it difficult for teachers themselves to make connections or to help their pupils to do so. No institution which seriously tried to respond to differences of need, capacity and interest among large numbers of adolescents could be other than complex. It is still possible to question whether the existing complexities fulfil their purpose; whether complexity is often greater than it need be; and whether the consequent demands on staffing and resources need to be re-examined in the light of other compelling claims on the time and skills of teachers.

9 Some of those other claims have been noted earlier. There is little evidence to suggest that schools of any kind or size are overmanaged or that teachers spend too much time outside the classroom. On the contrary, the indications are that many need to give more time to a necessary range of non-teaching duties, particularly those of planning, consultation and assessment. Heads of department and teachers with guidance and pastoral responsibilities are often particularly short of time, but all teachers may need to give more time than they commonly do to assessment and to the maintenance of records of a kind and quality which ensure that assessment is soundly based. Developing each pupil's potential requires that abilities should be recognised and nurtured, that progress should be observed and appraised, that difficulties should be diagnosed and the content of work and teaching methods be reviewed accordingly. In an average secondary school many teachers in any working week may teach two hundred or more pupils of diverse ages and abilities. Any pupil at any given stage may be taught by a dozen or more teachers. Effective assessment requires both individual and coordinated action on the part of teachers.

10 To the time needed for assessment must be added that required for preparation and marking, consultation and joint planning for a variety of purposes within and between departments, record keeping, pastoral care and pupil guidance, contacts with careers, welfare and other outside services, with parents, employers and with the community at large. Contacts with employers may be a particularly important part of relations with the outside world, if schools and industry are to be able to examine together their common concern for content and standards. Induction, in-service training and other forms of staff development all make, and properly should make, demands on time. The exercise and improvement of professional skills represented by that range of activities is essential if the pupils are to be helped to profit fully from the curricular opportunities provided and to perform as well as they are capable of doing.

11 Both educational needs, then, and practical considerations argue for some re-examination of the assumptions which underlie the prevailing patterns of curricular provision. In particular the evidence of this survey suggests a need for all pupils to carry forward a broader programme of studies to the end of the basic period of compulsory education, with a corresponding reduction in the number of 'options' taken by individual pupils and a limitation on the range from which they are drawn.

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12 There are questions here not only for individual schools but for all who have specific responsibility in the provision and support of the education service, and for the wider public. How should a larger 'common core' be defined, to secure comparable breadth of experience and opportunity for all pupils, whilst allowing for variation of pace, treatment and emphasis to suit differing abilities and interests, and for possible development of the curriculum to respond to genuinely new needs? What is a desirable and attainable balance between common elements and acceptable variation, both in the subject make-up of programmes and in the content of studies within subjects? How may this be realised in the day-to-day work of teachers and pupils?

13 If some agreement can be reached in the answers to these essential questions, it would be easier to delineate more clearly the material provision implied and the knowledge and skills required in the teaching staff for the schools system as a whole. At present there is evidence of insufficient match in many schools between the qualifications and experience of teachers and the work they are undertaking. This is not simply a matter of remedying as quickly as possible particular specialist shortages, important though that is. Nor is it solely a question of extending and strengthening the academic knowledge of many teachers, though that too is needed. It is ultimately a more far-reaching matter of thinking through the implications of secondary education for all in terms of teaching tasks, and translating them into programmes of higher education and initial teacher training, and of in-service training. All the responsible interests are involved in this.

14 What, for example, would be implied in attempting to provide science education, not necessarily of an identical kind, for all pupils up to the age of 16, or in greatly extending the proportion of pupils who profitably study a foreign language? In these or any other subjects, over what range of specialist knowledge would a teacher need to be able to move confidently, and what are the subject-specific skills needed to mediate that knowledge to pupils of differing abilities and with varied aspirations beyond 16? What skills in the design of courses and in assessment are needed? What is involved in promoting a greater awareness and a better understanding of the place of language in the teaching and learning processes of all subjects? The evidence suggests that many teachers of mathematics and science who are competent specialists nevertheless do not see a need, or find it difficult, to give their teaching realistic application and to enlarge sufficiently the context of their pupils' understanding: how might they, and future teachers, be persuaded or helped by further extension of the interest and cooperation of industry with schools, with higher education and with teacher training? How may students in training and young teachers in their induction in the schools be helped to begin to perceive the professional requirements on them as members of school staffs exercising collective responsibility for curricular planning and organisation, or indeed for the whole range of responsibilities discussed earlier in this Chapter? How may heads and senior staff be helped to develop further their capacities for effective leadership?

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15 All these questions bear directly upon the nature of the qualifications and the professionalism of teachers in relation to public expectations of schools. They ultimately imply a view of teacher preparation and professional development which embraces initial education and training, induction and in-service training as one continuing process. Over the coming decade, when declining secondary school population means that the proportion of new appointments will be smaller, they will bear especially upon policies for in-service training.

16 At a time of national economic restraints it would be unrealistic to expect rapid action on every need identified. The selection of priorities, local and national, and the pace and timing of initiatives must depend partly on the resources available. Equally it would be a pity to assume that there is nothing which can be done until and unless additional resources appear.

17 Within individual schools, there is much stocktaking which many staffs could do for themselves, in evaluating their own policies and practices, in identifying priorities for future development, and in deciding where a start can be made, according to the school's circumstances and present stage of growth. Although they start from different baselines most schools have distinctive strengths on which to build. They will need to take not too short a view of their future, given the differences falling numbers could make to many secondary schools only a few years ahead.

18 They cannot, however, usefully proceed far in isolation. They need not only the support which a local education authority and teacher training institutions can give, but the reassurance of knowing that, along with other schools, they are working within a common understanding of the educational tasks to be attempted which commands wide public assent. They need also to be supported by a realistic appreciation on the part of all who have concern for education of the nature of the responsibilities they are being asked to undertake.

19 Local authorities will want to consider, within the general context of their knowledge of the schools, what policies they seek to maintain or to establish not only in respect of staffing ratios but also in respect of teacher qualifications for essential educational tasks. They will want to consider whether there are unjustifiable inequalities between schools in the resources allocated to them or in the use schools make of their resources, or in the performance of schools seemingly in comparable circumstances. For that very small minority of schools facing serious behaviour problems they will want to consider, with the schools, what forms of additional help may be needed. They and their advisory services, in cooperation with other agencies, will want to determine priorities for in-service training, within the limits of what may be possible at anyone time.

20 Even thus summarised, the continuing programme of action sounds like an extensive prospectus. It could hardly be otherwise, given the nature of the undertaking to achieve secondary education for all. It involves nearly

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5,000 schools and over 230,000 teachers. It requires the commitment of those who teach and of those who are taught, of those who have direct responsibilities for the education system as well as that wider public which must ultimately will the means to an end it has recognised as necessary. The process is not simple, or easy, and it needs time. It is a process of evolution rather than instant change, in which the strengths of experience can be thoughtfully brought to bear on new needs as they are realised.

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Accelerated group A group of pupils working through the syllabus in a particular subject at a faster than normal pace, possibly taking the examination (GCE O-level) at the end of the fourth year or in the middle of the fifth. Such arrangements are fairly common in mathematics but are found less frequently in other subjects. A small minority of streamed schools continue the once more common practice by which all pupils in the top stream took O-level in all, or most, subjects at the end of the fourth year and began to study for advanced levels one year earlier than normal.

Additional mathematics An examination offered by the GCE boards for candidates who are at an intermediate stage between ordinary and advanced level. It is taken by some pupils in the fifth year either concurrently with O-level or following an earlier entry for that examination, and by sixth formers at the end of the first of the two years of the advanced level course. One or two CSE boards offer an additional examination, usually called further mathematics, which can also be taken concurrently with the normal examination in mathematics or at a later stage. Rules governing the age of entry for CSE prohibit the taking of any examination before the end of the fifth year.

Algorithm A procedural rule for solving a mathematical (usually an arithmetical) problem in a defined sequence of steps.

Ancillary staff Members of non-teaching staff such as laboratory, workshop and audio-visual aid technicians, librarians and clerical assistants, who perform tasks of direct assistance to teachers.

Assignment sheet or card See Worksheet.

Banding Banding, as used in this report, refers to a form of internal school organisation. The year group is divided into two, three or four bands differentiated by ability on criteria similar to those used for streaming; each band contains a number of classes, not necessarily of equal ability or size.

BEd Bachelor of Education. A combined degree and professional teaching qualification which is awarded normally after a three or four years' course at a college of education, institute of higher education or polytechnic.

Burnham scale The salary scale (Scale 1, 2, 3, 4, senior teacher, deputy head, or head) on which a teacher is paid. Such scales are negotiated by the Burnham Primary and Secondary Committee.

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Burnham unit total A figure calculated for each school by reference to the number and ages of the pupils and used to determine the points for a school on which the distribution of posts above Burnham Scale 1 is based.

Certificate of Secondary Education (CSE) The Certificate of Secondary Education, introduced in 1965, is administered in England and Wales by fourteen regional boards. Schools can normally take only the examinations of the regional board in whose area they are situated. The CSE is a single subject examination designed to assess the performance of candidates at about age 16. It is intended for roughly 40 per cent of the ability range below the 20 per cent for whom GCE O-level is intended: that is, it extends from those whose ability, subject by subject, overlaps that of those candidates taking O-level to those of slightly below average attainment. The certificate is awarded in five grades, 1 to 5. Grade 1 is awarded to a pupil whose performance is such that he might reasonably have secured grade A, B or C at O-Ievel had he followed a course of study leading to that examination. Grade 4 is the standard which a 16 year old pupil of average ability in the subject might reasonably be expected to achieve after a five year course of secondary education.

Certificated teacher A teacher who has been awarded a certificate, usually at the end of a two or three year course of study and professional training at a college of education.

Combined science (Nuffield) A course consisting essentially of biology, chemistry and physics combined to form a single subject.

Contact ratio A measure of the proportion of the timetabled week that teachers spend in teaching contact with pupils as distinct from administration, preparation, marking etc. It expresses the teaching load as a decimal fraction, or percentage, of the whole week and can be calculated for individual teachers or, as an average, for any defined group of teachers.

Curriculum This term is used in the report in different ways. In Chapter 9 on Personal Development, and elsewhere when appropriate, its definition is as broad as possible, encompassing all that the school seeks to provide for its pupils within and outside the classroom. It therefore includes the formal teaching programme, the social and pastoral organisation, the range of commonly so-called 'extracurricular' activities and the general climate of the school in so far as this is determined by deliberate policies. Throughout Chapter 3 and by implication in much of Chapter 4 curriculum is used in the more restricted sense of the organisation and content of the formal teaching programme as defined by the timetable.

Double entry By double entry is here meant entry to an O-Ievel and a CSE examination in the same subject.

Dual entry By dual entry is here meant entry to both O-level and CSE examinations in different subjects.

Faculties Traditionally, for academic purposes, secondary schools have most commonly been organised in subject departments. More recently, for a variety of reasons, some schools have chosen to group subjects together, usually to form four,

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five or six faculties. The schools concerned determine their own groupings in diverse ways, with similar faculty labels often covering different combinations of subjects.

Form-entry The size of schools is often defined in terms of form-entry, a term in which 'form' implies about 30 pupils. Thus, a 6 form-entry school is planned to contain about 180 pupils in each of the year groups up to the age of 16.

Four rules The standard arithmetical operations by which numbers are combined: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

Full range comprehensive school A comprehensive school containing pupils from the full range of ability.

Full-time equivalent The decimal fraction of the week for which a part-time teacher is employed; for example, a teacher working three days a week is treated as 0.6 full-time equivalent teacher in staffing calculations.

General Certificate of Education (GCE) The examination for the General Certificate of Education, introduced in 1951, is administered for England and Wales by eight examining boards. With the exception of Wales candidates may take the examinations of any board. GCE examinations are set at two levels, ordinary (O) and advanced (A). The O-level examination is a single subject examination normally taken at the end of a five-year course in a secondary school. It is intended, subject by subject, for the upper 20 per cent of the ability range. Grades are awarded on a five-point scale, A-E, grades ABC corresponding to the pass grade awarded before 1975.

Joint examinations In certain regions and in certain subjects examinations were mounted by consortia of GCE and CSE boards as experimental studies into the feasibility of introducing a single system of examining. Many of these examinations are still in operation. Both O-Ievel and CSE grades are awarded.

Language across the curriculum This phrase was given currency as the title of Chapter 12 of the Bullock Report, 'A Language for Life' (1975), in a section emphasising the need for teachers of all subjects to be aware of "the linguistic processes by which their pupils acquire information and understanding".

Linked course A linked course is a course jointly organised and planned by a school(s) and a college of further education, normally for pupils in the fourth and fifth years or the sixth form. The teaching may be carried out in either institution by teachers from one or both institutions.

Mixed ability groups Teaching groups which include pupils of widely ranging abilities. The spread of ability in such a group depends upon the ability range for which the school provides,

Modes of examining

Mode 1: Examinations conducted by the examining board on syllabuses set and published by the board.

Mode 2: Examinations conducted by the examining board in syllabuses devised by individual schools or groups of schools and approved by the board.

Mode 3: Examinations set and marked internally by individual schools or groups of schools, but moderated by the board, on syllabuses devised by individual schools or groups of schools.

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Numeracy The mathematical equivalent of literacy. Although it should imply the ability to understand and use a range of mathematical ideas and procedures it is often used in a more restricted sense, limited to competence in the basic arithmetical skills.

Physical science Physics and chemistry.

Populations In this less common pattern of internal school organisation the year group is divided into two, three or four groups of equal ability and each such population is separately timetabled to a particular department or faculty and an appropriate number of teachers allocated. Decisions about how the pupils will be grouped and how the teachers will be deployed rest with the department or faculty concerned. This allows each to choose the pattern which it judges to be appropriate for its programme and to vary this pattern without affecting the organisation of other subjects.

Probationer A qualified teacher in his first year's full-time service, during which he must satisfy the Department of Education and Science of his practical proficiency as a teacher.

Pupil-teacher ratio The ratio of the number of pupils to the full-time equivalent staff.

Readability Readability refers to the level of difficulty encountered in reading materials, especially when checked according to standardised procedures which take account of factors such as familiarity of words or length and complexity of sentences. Such checks, while normally related to general levels of the pupils' age or ability, do not necessarily take the context for learning into account. The pupil's perception of 'difficulty' will vary according to the methods of teaching, the quality and availability of supporting materials, and the intensity of his or her interest in the topic, and so on.

Realistic arithmetic The sort of arithmetic that arises in everyday life with credible quantities, reasonably up-to-date prices etc.

Restricted range comprehensive school A comprehensive school containing very few able pupils.

Setting Setting is the regrouping of pupils according to their ability in the subject concerned. This can be carried out across the whole year group or within a band or population provided that two or more classes can be timetabled for the same subject at the same time. Setting can therefore be used within any pattern or organisation. Schools frequently seek to make teaching groups smaller and more homogeneous by providing extra sets; for example, by regrouping the 90 pupils in 3 classes into 4 or 5 sets, though staffing constraints make it unlikely that this can be done in more than a few subjects.

Staffing establishment The number of full-time equivalent teachers set by the local education authority for an individual school.

Staffing ratio The ratio of the number of full-time equivalent staff to the number of pupils.

Streaming Streaming is the method of assigning pupils to classes on some overall assessment of general ability, the most able pupils in one stream, the next most able in the next and so on. The classes so streamed are used as the teaching units for the majority of subjects.

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Trained graduate A teacher with a degree and a postgraduate certificate of education which confers qualified teacher status and is awarded on the results of a one-year course of professional training taken by graduates.

Transitional school In this report the term is applied to a school which has been reorganised as a comprehensive school, but where the all ability intake has not yet reached year 4; that is the range of ability in the fourth and fifth years differs from that in the first three years.

Untrained graduate A teacher with a degree but without a postgraduate certificate in education.

Worksheet or workcard A sheet or a card giving information and instructions to the pupils intended to enable them to work independently.

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Appendix 1 Forms used in the survey

1 Copies of the forms completed by each school are assembled in this Appendix. Form 1 provides information about the characteristics of each school, its type, age range, sex of pupils, pupil numbers by years, catchment area, number of pupils with special needs. Form 2 is concerned with staff and is explained in detail in Chapter 4. Three forms, 3a, b and c, are all concerned with the curriculum: 3a is a questionnaire designed to reveal the extent and the way in which the curriculum in the years before the fourth, particularly the third, might influence the programme in years 4 and 5. Form 3b is a proforma on which schools, using curriculum notation, were asked to set out the curriculum offered in the fourth and fifth years, separating compulsory from optional subjects and indicating the sizes of the various teaching groups. The Appendix contains the sample form used to illustrate the lay-out. Form 3c deals with English, mathematics, science and the first modern language taught. It records the pupil numbers taking any subject within these four titles by examination target; and the teachers concerned by the type of their qualification.

2 In addition HMI consulted schools about the incidence of special problems, the identification of and provision for exceptionally gifted children and external examinations. These features are treated in Chapters 11, 3 and 10 respectively of the main report.

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Notes on completion of Form 2 parts (a) and (b)

1. Both parts of this form are concerned with teaching staff;

a. records particulars of individual teachers.
b. is designed to provide information about their teaching programme and to indicate the special responsibilities assigned to some of them.
2. The LEA and school numbers should be written in boxes 3 to 5 and 6 to 9 respectively on both halves of the form.

3. Staff should be listed on both parts in the order indicated in the next paragraph and it is of maximum importance that names on each line should exactly correspond on both halves of the form. It is appreciated that this involves additional work; the reason for dividing the form in this way is to keep the size within easily manageable proportions for all processing purposes. To assist in completion the lines on both parts of the form are numbered. Names of staff need be given only as surnames, with initials where there are repetitions. If there are any linked courses enter 'FE' as the final entry in Column 1. The listing by name is only for the convenience of schools in completing the forms. The column headed "for official use only" is for the assignment to each teacher of a 'computer number'; thereafter, individual information will become completely anonymous.

It is also important to enter single figures, preceded by 0 in any space which provides for 2 digits [eg in column 8, a teacher may have 7 years of previous service. This MUST be entered as 07 to avoid the risk of a 7 in the first column being translated into 70 years service].

PART (a).

4. The order for entry of staff is by Burnham category which should be inserted in column 2. For this purpose enter:

HM = The head of the school.
DH = Any teacher paid on the deputy scale.
ST = Senior teacher.
04-01 = Full-time teachers. excluding probationers, in scale order from 4 to 1.
LI = Probationer. If the probationer is on a scale above 1, substitute the appropriate number for 1.
PT = Part-time teachers. If the scale is known, substitute the appropriate number for T.
OT = Other teaching staff (if any). Instructors, foreign language assistants etc., should be omitted unless they have a regular, permanent time-table assignment which releases other teachers.
EX = External, to record any periods regularly contributed by teachers on the staff of other institutions (eg FE staff providing Linked Courses).

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Notes on completion of Form 2 parts (a) and (b) continued

It will be most helpful if the teachers are listed in categories in the precise order given above. (There has been some tendency to mix L1 (probationers) with PT (part-time teachers) and OT (other teachers, instructors etc).

Further help will be given if a blank line separates each category of teacher.

5. Visiting teachers (eg peripatetic music teachers) should be included as part-time teachers only if they have regular time-tabled class music. Teaching of instrumental music to pupils withdrawn from other classes should be ignored, and if visitors teach no classes they should be omitted altogether. On the other hand teachers on the staffing establishment of the school who operate wholly or in part on a withdrawal basis (eg remedial, music) must be entered. A note of how their deployment should be recorded follows later.

6. All full-time teachers should have 10 entered in column 3. For part-time teachers, the decimal fraction of the week for which they are paid should be shown; eg a teacher paid for three days per week should be entered as 06 even if the teacher has all non-teaching periods accumulated on (say) one afternoon and is normally in school for only two-and-a-half days.

7. In column 4 enter the qualifications of each teacher, using the following code:

CS = Certificated teacher with secondary training
CJ = Certificated teacher with junior/secondary or junior training
GT = Trained Graduate
UG = Untrained Graduate
BE = Bachelor of Education
00 - Other qualifications
Teachers who have other qualifications accepted by Burnham as "graduate equivalent" should be entered as GT or UG dependent on whether the equivalence does or does not include professional training. (If uncertain enter 00).

8. Column 5. Enter the major subject of study for each teacher's certificate, degree, or other qualification, in the sub-columns 1 and 2 of column 5, using the subject code letters in the list supplied. If the teacher has a single subject qualification enter this in sub-column 1 and 00 in sub-column 2. Where a teacher is qualified in more than two subjects enter the two which are regarded as most significant.

9. Column 6. Enter M or F.

10. Column 7. Enter present age in years.

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Notes on completion of Form 2 parts (a) and (b) continued

11. Column 8. Only total teaching experience after qualifying should be recorded. For teachers who have had a continuous full-time career there should be no problem. For those with intermittent spells of part-time service an estimate of their accumulated experience will serve. When the figure to be entered is 9 or less enter a 0 in the left hand sub-column and the appropriate figure in the right hand sub-column.

12. Column 9. Current service means time in this school. The entry in completed years (00 for those appointed during the current academic year) should exclude any previous service in this school separated by service elsewhere than the present appointment. For totals of 9 or less proceed as at column 8.

13. Column 10 with its two sub-columns should record the one or two main subjects taught. For teachers who have only one such subject or for those with more than two proceed as in paragraph 8 (column 5). The same list of subject codes should be used but, of course, subjects taught (column 10) and subjects of qualification (column 5) mayor may not be the same.

PART (b)

14. Column 11. Indicate, using the codes in the list supplied, the nature of the main special responsibility assigned to particular teachers. No entry need be made for teachers in categories HM and DH, or for teachers in categories 00 or EX and probably, in most cases, not for probationary teachers either. As with columns 5 and 10 there are two sub-columns in which a double special responsibility may be entered. If a teacher exercises only one special responsibility enter the appropriate code in the first sub-column.

15. Columns 12 and 13 are concerned with deployment. Column 12 with its five sub-columns should record periods taught by each teacher to the respective year groups in the main school. Schools at which the normal age of entry is 12, 13, or 14, should leave blank sub-columns I to III as appropriate. The first sub-column of column 13 records the main school total and should be the result of adding all entries under column 12. The second sub-column of column 13 should record all teaching periods of whatever kind included in any part of the sixth form programme. The third sub-column is the total of the previous two; the addition of the main school and sixth form teaching periods gives the total teaching commitment. Non-teaching time, for whatever purpose, should be entered in the 4th sub-column and the additions of the 3rd and 4th sub-columns provide the check total in the final sub-column. For full-time teachers this check total should always be the number of periods in the time-table cycle. For part-time teachers it should be the appropriate fraction (eg in a 40 period week the correct check total is 24 for a teacher whose entry in column 3 is 06).

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Notes on completion of Form 2 parts (a) and (b) continued

16 Standard, somewhat arbitrary distinctions must be made between 'teaching time' and time recorded as 'non-teaching'. Notes and examples are given below along with an indication of what to do in cases presenting difficulty.

a. 'teaching' includes supervision of timetabled games, library, private study etc but coverage of absence, even on a scheduled basis, should not be counted;

b. withdrawal of pupils for remedial work or instrumental music counts as teaching, provided that the teacher to whom the pupils go is on the staffing establishment and not a visiting teacher (see paragraph 5 of these notes). Any such withdrawal arrangements, regardless of the number of pupils involved, should be recorded in the appropriate year column if all pupils withdrawn belong to the same year. If they come from more than one year the total withdrawal periods should be proportionately allocated between the years concerned;

Example: A teacher is responsible for a remedial group in which the pupils withdrawn may include 12 from year 1, eight from year 2, and four from year 3. If the withdrawal arrangement is spread over 20 periods it would be appropriate to enter 10 of these in the year 1, seven under year 2 and three under year 3;
c. a teacher/counsellor on the staffing establishment, regarded as dividing his time equally between the two functions, might have an assignment of 17 teaching periods out of 40, and three allocated non-teaching periods. He could be expected to be available for counselling for the remaining 20. The entry should show the 17 periods in their appropriate years and 20 + 3 = 23 periods in the non-teaching column;

d. a full-time counsellor who does no teaching should have 40 periods entered in the non-teaching column if he is counted on the staffing establishment, and should be omitted from the staff list altogether if he is not so counted;

e. the procedure in respect of careers work is as follows:

Timetabled 'careers' periods regularly given to a defined class or group count as teaching. Periods when careers teachers are available to give individual interviews should count as non-teaching;
f. teachers absent on secondment should be omitted. If there are replacements they should be treated as normal staff members;

g. FE linked courses. The procedure is:

You will already have entered FE in column 1, and EX in column 2. The periods involved should be entered in the appropriate years. You may not know how many FE teachers are involved in the Linked Courses which may also include pupils from other schools. An arbitrary assumption of one teacher to every 15 pupils should be made (or fraction of 15). Thus if 50 pupils from year 4 go to the FE College for an afternoon of three school periods, this is considered to be equivalent to four FE teachers serving the school

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Notes on completion of Form 2 parts (a) and (b) continued

for three periods each. Twelve periods should therefore be recorded under year 4 and in the Total column. Non-teaching time should be ignored and the staff total should record these 12 periods. (FTE. column 3, 12 periods = 0.3).
17 On form 2(a) the only total required is for column 3 (full-time equivalent) and the grand total of this column (if there is more than one staff sheet) should agree with the staffing establishment of the school, with the possible addition of any EX entry.

18 On form 2(b) horizontal checking procedures for sections 12 and 13 have been described in paragraph 15. The totals for these sections permit horizontal and vertical cross-checking and the grand total of the final sub-column (total periods) should equal the teaching staff (total of column 3) multiplied by the number of periods in the timetable, eg if there is a total of 55.6 staff using a 40 period week the grand total should be 55.6 x 40 = 2,224 periods.

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List of symbols indicating special responsibilities

To be used in completing Column 11 of Form 2 Part (b)

Only MAJOR responsibilities should be recorded. Duties shared by many (eg form teacher, group tutor) should be excluded.

GA = general administration
HF = head of faculty
HD = head of department
CU = responsibility for curriculum (Director of studies, curriculum coordination, planning, development etc)
EE = responsibility for external examinations
PT = professional tutor (Use this for teachers responsible for induction of new staff, supervision of probationers, students etc).
HB = head of block (eg lower school)
HY = head of year
HH = head of house
CO = counsellor
CZ = careers
LR = library/resources
AV = audio-visual aids
EC = overall responsibility for extracurricular activities.
The figure 2 may replace the first letter for any teacher, holding an above scale post, who is a deputy/assistant in respect of any of the responsibilities listed. (eg 2Z = deputy careers master)

For any major responsibility not listed, use the symbol RX with a note of explanation at the bottom of the last sheet, and the name of the teacher concerned.

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List of standard subject symbols for subjects of qualification and for subjects taught

The following list gives the subject symbols - grouped under headings - for use in the completion of Column 5 and 10 of Form 2 part (a). (Paragraphs 8 and 13 of the Notes for completion of Form 2 refer). An exhaustive list would be very long indeed. The following aims to cover most subjects: where the subject of qualification or the subject taught is similar, though not identical in name to one on the list, the symbol listed should be used unless it is felt that the disparity is too great. In such cases, use the 'other' symbols HX, GX, SX, LX, AX, TX and CX listed last in each subject group and add an explanatory note at the foot of the last sheet of Form 2, including the name of the teacher concerned. It is hoped that it will be possible to keep the use of the GX, HX etc codes to a minimum.

FP = Form period
TG = Tutor group
HP = House group (Period)
PS = Private study
LI = Library period
CA = Careers
RM = Remedial
GX = Any other

EN = English
DR = Drama
GG = Geography
HI = History
BC = British constitution
PO = Politics
RE = Religious education
TH = Theology
ME = Moral education
PY = Psychology
PF = Philosophy
LO = Logic
SO = Sociology
EU = European studies
CS = Combined studies including
Social studies,
    Integrated studies,
    Environmental studies
HX = Any other

MU = Music
MM= Music and movement
PE = Physical education
GA = Games including:

MA = Mathematics including:
    Additional mathematics
    Computer studies

SC = Science (general)
PH = Physics
CH = Chemistry
BI = Biology
PC = Physics with chemistry
BA = Botany
GE = Geology
PL = Physiology ZO = Zoology
RS = Rural science
HO = Horticulture
HS = Health science
SX = Any other science

TD = Technical drawing
ED = Engineering drawing
ES = Engineering science
PT = Project technology
BG = Building
MO = Motor mechanics (maintenance)
WK = Woodwork
MW = Metalwork
BT = Building technology
EG = Engineering
TX = Any other technical subject.
FR = French
DE = German
RU = Russian
IT = Italian
SP = Spanish
WE = Welsh
LA = Latin
GK = Greek
CL = Classics
LX = Any other language

CO = Commerce
BS = Business studies
OP = Office practice
TP = Typewriting
SH = Shorthand
AB = Accounts (Book-keeping)
EC = Economics
CX = Any other commercial subject

AR = Art (including fine art, design, ceramics, textile design)
AC = Art/light craft
HC = Handicraft
HE = Home economics
DS = Domestic science
NK = Needlework
AX = Any other art or craft

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Form 3a

Form 3a (Return)

LEA No ____


School No ______

The third year, for this purpose, means the year prior to the two years on which the survey concentrates. The purpose is to find out what curricular decisions made earlier may have influenced the programme now being taken by the fourth year.

In 14-18 schools the third year will have taken place elsewhere; in such cases no attempt should be made to obtain information from the lower school(s); the questions should be left unanswered and the form marked "NIL RETURN/14-18".


1. Did all pupils follow the same curriculum until the end of the third year? YES/NO

2. If the answer to question 1 is NO, please answer appropriately below:

(a) Were there any curricular differences by bands or streams? (eg In year 3, bands 1 and 2 continued French. An alternative was provided for band 3).

(b) Were there any curricular alternatives wholly determined by sex? (eg Technical drawing for boys, needlework for girls).

(c) Were there any subjects available to all pupils regardless of ability or attainment? (eg a free choice between art, music or craft).

(d) Were there subjects available only to some pupils (other than those already covered by (a) or (b)). (eg Pupils whose record in science was regarded as good, could take separate sciences instead of general science, no matter which band or form they were in).

3. Where there were choices of any kind, how was the timetable arranged?
(i) By a straight choice? (eg German for some/European Studies for others),

(ii) By an arrangement in which selected pupils took on (say) four periods of an additional subject by reduced time allocations for other parts of their programme? (eg One less period of four other subjects).

4. When the present fourth year commenced were there any curricular choices constrained by previous options? (eg (i) An additional language possible only if started in year 3; (ii) O-level Physics open only to pupils from the top two sets in year 3).

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Form 3a continued

5. How was the third year organised for most of its programme? In streams, broad bands, complete mixed ability groups, any of these with setting in particular subjects? (eg An answer might be - In three broad bands, with "equal" groups within the bands for most subjects, but setting within the bands for French and across the whole year group for mathematics).

6. Before any option choices were made, during the first three years, or at the end of the third year, was there consultation with (a) pupils YES/NO (b) parents YES/NO (c) careers staff YES/NO?

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Appendix 2 Statistical Appendix

Processing the information - sampling error - comparison of sample with national statistics.

(i) Processing the information

1. Several kinds of information were used and related to one another. The written reports provided substantial qualitative description and judgement of each school. Study of the reports often suggested hypotheses which could be investigated by relevant quantitative analyses to give a fuller picture of the evidence. Quantitative information was collected on the various forms displayed in Appendix 1. Much of this data was hard fact (for example, size of school and details about teachers); some of it was based on the judgements either of the school or of HMI. Chapter 5 gives an account of how HMI gradings were assigned, and of how the working groups studied the written reports.

2. The analyses consisted mainly of the production of suitable tabulations and the application of statistical tests to the data in them. Where tabulations were simply used to describe the schools or teachers in the sample, the only statistical problem in interpreting them was that of assessing the precision and reliability with which these statistics reflected the state of the national population (see chapter 2, section 8). The purpose of tabulations was often, however, the elucidation of the relationships between school variables. The main enquiry of this type, though not the only one, was that into possible determinants of school performance, as indicated by HMI gradings. Patterns of cause and effect can never be established by statistical analysis, which by itself can do no more than explore the patterns of statistical associations among variables. Even this is made difficult by the complex interdependence of variables. One might, for example, discover a spurious relationship between size and gradings of comprehensive schools, deducing that bigger schools do better, which is only a consequence of the facts that full range comprehensives tend to do better than restricted range comprehensives and also tend to be larger than them. Because of the difficulties of identifying and controlling intervening factors, conclusions about relationships among variables were usually rather tentative and could sometimes be drawn only for the largest category of schools, the full range comprehensives.

3. The inter-relationships of a large number of variables are best investigated by techniques of multi-variate analysis. Unfortunately, the non-continuous nature of most of the school variables did not permit the application of most of the common multi-variate techniques. Some cluster analyses were carried out on variables in a binary form, but the results were of only moderate clarity and consistency.

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4. Statistical tests were used to compare different groups of schools. The purpose of the tests was to determine whether differences between two groups were 'significant'. In this context, 'a significant difference' means 'a statistically significant difference' - that is, one not likely to have arisen in the sample by chance in the absence of any real differences in the populations. It usually means that the probability of this chance result would have been not more than 5 per cent, which nevertheless implies that we should still expect about one 'significant' result in 20 to be spurious, though of course we cannot know which. So, 'significant' usually implies significance at the 95 per cent level or above, while 'highly significant' usually implies significance at the 99 per cent level or above. Statistical significance depends not only on the magnitude of the difference, but also on the size of the groups of schools being compared: the smaller the groups, the larger a difference has to be to be found significant. If very large groups are compared, a difference found to be statistically significant may yet be so small as to lack any substantive importance. Conversely, if small groups are compared and statistically significant differences are not found, important differences may nevertheless exist in the population, but statistical evidence for them is not available.

5. The choice of statistical tests to be used was largely dictated by the nature of the data. The bulk of testing related to the gradings. These were usually cast into tables in the form of Table A2A*. The grades form an ordered set. Distributions along the two rows were tested against hypotheses that any differences between rows arose randomly. The Kolmogorov-Smirnov test was used, though in view of the small numbers involved, the 6-point rating scale was often dichotomised, usually between C and D, and a 2 x 2 chi-square test used. Other tests were used on other kinds of data as appropriate.

6. The results of investigations into the relationships between gradings and other variables are summarised, with some comment, in Appendix 3. A fairly cautious approach was taken to the admissibility of statistical evidence. Groups of fewer than 30 schools were not normally investigated; for this reason the 28 transitional schools were not examined as a separate type. Once some association between the other four types and the gradings had been established it became necessary to preserve the identity of these types to avoid confounding the investigation of other factors. Each of the four types was further broken down into sub-categories according to the characteristic to be investigated. Such sub-categories were nearly always large enough (over 30) when they arose from the 163 full range comprehensives; this was sometimes true for the 97 modern schools, but almost all sub-categories of the 51 grammar schools or of the 45 restricted range comprehensives were too small. Some investigations, therefore, were confined to the full range comprehensives and for some purposes all schools with an ability range of 0 to 80 were examined together.

7. There were 22 gradings for each school. 22 pair-wise comparisons were usually made between the distribution of gradings for two distinct sub-sets of schools. As a few spurious 'significant differences' would arise by chance even in the absence of real differences, conclusions were drawn from a study

*See overleaf.

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of the overall patterns. Isolated results which contradicted a general pattern were considered likely to be spurious, and no conclusions were drawn from them. No satisfactory way could be found of combining the 22 gradings into a single score.

(ii) Sampling error

1. The range of sampling error to which a figure derived from the sample is likely to be subject is approximately indicated by its 'standard error'. A rough rule of thumb is that the true figure for the population has a probability of 95 per cent of lying within an interval (called 'a confidence interval') extending two standard errors on either side of the figure derived from the sample, Tables A2B and A2C show standard errors of proportions of schools and teachers respectively in order to give a rough guide to the magnitude of sampling errors to which the sample figures are subject.

2. Table A2B shows, for example, that if 25 per cent of modern schools in the sample have a given characteristic, then there is a 95 per cent probability that the proportion of modern schools in the population which have this characteristic lies in the range of 25 per cent plus or minus (2 x 4.2 per cent), that is, between about 17 and 33 per cent. Naturally, the larger the group of sample schools of which proportions are considered, the smaller the likely error. Also, the nearer the proportion is to zero, the smaller the error in absolute terms but the larger the error relative to the proportion.

3. Similar considerations apply when we turn to proportions of teachers, on which data are provided in Chapter 4. However, in this case standard error depends not only on the size of the proportion and the number of teachers involved, but also on the pattern in which the teacher characteristics are distributed among the schools. If the teachers with a given characteristic are concentrated in a few schools, this leads to a higher standard error than in the case where, other things being equal, teachers with the characteristic are evenly distributed. Investigations of the sample data have shown that this clustering typically inflates standard errors by a factor of 1.5.

4. Table A2C gives standard errors on proportions of different sized groups of teachers. If, for example, 15 per cent of a sample group of 2,000 teachers have a given characteristic, then there is a 95 per cent probability that the proportion of such teachers in the population lies in the range 15 per cent plus or minus (2 x 1.2 per cent), that is, between about 13 and 17 per cent.

Table A2A Pattern for hypothesis testing on distributions of gradings

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5. Statistical significance tests were used to take account of sampling error in the drawing of conclusions from the data. These tests determine whether apparent differences between, and relationships among, some figures are 'statistically significant' - that is, whether there is a probability, usually of 95 per cent or more, that they reflect real differences or relationships in the population. An account of the use of tests has been given earlier in this Appendix.

(iii) Comparison of sample with national statistics

The survey was conducted between 1975-76 and 1977-78 based on a sample drawn from the population of schools in January 1974. In 1974, 49 per cent of all secondary schools were organised as comprehensives. At the end of the survey, 76 per cent were comprehensives. With such a degree of reorganisation, and with time lags needed to establish sampling frames and inform inspectors of their future commitments, it was not possible to make the sample

Table A2B Standard errors of proportions of types of school

Table A2C Standard errors of proportions of subsamples of teachers

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representative of the national patterns of schools at anyone point in time later than 1974. The original 1974 sample was constructed to take approximately 10 per cent of schools in each of seven geographical areas, in each of the main types and age ranges of school and in each category of size and sex.

This sound base was eroded for a variety of reasons. Occasionally particular circumstances in individual schools led to the substitution of comparable schools. Much more significant were closures of schools or reorganisation. Where the majority of pupils in one or the original schools went to what was, in essence, the same school under a different name, or were absorbed into an amalgamation, the new school was substituted. Thus to a certain extent the sample followed trends in the population. It was often not possible to find or use a school's direct successor. In such cases, schools with characteristics comparable to the old schools were chosen. To a certain extent the sample was held at the 1974 base.

This strategy for replacement was a useful compromise. On the one hand was the need for the sample to be representative of the population during the period of the survey; on the other hand was the need for the sample to retain enough selective schools for meaningful comparisons to be made between types of school. The sample is compared in Table A2D with the populations in 1974 and 1978 in terms of characteristics used in the construction of the original sample.

Table A2D Comparison of sample with national population of schools: by type, sex and size of school

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The size distribution of the sample is much closer to the 1978 population distribution than to that of 1974. In view of the previous discussion there appears to be a modest bias in the overweighting of large schools. This is not likely to have had a serious effect on the findings of the survey, since analyses by size of school have shown few correlations with other important variables.

A comparison between teachers in the sample and teachers in the population is confounded by slight differences in the definitions of their characteristics. So far as the definitions can be aligned and the three-year sample related to the population in March 1977, the sample appears to be almost unbiased with respect to graduate status, sex and age. There is, however, a slight over-representation of teachers on Scales 3 and 4 at the expense of Scale 1 teachers and probationers.

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Appendix 3 Further aspects of the statistical evidence

1.1 Factual data on certain characteristics of schools - type and ability range, catchment area, age range, size and sex of pupils - were given in Chapter 2. This Appendix describes the results of statistical investigations into whether the gradings were in any way related to these characteristics. It seemed worth making this investigation though clearly there were difficulties in relating the two types of evidence, and the findings must be treated with corresponding caution. Most of the information supplied by the schools is factual and simple. Determination of catchment area classification required some degree of judgement and the three categories of ability, identified within each school, were not related to any absolute scale. The gradings, as explained in Chapter 5, were all professional judgements derived from direct observation of the work of the schools but combining many complex factors into a single grading.

1.2 The procedure used was to compare the frequency distributions of the gradings with various school characteristics to discover any 'statistically significant' (see Appendix 2) differences or associations which might emerge.

1.3 The sample of schools was made up of 97 modern, 51 grammar, 163 full range comprehensive, 45 restricted comprehensive, and 28 transitional schools. The group of transitional schools was too small to be included in the statistical analysis.

Ability categories within the schools

2.1 The gradings, separately for provision and response, for language, mathematics and science were compared for each of the three categories of ability across the schools by type. With one exception*, a common pattern emerged in all types of school; this showed that the gradings for the more able were consistently higher than those for the average and similarly these were higher than those for the less able. Given that the ability groupings were relative to the range within each school and not in absolute terms, it appears that most schools, whatever their type and range of ability, made better provision for pupils nearer the top of their range than for those lower down and that the pupils responded accordingly. This is in line with references in the report to the influence of expectations on what actually happens.

Type and ability range

3.1 When the gradings for different types of schools are compared, these comparisons are not for groups of pupils of the same ability range but are

*The exception was the absence of significant difference in the grammar schools between the more able and the average.

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comparisons of how well those schools function as schools: how well they provide for the range of pupils they have and how their pupils respond. Comparison by type of school showed that, in general, grammar schools were more highly graded than full range comprehensives which, in turn, were more highly graded than modern schools. There were no statistically significant differences between the two kinds of comprehensive school and few between restricted range comprehensives and modern schools. Thus, an order of schools is apparent but it is important to note that the same order is revealed in Chapter 4 in respect of the subject match and levels of qualification and experience of teachers. These findings should be read in the light of the differences in the tasks which face schools of different types. The grammar schools are generally appropriately staffed to meet the academic needs of the able pupils they recruit. These pupils are likely to be well-motivated, aspiring to higher and further education and the expectations of pupils and school are based on established traditions. Many of their pupils enjoy strong parental support although most schools will have some pupils who need particular help and encouragement if they are to fulfil their considerable potential. The modern schools also provide for a limited, though different and much wider range of ability, but their pupils are more diverse in their needs particularly in the range of stimulus and teaching approaches and the degree of personal support they may require. Full range comprehensives, by definition, contain pupils of all abilities and consequently require the widest range of expertise, academic and professional, in their staffs. Their task, and the problem of matching it with appropriate staffing strength and experience, is further complicated by the fact that comprehensive schools differ widely from each other in the balance of abilities and needs represented by their pupils: those schools which have a particularly high proportion of pupils with learning difficulties may well have problems in providing both for them and for a relatively small minority of academically able pupils. The evidence on staffing suggests that, in general, many comprehensive and modern schools do not possess the range of staffing strengths they need.

Catchment area

4.1 Data were collected from each school on the nature of its catchment area. The five types recorded were (i) rural, (ii) areas subject to the problems associated with city centres, (iii) long-established manufacturing areas, (iv) prosperous suburban, (v) less prosperous suburban. Schools also provided information about the percentage of 'slow learners' in the first year of entry, the percentage of pupils receiving free meals, and whether a significant number of pupils left full-time education before fulfilling their academic potential. These indicators of disadvantage were all significantly greater in the inner city catchment areas than in any of the others, and were to be found more frequently in the less prosperous than the more prosperous suburbs. These findings are not unexpected, but need to be borne in mind when considering the assessments by type of catchment area.

4.2 In order to determine whether there was evidence that a more favourable environmental background was associated with higher assessments, the

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gradings were tested for any association with the type of catchment area. Because of the uneven distribution of types of school among the five catchment areas and the small numbers of schools appearing in certain subcategories, only three groups of schools were analysed: (i) full range comprehensive schools, (ii) restricted range comprehensive and modern schools combined, and (iii) all comprehensive schools. In all three cases the gradings for schools in areas subject to the problems associated with city centres were lower than those for schools with other types of catchment area.


5.1 Relationships between gradings and size of school were sought. Each of the two criteria for size (total number on roll and size of years 4 and 5 combined) was used in turn to define groups of large and small schools for comparison. In order to permit analysis by size within type categories, modern and restricted range comprehensive schools were combined to form one group and full range comprehensive schools formed a second group. There were too few grammar schools and too few schools with age ranges of 13 to 18 or 14 to 18 for analysis. Full range comprehensive schools were classified as small if they had up to 900 pupils on roll and large if they had over 1,350 pupils; the corresponding sizes for the restricted range comprehensive and modern schools combined were up to 450 and over 1,000. Using the criterion of the size of the combined fourth and fifth year groups produced bands of up to 360 and over 480 for the full range comprehensive schools and up to 180 and over 360 for the combined group of restricted range comprehensive and modern schools.

5.2 Using the two criteria for size in turn, the distributions of the gradings of schools in the two extreme size bands were compared with each other and with those of schools in the middle band. For the full range comprehensive schools there was no evidence of a relationship between gradings and size of school, but there were too few small full range comprehensive schools in the survey to allow effective comparison with other sizes. For the combined group of restricted range comprehensive and modern schools, there was little difference between the gradings of schools in the middle and large size bands. But comparisons of schools in the small size band with those in the middle and large size bands showed that schools with up to 450 pupils received lower gradings in language, mathematics and science for the average and more able pupils, particularly for the latter.

Split sites

6.1 The survey included 59 schools on split sites made up of 11 modern, three grammar, 32 full range comprehensive, nine restricted range comprehensive and four transitional schools. Only the full range comprehensives had enough split site schools for analysis. Schools on split sites were generally large comprehensives and comparison of gradings showed that such schools did not differ significantly from schools on single sites.

Age ranges

7.1 239 of the schools in the sample had sixth forms. To test whether the presence of a sixth form affected gradings, comparisons were made between

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schools with fewer than 10 or no sixth form students, schools with 20 to 85 students and schools with more than 85 students following A-level courses. Tests were carried out separately for three groups of schools: (i) full range comprehensive, (ii) restricted range comprehensive and modern combined, (iii) all comprehensive. It was not possible to include the grammar schools which had the larger and longer established sixth forms because there were too few and not enough of them had small sixth forms. The tests did not provide any evidence to indicate that the existence of a sixth from in a comprehensive school led to higher gradings for the fourth and fifth years.

7.2 The gradings of the 19 full range 13 to 18 comprehensive schools were compared with those of similar schools providing for the full age range. No significant differences were found in provision for the three subject areas, and given the small number in the sample the lack of a significant result is not necessarily meaningful. However, the gradings in provision for personal development, for both leavers and those staying on, were significantly lower in the 13 to 18 schools than in the other full range comprehensive schools.

Single sex and mixed schools

8.1 Of the 384 schools visited, 96 were single sex schools. Among the 51 grammar schools there were 20 girls' schools and 18 boys' schools. Gradings for provision in each of the four aspects surveyed were compared for boys', girls' and mixed grammar schools and did not reveal any differences of note. Among all the other schools there were 29 girls', 29 boys' and 275 mixed schools, and the distribution of the 22 gradings were compared for these three groups of schools. These investigations showed that girls' and mixed schools had higher gradings in language and personal development than boys' schools, and that mixed schools had higher gradings in science than girls' schools.

Effects of recent reorganisation

9.1 Using information about the dates of reorganisation it was possible to identify from the full range comprehensive schools a group of 49 which had been reorganised more than seven years before they were visited, and 48 which had been reorganised within the preceding five years. No significant differences were found in the distributions of the gradings of these two groups of schools.


10.1 From the information which schools had supplied on staffing, overall pupil teacher ratios, operational pupil teacher ratios for the fourth and fifth years and average class sizes in the fourth and fifth years were calculated. For the full range comprehensive schools an investigation was carried out to see if any relationship existed between the gradings and these measures of the input of teachers' time, but there was insufficient evidence to establish any such relationship. It must be remembered that the data depended on the existing staffing of comprehensive schools and there were insufficient examples of extremely generous or very poor staffing ratios for the effects,

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if any, of such extreme provision to be investigated. From the statistical evidence it is impossible to say what benefits or disadvantages would arise from radical changes in the availability of teaching time.

10.2 The gradings for two groups of schools were tested separately for any relationship with length of teaching experience: (i) full range comprehensive schools, (ii) restricted range comprehensive and modern schools combined. Gradings were compared for groups of schools with different percentages of teaching staff with one year's experience or less, with five years' experience or less, and with ten years' experience or less. There was no evidence to indicate that a higher percentage of more experienced staff was associated with higher gradings.


11.1 The gradings proved to be associated with the type and ability range and the catchment area of a school. Within schools, whatever their range of ability, the gradings were associated with the three ability levels of pupils. There were indications that for schools with a restricted ability range gradings were lower in small schools. In some respects the gradings were also related to the sex of pupils and the age range of a school.

11.2 Many of the investigations reported in this appendix led to the conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to support the existence of an association. There were other inconclusive investigations which are not reported here.

11.3 As is pointed out in Appendix 2, lack of evidence does not imply that there is no association, and there may be associations which the survey has failed to establish. It would be wrong, for example, to conclude that provision and response were unaffected by the size of the school; there was merely insufficient evidence to establish a relationship.

11.4 There is a variety of reasons why relationships could go undetected: first the gradings were not very precise instruments; secondly the interaction of factors, such as type and size of school, reduced the amount of information that could be obtained about the effects of anyone factor; thirdly, there were many other variables which were not measured or assessed in a way that would allow for the separation of their effects - an example of one such variable is the quality of leadership in the school.

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Appendix 4 Gifted pupils

1. The questionnaire used on gifted pupils defined the two types of giftedness mentioned in paragraph 4.1 of Chapter 3. Schools were asked whether they had any pupils of either or both of these types. The response is shown in Table A4A.

2. Talent of a particular kind was most frequently mentioned with regard to sport and athletics. Next came music. Other creative subjects quoted were dance, drama, ballet, art and craft. Of the academic subjects talent in mathematics was most prominent, but talent in foreign languages, classical and modern, had also been noted.

3. Schools were asked how their gifted pupils were identified. Identification practices varied from school to school and from subject to subject. Pupils of all-round superior intellectual ability were identified mainly by (i) school tests and examinations, (ii) in a few cases NFER verbal reasoning or intelligence tests administered before or after entry to the secondary school, and (iii) impression. References were frequently made to 'pupil performance' or 'continuous assessment' or 'staff observation', but no mention was made

Table A4A Gifted pupils: by type of school

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of assistance from a psychologist. Similarly, with regard to the identification of pupils with particular talents, the great majority of schools relied on teachers' observation of pupils' performance or quality of work. Otherwise British Amateur Gymnastics Association tests, examinations of the Associated Board or Royal Academy of Music were mentioned, as well as the help of peripatetic teachers and local education authority advisers, and in one case a local association football club. The timing of the testing or identification was not often specified, but there were occasional references to 'early' testing and 'regular' recording and reviews of progress.

4. A further question put to the schools was whether any special provision was made for gifted pupils in the two categories once they had been identified. Such provision might be made in one or more of three ways: within the school programme by the creation of additional opportunities and demands; by external arrangements for special coaching, tuition and other means; by transfer wholly or partially to an institution catering especially for the talent concerned. Ballet schools or schools of music were the principal example quoted. The response to this enquiry is shown in Table A4B.

5. The school itself, the local education authority and parents were found to be making special provision for the gifted pupils, sometimes separately, sometimes in combination. Only two other sources of help were mentioned: a local professional association football club and a local athletics club.

6. General comment on the issues concerned in the provision for gifted pupils will be found in HMI Matters for Discussion No 4, Gifted children in middle and comprehensive secondary schools (HMSO, 1977) to which the results of some of the enquiries made on the survey form a useful supplement.

Table A4B Schools making special provision for gifted and talented pupils: by type of school

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Major references are set in bold type


Ability groups 3.3.4, (table 3B), 5.4.2

Ability range 2.2.2, 2.2.4, (table 2A), 5.5.2, 9.2.24

Able (more able, most able) pupils 3.2, 3.3.11, 3.9.7, 3.16.1-3, 5.3.1, 6.2.13, 6.4.9, 6.5.3, 6.5.8, 6.7.13, 7.3.10-12, 7.3.38, 7.4.19-20, 7.10.3-4 (table 7G), 7.10.7, 7.10.10, 8.10.3, 9.4.9, 12.15, Appx 3

Absence of pupils 6.2.15, 8.12.26, 9.4.28, 11.2.1, 11.3.3, 11.4.2, 11.4.6

Absence of teachers 4.5.2

Accommodation 7.5.1-2, 7.10.18, 8.6.1-3, 8.6.10-11, 9.2.23, 9.2.29, 9.3.8, 11.4.6, 12.9

Across the curriculum 0.7, 5.1.2, 6.6.11, 7.4, 7.8, 8.0, 8.4, 8.12.16-18

Activities (extra-curricular) 6.1.4, 7.5.23-26, 8.5, 9.1.5, 9.3.26-28, 11.5.2-6

Advisory services 6.6.12, 7.10.22, 7.10.24, 8.8.5, 11.5.4, 12.22

Aesthetic education (creative-aesthetic) 3.5.2, 3.16.1, 3.17.1

Age 14, break at 3.15.1, 13.6

Age range of schools 2.4.1, (table 2D), 2.7.3-4

Ancillary staff 4.5.7, 5.4.2, 8.6.7-9 Glossary

Art 3.3.3, 3.3.12, 3.5.1, 3.9.2, 6.2.12, 6.4.7, 7.6.22, 7.8.3, 7.18.19-22, 8.4.1, Appx 4.

Assembly 6.1.3, 6.2.24, 9.1.5, 11.5.5

Assessment by HMI Ch.5, 6.5, 7.1, 7.3.34-38, 7.10.1-6, (table 7G) 7.10.7, 8.11.2, 8.11.5, 8.13.2-6, 9.2.2, Appx 2, Appx 3

Assessments, day to day 7.3.16-18, 7.7.8-10, 8.14.6, 12.14

Assignment cards (worksheets) 6.2.11, 6.2.13, 7.5.10-11, 8.9.4-5, 9.2.17-19, Glossary

Attainment tests 0.5, 5.5.1

Attitudes of pupils 0.4, 5.4.4, 6.4.2, 6.4.15, 8.12.26-30, 9.2.1

Audio-visual aids

Authoritarian schools 9.3.20, 9.3.23

Average pupils 1.2.2, 5, 3.1. 6.5.3, 6.7.12, 7.3.38, 7.10.3, (table 7G) 7.10.7, 8.13.4-6


Banding 3.3.4, 3.7.2, 3.9.3, 7.7.13-, 11.4.7, Glossary

Basic skills 3.15.5, 7.6.12, 12.1

Bachelor of Education (BEd) 4.2.3 (Tables 4A, 4B) 4.2.5 (table 4E) 8.7.4 (table 8E) Glossary

Behaviour of pupils Ch.11, 7.6.23, 9.2.21, 9.3.18, 9.3.25, 9.3.27

Best practice 6.4.2, 6.7.13, 7.8.6, 8.11.5-6, 8.13.6, 9.3.30, 11.5.2-6

Biology Ch.8, 3.3.3, 3.9.2, 6.2.9, 6.3.11, 7.8.3, 7.8.17

Books 5.4.2, 6.2.3-6, 6.2.18-21, 7.5.10-13, 8.11.3, 9.2.19, 11.5.4-5, 12.9

Boys 3.3.3, 3.12.5, (table 3S) 7.3.4-6, (table 7A) 7.3.33, 7.8.21, 8.2.2-8, (tables 8A, 8B, 8C, 8D), 8.12.29, 8.14.10, 9.2.12, Appx3

Bullock Report 0.6, 6.1.1, 6.6.1, 6.7.15

Burnham Scale 4.1.2, Glossary


Careers education 3.7.6, 3.7.8, 3.10, 3.16.3. 4.3.1, Ch.9, 9.4.1-32, 12.5

Catchment areas 2.3 (table 2C) 2.7.2, 7.4.2, 8.11.3, 8.11.6. 9.3.25, 11.3.7-8, 11.4.1, 11.6.1-3, Appx 1, Appx 3

Certificated teacher 4.2.3, (tables 4A, 4B), 4.2.5, (table 4E) 8.7.4 (table 8E)

Chemistry Ch.8, 6.3.11

Class control 6.2.13, 6.4.18, 9.2.17

Class sizes 3.11.1-3 (table 3L), 3.12.3-4 (tables 3N, 3O, 3Q, 3R), 4.4.3, 4.6.2, 4.6.4 (table 4P), 4.7.3, 7.7.3, 8.7

Classics 3.3.11-12, 3.16.3, 6.3.3

Combined Integrated Science Ch.8, 3.3.11, 3.9.4, 3.16.2-3 Glossary

Combined studies 3.9.2

Commerce 3.3.10, 7.6.11, 7.6.22, 7.8.5, 9.2.6

Community schools 9.3.28, 11.5.4. 11.6.3

Community service 3.9.6, 3.10, 9.2.11-14, 9.3.26, 11.5.2, 11.5.5

Compulsory schooling 0.4, 1.11

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Contact ratio 4.5, (tables 4N, 4O) Glossary

Copied notes 6.2.14, 6.3.10-12, 6.3.25, 6.6.5, 8.9.2-3, 8.12.23, 8.14.4, 9.2.17, 10.9.5, 12.10

Corporal punishment 9.3.21, 9.3.23

Counselling 3.7.6, 9.3.8-10

Craft (including design and technology) 3.3.3, 3.3.11-12, 3.5.1-2, 3.7.7, 3.9.2, 6.4.5, 6.4.7, 6.6.8, 7.4.15, 7.4.22, 7.5.18, 7.6.22, 7.6.29, 7.8.1-8, 7.8.18-21, 8.4.1, Appx 4

Criteria in science 5.1.2, 8.13.2

Curriculum Ch.3, 8.3.2, 8.8.5, 8 Annex, 9.2.1, 9.2.4-6, 9.4.2, 12.18, 13.4-5


Departments 6.6.4, 6.6.10, 7.10.22, 8.8.2-4, 12.18, 12.20

Deployment of teachers Ch 4, 9.2.23

Deputy head 3.17.2, 4.5.1, 6.6.6

'Design for living' 3.9.6, 9.2.9, 9.4.10

Directors of studies 3.17.2

Disadvantaged area 9.3.5, 9.3.31

Discipline 1.4.1, 11.1.1, 11.3.2

Discussion (general) 6.4.2-5, 7.10.16, 9.4.29
    (between HMI and teachers) 0.5, 1.4.2, 5.1.2, 5.4.5, 8.13.3
    (between HMI and pupils) 8.12.29, 8.13.1, 9.1.5
    (between teachers) 7.8.3, 7.10.16, 12.17

Disruptive pupils 9.3.22, 11.2.3, 11.3.7

Drama 3.5.1, 6.2.17, 6.4.6, Appx 4

Duke of Edinburgh's Award 9.2.12


Early leavers 3.9.6, 11.2.3, 11.3.8, 12.15

Easter leavers 2.5.1, 6.4.14

Economics 6.2.3

Economic understanding 3.17.5, 9.5.8, 12.6

Educational Welfare Service 9.3.30, 11.4.6

Electronics 7.8.18, 8.1.1, 8.3.7

Employers 7.4.22, 7.10.8, 7.10.17, 9.2.33-34, 10.6.4, 10.9.3, 10.10.1, 12.12, 12.17

English (general) 3.5.1, 3.1.5, 6.1.3, 6.3.24
    (and mathematics) 7.8.17
    (class sizes) 3.11.1, 3.12.3, (tables 3N, 3O)
    (departments) 6.1.1, 11.4.3
    (literature) 6.4.6, 6.4.12

Enjoyment 6.2.10, 9.3.18, 9.3.21

Enthusiasm 6.2.2, 6.2.20, 6.4.20, 7.7.1, 8.3.6, 9.2.21, 9.3.27

Environmental studies 3.39, 7.8.18, 9.5.5

Environment for learning 9.2.28-29, 11.5.2-6

Environment of pupils 2.7.2, 9.1.3

Environment of school 3.8.7, 9.2.28

Error in sampling Appx 2(ii)

Ethnic minority pupils 0.3, 6.2.19, 6.3.3, 6.3.26, 6.6.8, 9.4.12

'Ethos' (climate) of school 5.4.5, 9.3.16-18

European studies 3.3.10, 3.9.9

Examinations Ch.10
    General Certificate of Education (GCE) 7.3.8-12, Glossary
    Certificate of Secondary Education (CSE) 7.3.13-19, Glossary
    Joint Examination (GCE/CSE) Glossary

Examining at 16-plus 0.2, 9.2.25

Effects of examinations
    (general) 0.1, 0.2, 0.9, 12.10
    (on language) 6.2.5, 6.3.5, 6.3.21, 6.7.9
    (on Mathematics) 7.3.1-7, (table 7A) 7.3.24-28, 7.6.1-2, 7.6.7
    (on Science) 8.3.1, 8.12.4, 8.12.11, 8.14.14
    (on personal development) 9.2.25, 9.2.30-34

Expectations 0.2, 6.2.8, 6.3.5, 6.3.23, 6.7.13, 9.2.16, 9.2.24, 10.8.2


Factual information 0.8, 1.4.1, Appx 1

Factual recall 6.4.1, 6.4.13, 12.10

Faculties 3.17.4, 9.2.5, Glossary

Falling rolls 0.2, 7.10.23, 8.14.9, 12.7

Foreign languages (see also French) 3.3.7, 3.5.1, 3.7.7, 3.8.4
    (second foreign language) 3.3.11 (table 3D)

Form entry 3.8.4, 8.14.26, Glossary

Fourteen to eighteen schools 3.8.5, 3.15.4, 9.2.4

French 3.3.10, 3.9.2, 3.12.4-5, (tables 3P-3S), 4.3.10-12 (tables 4K, 4L), 6.3.9, 6.3.19

Further education 0.3, 7.3.19, 7.3.33, 7.6.18, 7.7.3, 7.10.8, 7.10.17, 9.4.15


Games 3.5.1, 3.7.4, 11.5.3

Geography 3.3.11, 3.5.1, 3.7.7, 3.9.2, 3.15.5, 6.2.2, 6.2.12, 6.3.9, 6.3.13, 6.3.20, 6.4.5, 6.4.12, 6.4.14, 6.6.8, 7.1.2, 7.5.28, 7.6.22. 7.8.1-7, 7.8.18-19, 7.8.24, 8.4.1

Gifted pupils 3.4.1, 9.2.26, Appx 4

Girls 3.3.3, 3.12.5, (table 3S) 7.3.4-6, (table 7A), 7.3.33, 7.8.21, 8.2.2-8 (tables 8A, 8B, 8C, 8D), 8.12.29, 8.14.10, 9.2.6, 9.2.12, Appx3

Governors 9.4.31

Gradings (HMI) 5.3, Appx 2(i), Appx 3

Group tutors 9.3.11, 9.3.30


Handicapped pupils 11.5.3

Head of department 4.2.5 (table 4E), 4.2.7, 4.5.8, 6.6.7, 7.7.1-7, 7.10.21-22, 8.8.1-2, 8.8.4, 11.4.3, 12.16

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Head of house 3.17.2, 9.3.3, 9.3.30

Head of school 3.17.1-2, 4.4.1-2, 4.5.1, 4.5.6 (table 4O), 6.2.9, 6.6.6, 9.3.16, 9.3.30, 11.5.2-6, 12-16

Head of year 3.17.2, 9.3.3

Health education 3.17.5, 9.2.9, 9.5.5, 12.5

Higher education 3.4.1, 3.9.2, 9.4.15

History 3.5.1, 3.7.7, 3.9.2, 3.15.5, 6.2.3, 6.2.9, 6.3.9, 6.3.11, 6.4.5, 6.4.12, 6.6.8, 7.5.28, 7.8.3, 8.4.1

HMI 0.3, 1.3.1-2, 1.4.1-2, 5.1.3, 5.4.5, 5.5.2, 5.6.1, 6.3.11, 6.6.12, 7.6.22, 8.13.3, 9.1.5

Hobbies 6.2.20, 9.3.26

Home 6.2.1, 9.1.3, 11.6.3

Home economics 3.3.3, 3.9.2, 6.2.3, 6.2.12, 6.4.7, 6.8.16, 7.8.3, 7.8.18, 7.8.21, 8.4.1

Hostility to teachers 11.2.1

House systems 9.3.3

Human biology 8.2 (tables 8C, SD), 9.2.9

Humanities 3.7.5, 3.9.2, 3.9.9, 4.3.4


Independent learning, study, work 9.2.16, 9.2.32, 9.5.5

Industry, links with - see Careers education

Initiative 9.3.29

In-service training 4.5.2, 7.7.2, 7.7.7, 7.9.8, 7.10.21-27, 8.8.5, 8.14.13, 8.14.19, 8.14.25, 9.4.4, 11.5.2, 12.22

Internal truancy 11.2.1, 11.4.2, 11.4.6


Laboratories 8.6.1-11, 8.14.9, 8.14.26

Late developers 9.2.24

Leadership 4.5.8, 6.6.7, 7.7.1-7, 7.10.21-22, 8.8.1-2, 8.8.4, 9.3.-16-18, 9.3.30, 11.4.3, 11.5.2, 12.16

Less able, least able, below average pupils - see also remedial education 1.2.2, 3.3.8, 3.9.6, 3.13.2, 3.16.4-5, 5.3.1, 6.2.4, 6.2.15-17, 6.3.23, 6.4.10-11, 6.4.3, 6.7.12-13, 6.7.15, 7.3.22, 7.3.32, 7.3.38, 7.6.4, 7.6.7, 7.6.11, 7.6.14, 7.10.3-5 (table 7G), 7.10.7, 8.8.5, 8.11.2, 9.2.3, 9.2.12, 9.5.2, 12.6, 12.15

Library 6.2.2-3, 6.2.16, 6.2.18-21, 6.7.6, 9.2.19, 11.5.6, 12.9

Limited grade CSE 6.3.5, 7.3.20, 10.4.5

Linked courses 4.2.2, 9.4.26, 11.5.4, Glossary

Links-academic/pastoral 9.3.7, 9.5.5, 9.5.10

Links with contributory schools 0.3, 3.15.4, 4.5.1, 9.2.4, 9.3.13

Local Education Authorities 4.4.1, 4.6.1, 5.5.1, 7.3.12, 7.10.22, 10.6.2, 12.22


Management of schools 4.5.6-8, 4.7.2, 7.7.4

Marking 6.3.17-22, 6.7.8, 7.7.8-10, 8.10.2, 12.14

Matching demands to pupils' abilities 5.4.2, 8.10.3

Matching of teaching subject and subject of qualification 4.2.8-12, (table 4G)

Mathematics Ch.7, 0.6, 3.5.1, 3.7.4, 6.1.4, 6.3.9, 10.4.4

Metalwork (see Craft) 3.3.3, 3.9.2, 7.8.2

Micro computers/micro-processors 7.5.28, 7.10.20

Middle schools 1.1.1, 3.15.2

Mixed ability groups 3.3.4-5, 3.9.1, 5.4.2, 6.2.4, 6.2.13, 7.7.15-17, 9.2.25, 11.5.5, Glossary

Modes of examining (CSE) 7.3.13-19, Glossary

Moral education, 9.5.4, 12.5

Motivation 3.2.1, 3.13.1, 3.15.1, 6.2.15, 6.4.9, 7.5.23, 7.6.10, 8.12.10

Multi-cultural society 6.2.20, 12.5

Music 3.3.12, 3.5.1, 3.7.7, 3.9.1, 3.11.2. 6.3.9, 8.4.1, 11.5.6, Appx 4


National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) Appx 4

National Statistics Appx 7(iii)

Needlework 3.3.3, 3.11.2, 4.2.11, 6.2.12, 7.8.2, 7.8.6, 7.8.21

Newspapers 6.3.12, 7.5.8, 7.5.17, 7.8.17

Non-teaching duties/periods 4.5, (table 4O), 4.7.2-3, 13.9-10 see Contact Ratio, Glossary

Nuffield Science Ch.8. Annex


Observation by pupils 6.3.6, 8.12.6, 8.13.2

'Operational pupil-teacher ratio' 4.6.3, 4.6.6-7, (table 4Q)

Options 3.2.1, 3.3.1, 3.8 (tables 3J, 3K, 3L) 3.8.1-2, 3.9.10, 3.15.1, 8.2.1, 9.2.6, 12.7. 13.8, 13.11

Oral skills Ch.6, 7.6.4-5


Pace 6.3.11, 6.4.13, 7.3.10, 7.3.12, 8.11.2

Packaged courses 3.9.6-8, 3.16.5, 9.2.5

Parents 3.2.1, 3.6.1 (table 3E) 3.17.1, 6.2.2, 7.3.8, 7.10.17, 9.2.33-34, 9.4.24-25, 10.6.4, 10.9.3, 10.10.1, 11.2.1, 11.3.3, 11.4.6, 12.17

Part-time teachers 4.2.4 (table 4C, 4D) 4.3.4. 4.4.1, 4.4.2, 4.5.6 (table 4O)

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Pastoral care Ch.9.2&3, 4.5.8, 5.1.2, 11.5.3-5

Personal education 3.13.2, 3.17.5, 9.2.9-10

Permissive School 9.3.22

Physical education 3.5.1, 3.7.4, 3.7.8

Physical sciences, physics Ch.8, 3.7.7, 4.2.11-12, (table 4G) 6.3.9, 6.3.11, 6.3.19, 9.2.6

Pilot survey 1.1.2, 2.3.1

Political education 3.17.5, 12.6

Popularity of subjects 3.9.1

Practical subjects 3.3.3, 3.9.4, 4.6.2, 6.2.8

Prediction 8.3.1, 8.4.1, 8.12.20, 8.13.2

Presentation of work 7.7.8, 7.10.16, 11.5.5

Private study 3.7.7, 6.2.6

Probationer teachers 4.2.4, (tables 4C, 4D) 4.3.4, 4.5.6, (table 4O), Glossary

Processing of information 5.6, Appx 2(i)

Profile of pupils' abilities 8.10.1, 8.14.16

Project work 6.3.25, 7.5.9, 8.5.1

Provision 1.2.2, 5.4.2, 5.4.5, 6.5.7, 7.5.9-11, 7.6.1, 7.10.1 (table 7G), 8.11, 9, 2.16, 9.5.3

Pupil teacher ratio 4.4.1-5 (table 4M). 12.2, 12.8, 12.22, Glossary


Readability 6.2.4, 6.2.9, Glossary

Reading Ch.6, 12.5

Records 9.1.5, 9.3.1, 9.3.6, 9.3.12-14, 9.5.10

Regional differences 7.3.33, 10.4.2

Relationships 6.2.1, 6.6.11, 7.10.11, 8.12.28, 9.1.4, 9.2.16, 9.2.21, 9.3.9

Religious education 3.5.1, 3.7.5, (table 3H), 3.9.7, 4.2.11, 4.3.5 (table 4H) 6.3.14, 6.4.5, 6.4.12, 7.8.17, 9.2.9-10

Remedial education 3.3.8-9, 3.9.6, 3.16.5, 4.3.1-4, 4.6.2, 6.2.4, 6.2.15-17, 6.3.23, 6.7.10, 7.6.14, 7.9.4, 11.4.5

Reorganisation 0.1, 2.2.3, 4.5.2, 8.14.27-28, 11.4.4, 11.5.3-6, Appx 2(iii), Appx 3.

Resources 5.4.2, 6.2.2, 6.2.18, 12.22

Response 1.2.2, 5.4.4-5, 6.1.6, 6.5.8-9, 7.6.22-31, 7.10.5-6, 8.12-13, 9.52

Rural science 3.3.9, 7.6.22, 7.8.6, 7.8.23, 8.1.1


Sample of schools Ch.2 (table 2A-2F) 1.1.1

Sampling error 2.8.2-4, Appx 2(ii)

Scale posts 4.2.4 (tables 4C, 4D)

School Council 9.3.29, 11.5.3

Schools Ch. 2

Schools, size of 2.5.1 (table 2E), 3.8.4, 4.4.1, 4.4.4, (table 4M) 4.4.12, 4.5.6-7, 9.3.4, 9.4.9, Appx 3

Schools on split sites 4.4.1, 7.5.6, 8.6.9, 11.4.6, Appx 3

Schools with exceptional social difficulties 4.4.1, 7.6.11

School leaving age 0.1, 9.1.5, 10.1.2, 12.3

School office 9.3.14-15

School performance, determinants of Appx 2(i)

Science Ch. 8

Science for girls 3.12.5, Appx 3

Science in the core curriculum 3.7.7, (table 3J)

Science, language development 6.1.4, 6.2.13, 6.4.3, 6.4.7, 6.6.8

Science, limitations on choice 3.5.2

Science and mathematics 7.8.1-19

Science notes 6.4.5

Science reading 6.2.3

Sciences, separate 3.8.4

Science time 3.16.3

Science understanding 1.2.1, 6.3.14

Science vocabulary 6.6.8

Science written work 6.3.14

Serious learning difficulties 2.2.5 (table 2B), 3.3.4, 3.3.8, 4.4.1, 11.4.1-2, 11.4.5-6, 11.6.3

Setting 3.3.6 (table 3C), 3.16.2, 4.6.5, 7.7.13, Glossary

'Significant' 5.6.3, Appx 2(i)

Sixth forms, sixth form colleges 1.1.1, 2.4.1, 3.8.5, 4.3.8, 4.4.1, 4.5.5, 4.6.5, Appx 3

Social studies 3.5.1

Spelling 6.6.5, 6.6.9

Sport 3.4.1, 9.3.26, Appx 4

Standards of work 5.4.4, 7.2.9, 7.4.1-10, 8.14.21-24

Streaming 3.3.4, 7.7.14, 9.2.3, Glossary

Style of teaching 5.4.2, 6.1.5, 6.3.5, 6.4.5, 6.4.14, 7.3.2, 7.3.9, 7.6.1-21, 7.10.2, 8.8.8, 8.9, 8.14.6, 8.14.14-17, 9.2.15-21, 11.5.2, 12.10

Success in unfavourable circumstances 5.2.1, 11.5.3-6, 11.6.1


Tape recorders 6.12.16-17, 6.6.4

Teachers Ch.4, Appx 3

Teachers' attitudes 6.4.2 6.4.15-16

Teachers of careers 9.4.15-23

Teachers, knowledge of their subject 8.7.2-3, (table 8F) 12.8

Teachers, outside experience 9.4.22

Teachers, qualifications 11.4.3, 12.2, 12.8, 13.13.-15, Appx 1, Appx 3

Teachers, remedial 3.16.5, 7.9.4, 11.4.5

Teachers, teams of 7.10.21, 8.8.8, 8.14.6

Teacher training 7.10.21-27, 8.14.19, See also In-service training

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Teacher turnover 11.4.3-4

Television 6.2.7, 8.12.39

Theft 9.2.19, 11.3.4

Thirteen to eighteen schools 3.8.5, 3.15.4, 9.2.4, Appx 3

Time allowances, time-tables 3.3.3, 3, 5.1, 3.9.1, 5.4.2-3, 12.18

Top management 4.5.6 (table 4O)

Trained graduate 4.2.3 (tables 4A, 4B) 4.2.5 (table 4E) 8.7.4 (table 8E) Glossary

Truancy 11.1.1, 11.2.1, 11.3.3

Types of school 2.21-4, (table 2A) Glossary


Untrained graduate 4.2.3, (tables 4A, 4B) 4.2.5 (table 4E) 8.7.4 (table 8E) Glossary


Vandalism 9.2.19, 9.2.28-29, 11.1.1, 11.2.1, 11.3.5

Violence 9.3.24, 11.2.1, 11.3.2

Vocabulary 6.3.8, 6.4.6, 6.6.6, 6.6.8


Welfare agencies 9.1.4, 9.3.1

Withdrawal 3.3.4, 6.2.15, 9.2.26

Woodwork 3.3.3, 3.9.2

World of work See Careers education

Writing Ch.6, 8.12.19-25, 10.26

Written work 0.5, 5.5.2