'Championing the rights of children'

Ofsted chief: stream pupils by ability at the age of 14

Garry Tue 18 Nov 2014 17:52

Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector, says that pupils should transfer between schools at the age of 14 depending on their academic ability or aptitude for practical skills.

Schoolchildren should be streamed at the age of 14 as part of a “fundamental shift” in the education system, according to the head of Ofsted.

Pupils should transfer between schools before sitting their GCSEs depending on their aptitude for an academic or vocational education, said Sir Michael Wilshaw.

In a major speech, he suggested that a new form of streaming should be introduced half-way through secondary education to give pupils access to specialist teaching and properly prepare them for the world of work.

The move is likely to draw parallels to the post-war education system in which pupils were split between grammar schools, secondary moderns and technical schools.

But Sir Michael insisted his recommendation “isn’t about selection” but is focused on “maximum opportunity at 14”.

He said that schools should form into local “clusters” centred around a top-performing school or college, with at least one institution specialising in advanced vocational qualifications. A new wave of University Technical Colleges (UTCs) has already been set up to teach children a trade from the age of 14.

Pupils could then “transfer across institutions in the cluster to provide a route to high-level academic or vocational study”.

Read more... (Daily Telegraph - 18 November)