State of Education Report 2017 state-of-education-booklet-Final-WEB - Page 18

How do school leaders think the curriculum has fared over the last two years? We asked school leaders to consider some of the biggest changes and challenges over the past two years and whether they had had a positive or negative impact, or neither, on the curriculum. All phases There is widespread feeling that budget pressures are negatively affecting the curriculum in both primary and secondary schools, with more than eight in 10 (83%) leaders believing this to be the case. A lack of funding is hitting the secondary curriculum hardest, with nine in 10 (91%) secondary school leaders indicating that this challenge is having a negative effect here. Primary Overall, we see a primary school system that is struggling to fund the curriculum sufficiently, and to fund and retain the staff to teach it, yet being held to higher account for how pupils perform against it. While one-quarter (24%) of primary leaders think that the introduction of the new primary curriculum has been positive, more than four in 10 (44%) say it has had a negative impact and just over a quarter (27%) say it has made no difference. Negative feeling about the new primary performance measures is more prevalent. Six in 10 (61%) primary leaders believe this change is having a detrimental impact on their curriculum; two in 10 (21%) say it is making no difference. Teacher recruitment and retention challenges are negatively affecting the curriculum in more than four in 10 (44%) primary schools but making no difference to it in a similar proportion (40%). Secondary In secondary schools, more than two-thirds (67%) of school leaders think that reforms to GCSEs have detrimentally affected the curriculum, and the impact of teacher recruitment and retention challenges is once again a worry for more than six in 10 (63%) leaders. This is to be expected, since the latest initial teacher training statistics show that, in some core EBacc subjects, too few teachers are entering the profession in the secondary phase. Recruitment of modern foreign language teachers, for instance, has missed the teacher supply model targets 20 for five of the past seven years, with figures hovering between 83% and 95% of the target since 2013/14. Teacher retention problems might well be explained by the increased workload burden that school leaders report their teachers are facing as a result of curriculum and performance measure changes. Nine in 10 school leaders overall believe that teacher workload has been negatively affected by these changes, with primary and secondary leaders in agreement (90% and 91% respectively). STATE OF EDUCATION 2017 | WWW.STATEOFED.THEKEYSUPPORT.COM PAGE 18