Literacy key to Science attainment – Friday 22 September 2017

Evidence of the link between literacy skills and science attainment, two new reports highlighting concerns around young peoples mental health and news of a parliamentary inquiry into Pupil Referral Units make up this week’s Friday Update.

New research pinpoints literacy as strongest indicator of science grades 
Good literacy skills are crucial to closing the attainment gap in science subjects according to a report published yesterday by the Education Endowment Foundation. The University of Oxford researchers behind the report concluded that the strongest factor affecting pupils’ science scores is how well they understand written texts.

According to the report, poor literacy skills can affect how well a pupil is able to understand scientific vocabulary and to prepare scientific reports. This suggests that strategies to boost disadvantaged pupils’ reading comprehension could have a positive impact on their achievement in science too.

Young people’s mental health highlighted in two powerful new reports
Research from the UCL Institute of Education and the University of Liverpool on Wednesday found almost one quarter of girls (24%) and one in 10 boys (9%) are depressed at age 14.

The research was also highlighted by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families which published a survey of primary school teachers in England as part of its You’re never too young to talk mental health campaign, which found that many teachers do not feel adequately trained to support children with mental health problems.

Parliamentary investigation into ‘Additional Provision’
The House of Commons Education Committee has launched a new inquiry looking at Alternative Provision, and whether young people in Pupil Referral Units and others types of alternative provision receive the best quality of education.

In launching the inquiry, the Committee’s Chair, Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP commented that “Students in alternative provision are far less likely to achieve good exam results, find well-paid jobs or go on to further study. Only around 1% of young people in state alternative provision receive five good GCSEs.”

The Committee, which includes Gateshead MP Ian Mearns among its 11 members, has issued a public call for evidence for the inquiry which is examining:

  • Routes into alternative provision
  • The quality of teaching in alternative provision (including pupil referral units)
  • Educational outcomes and destinations of students;Safety, accommodation, and provision of resources for students
  • In-school alternatives to external alternative provision;Regulation of independent providers

More information on the inquiry is available on the Committee’s website.