Year 7 students left unprepared as primaries ‘marginalise’ science and languages

Students are not being prepared for science and language study at secondary schools because the subjects are being marginalised at primary level, England’s chief inspector has warned.

The overarching focus on the “3Rs” at primary school – reading, writing and mathematics – has led to a steady rise in outcomes for pupils at key stage 2, Sir Michael Wilshaw says.

However, this has also “pushed other compulsory subjects to the margins of the curriculum in many primary schools”.

In his latest monthly commentary, Sir Michael warns that a result of this is that pupils are arriving in year 7 unprepared for “the rigours of key stage 3”.

He says that this could be undermining the government’s focus on the core academic curriculum via its English Baccalaureate policy.

He writes: “This is a concern because the government has said that it wants the vast majority of pupils who started secondary school last September to take the full suite of EBacc subjects, including science and a foreign language, when they come to sit their GCSE examinations in 2020.”

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