Education for 11–16 Year Olds Committee
Requires improvement: urgent change for 11–16 education

Report of Session 2023-24 - published 12 December 2023 - HL Paper 17



Conclusions and recommendations

Chapter 1: Introduction

The inquiry and the work of the Committee

Table 1: Overview of key stages 3 and 4

Key themes and areas of focus

Reforms to 11–16 education since 2010

Considerations on further reform

Chapter 2: The 11–16 curriculum

The national curriculum and academies

The national curriculum

Table 2: The national curriculum

Academisation of secondary schools

Academies and curriculum flexibility

Squeezing key stage 3

A “common entitlement”

An “overloaded” curriculum

Literacy, numeracy and oracy

Literacy and numeracy in the 11–16 curriculum

The pass boundary

Box 1: GCSE grading system

The “forgotten third”

Functional skills qualifications

Proposals for new qualifications


Digital skills

Digital skills in the 11–16 curriculum

Take-up of digital qualifications at key stage 4

Figure 1: GCSE entries in ICT and computer science (England only)

GCSE in applied computing

Digital literacy qualification

Climate and sustainability education


Creative and artistic subjects

Access to creative subjects

Figure 2: GCSE entries in creative subjects (England only)

Government activity

Technical and vocational education

The value of technical and vocational learning opportunities

Declining take-up of technical qualifications

Figure 3: GCSE entries in technical subjects (England only)

Potential solutions

Careers education and employer engagement

Chapter 3: Assessment


The high-stakes nature of key stage 4 assessment

Proposals for reform

Non-exam assessment

Coursework and controlled assessment

Calls for more varied assessment methods

Figure 4: Teacher survey: “Would you like there to be an assessed coursework component at GCSE?”

Non-exam assessment and reliability

Figure 5: Percentage of GCSE grades awarded in all subjects (England only)

The Higher Project Qualification

On-screen assessment

Benefits and barriers

Adaptive testing

Box 2: The introduction of ‘personalised assessments’ in Wales

Grading and marking

GCSE grade boundaries

Grade reliability

Chapter 4: School performance measures


Key stage 3 and 4 performance measures

Box 3: Types of accountability measure

The English Baccalaureate

Figure 6: The EBacc subject combination

The national ambition for EBacc entry

Figure 7: Percentage of pupils entering for the EBacc in state-funded schools

Impact on subject take-up

The EBacc and social mobility

The “university route”

Box 4: Facilitating subjects

Progress 8

Progress 8 and Attainment 8

Figure 8: Attainment 8 and Progress 8 subject ‘buckets’

Strengths and weaknesses

Adjustments or alternatives

Other key stage 4 accountability measures

Pupil destinations measure

Appendix 1: List of Members and declarations of interest

Appendix 2: List of witnesses

Appendix 3: Call for evidence

Evidence is published online at and available for inspection at the Parliamentary Archives (020 7219 3074).

Q in footnotes refers to a question in oral evidence

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