The coalition government announced that it would change the 'floor standard' for primary schools in England with effect from 2014. The target proportion of pupils achieving the expected levels in English and maths would be raised from 60 per cent to 65 per cent.
Source: Speech by David Laws MP (Minister of State for Schools), 5 March 2013
The government began consultation on proposals to exclude from 16–19 performance tables in England any vocational qualification that did not meet new, higher standards from September 2014.
Source: Government Proposals to Reform Vocational Qualifications for 16–19 Year Olds, Department for Education
A new book said that despite the best efforts of reformers and rapidly improving results in academies and elsewhere, even some of the best schools were struggling to help the 'tail' the lowest-achieving 20 or 30 per cent of pupils. Schools, local authorities, and even whole regions were trapped in a 'rut of low ambition and poor performance' and seemed unable to address the problem. Contributors to the book proposed a range of 'practical and achievable solutions'.
Source: Paul Marshall (ed.), The Tail: How England's schools fail one child in five and what can be done, Profile Books
A report said that big variations in the ranking of England's education system in global 'league tables' could be misleading and should be treated with caution, because of apparent inconsistencies in coverage and methodology.
Source: Alan Smithers, Confusion in the Ranks: How good are Englands schools?, Sutton Trust
An article said that England's drop in the cross-national Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) ranking was not replicated in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), and that this contrast might be due to data limitations in both surveys. The coalition government should not therefore base educational policies on the assumption that the performance of England's secondary school pupils had declined over the previous decade.
Source: John Jerrim, 'The reliability of trends over time in international education test scores: is the performance of England's secondary school pupils really in relative decline?', Journal of Social Policy, Volume 42 Issue 2
The inspectorate for education services announced a series of targeted school inspections, within a condensed one-week period, in geographical areas where the proportion of children attending a good or better school was significantly below the national average for England. It also proposed a new framework for inspecting the school improvement service being provided by under-performing local authorities.
Source: Press release 17 January 2013, Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills