Westminster Education Forum

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Next steps for the 11-16 curriculum and assessment at 16 in England

priorities for the Government | building on KS2 knowledge | aligning KS3 & KS4 | future of GCSEs | English & maths provision | digital assessment & learning | life skills | monitoring progress & attainment

Afternoon, Monday, 15th July 2024


This conference focuses on the future of the 11-16 curriculum in England’s secondary schools.

It will be an opportunity to examine key issues for secondary education in England being considered in a major review, underway for the OCR by the former Labour Secretary of State for Education and Skills, Rt Hon Charles Clarke, who we are pleased is a keynote speaker.

It will be a timely opportunity for delegates to discuss priorities for policy in the new parliament, with the Government having signalled the aim of developing a broader and richer curriculum and a full review.

Bringing together stakeholders and policymakers, areas for discussion at this conference include English and maths provision, GCSE assessment, and digital assessment and learning. Delegates will discuss the efficacy of the KS3 curriculum in building upon KS2 and preparing students for KS4, as well as how schools can maintain a broad and balanced curriculum.

The conference also follows the House of Lords Education for 11-16 Year Olds Committee raising concerns over the effectiveness of the curriculum, recommending that it be revised with a greater emphasis on technical, digital and creative areas of study.

We are also pleased to be able to include keynote sessions with: Simon Connell, CEO, Baker Dearing Educational Trust; and Tom Richmond, Founder and Director, EDSK.

Areas for discussion include:

  • inclusion of life skills such as financial and media literacy, oracy, and digital skills within the curriculum - how to prepare learners for adulthood, as well as further study
  • approaches to broadening the curriculum - allocating sufficient time and resources to technical and creative pursuits to avoid a focus on subjects which make up the English Baccalaureate (EBacc)
  • alternative options for monitoring school progress and attainment - the impact that the EBacc has on the curriculum and its place in current Ofsted inspections
  • the efficacy of GCSEs and the KS4 curriculum in preparing learners for further education - priorities for increasing first-time pass rates in English and maths
  • strategies for identifying students at risk of falling behind - planning interventions to boost attainment - support for disadvantaged students and students with SEND
  • latest thinking on the existing assessment burden for students and staff from GCSEs
  • high stakes assessment within the 11-16 curriculum - alternative options, including the consultation on streamlining assessment at GCSE stage as part of the Advanced British Standard
  • the way forward for on-screen and digital assessment - student access to technology, with the Government currently working with Ofsted to consider a way forward
  • policy options, with the Labour Party proposing a curriculum and assessment review

The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from DfE; CMA; Ofcom; DSIT; IPO; HMPPS; Defra; RAF; and Department of Education, NI.

The proceedings of the conference will be circulated more widely, to Parliamentarians, ministerial offices, and government and regulatory officials with an interest in the issues being discussed. All delegates will also receive a video recording of the conference.

Keynote Speakers

Rt Hon Charles Clarke

former Secretary of State for Education and Skills (2002 - 2004)

Simon Connell

CEO, Baker Dearing Educational Trust

Tom Richmond

Founder and Director, EDSK

Keynote Speakers

Rt Hon Charles Clarke

former Secretary of State for Education and Skills (2002 - 2004)

Simon Connell

CEO, Baker Dearing Educational Trust

Tom Richmond

Founder and Director, EDSK


Tori Rudd

Teacher, Computing, Springfield School, Portsmouth; and Secondary Lead, Portsmouth Education Partnership

Professor Mary Bousted

Honorary Professor, UCL Institute of Education; Fellow, Chartered College of Teaching; and former Joint General Secretary, NEU (2017 - 2023)

Leon Ward

Chief Executive Officer, MyBnk

Andy Sprakes

Co-Founder and Executive Principal, XP School, South Yorkshire

John Asthana Gibson

Researcher, Social Market Foundation

Hayley White

Vice President, Assessment, Standards and Services, Pearson

Sonja Nunneley

Deputy Headteacher, Fearnhill School, Hertfordshire

Caroline Barlow

Headteacher, Heathfield Community College, East Sussex

Annamarie Hassall

Chief Executive, Nasen

Frank Norris

Education and Skills Advisor, Northern Powerhouse Partnership

Alex Galvin

Senior Education Lead, The Schools, Students and Teachers Network

Dennis Sherwood

Author, Missing the Mark: Why So Many School Exam Grades are Wrong - and How to Get Results We Can Trust