Science and languages are not being taught to a high enough standard in primary schools, a report from Ofsted asserts. This has been observed at Key Stage 2 and has resulted in students entering secondary school unprepared for the broad subject spectrum and quantitative challenges that GCSE’s present.

Whilst basic knowledge and skills, which encompass reading, writing and numeracy are improving at a steady rate at the end of Key Stage 2, this improvement has led other areas of student development to suffer.

The head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw has collected evidence which seems to depict the science and languages sectors as supplementary to the more globally recognised maths and English sectors. Whilst all are considered core subjects, only 74% of pupils studied science at GCSE level and under half studied a modern language.

According to the HMI (Her Majesty’s Inspectors),

“In around two thirds of the primary schools visited by HMI, pupils spent less than 1 hour per week learning a foreign language”

Parents have also reported that modern languages are only given ‘token’ attention.

The HMI also found that children couldn’t remember their last science lesson, as there is usually only 1 or 2 hours per week dedicated to teaching science in an ‘already tight curriculum’ according to many school leaders.

The Chief Inspector of Schools in England believes that schools will need to focus more on science and languages if they are to complete their plans to have all students complete the ‘full suite of English Baccalaureate (EBacc) subjects’ by 2020, following plans to change all council controlled schools into academies.

Modern languages are important in schools for the development of children’s mental health. The positive effects of having the ability to switch codes have been widely studied and yielded many results pertaining to its usefulness in halting aphasias, notably dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease. The importances of science in schools are numerous, opening doors for students in so many areas.

The focus on maths and English appears to have been necessitated by schools looking to compete on a global scale, as this is the most salient form of pedagogical assessment. Asian countries, in particular South Korea employ rigorous testing procedures centred around writing, reading and maths and because of this, are sat at the top of the world education rankings in these areas.

Read more at:

Sir Michael Wilshaw summary

Ofsted Report

BBC Report