Schoolzone blog: Which subjects do best by PP pupils?

Which subjects do best by PP pupils?
 
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02 March 2015


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We all want to do well by our disadvantaged pupils, and schools are increasingly being asked to show that they have supported these children to achieve greater success. So we wondered whether last year's performance data showed any differences between subjects: do any show better achievement among disadvantaged pupils that others?

Schoolzone's Educational Intelligence service charted A*-C pass rates against the % of pupils in receipt of PP funding. As expected, across all subjects, the higher the PP% , the lower the performance. Some subjects though showed very little correlation, such as RE, media, ICT and social science: this is not to say that they do poorly, just that the match between performance and %PP is too variable to plot reliably.

The subject which achieves most success with PP children is science, followed by maths, English and history, which are very similar to each other. Meanwhile, subjects performing less well in this context are: Geography, D&T, Business, and Sport & PE.

In simple terms, the steeper the gradient of the line, the less well each subject does by its PP pupils. Subjects in individual schools whose plot on a chart such as this lie above the line are doing better than average. The lines all intercept at 80 - 85%.

In descending order the performance by subject is:

Science 0.3645
Maths 0.4493
English 0.4864
History 0.5157
Geography 0.7312
D&T 0.8274
Business 0.8362
Sport and PE 0.8514

 

What does this mean?

For one thing, it suggests that the focus on the core subjects is paying off, though its surprising that science is at the top of this table, given the increased emphasis placed on the other two subjects in schools these days.

The gap between history and geography is also worth noting - generally, history is seen as being the more difficult humanities subject, but it may be worth reconsidering the options advice given to PP pupils in order to maximise their chances of success - though of course there are a great many local factors at play here too.

Note that Sport and PE GCSEs are often taken by lower attaining pupils and this probably accounts for the low performance of this subject and the relatively strong correlation of the data.

 

Other subjects

In these subjects the correlation is too low for the values to be significant, but we include them here to satisfy readers' curiosity:

Home Economics 0.8924
Art & Design 0.6489
Music 1.4733
Languages 0.4472
Performing Arts 0.7195
RE 0.5021
Media 0.5376
ICT 0.4762
Social Science 0.0684

 

Educational Intelligence

If you'd like to know more about Educational Intelligence and what it can tell you about schools - or your school in particular, please contact philip@schoolzone.co.uk or 01242 262906.

 

 

 

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