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Educating the ‘failing’ 40%: a new report by the OPSN

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This week the Open Public Services Network (OPSN), supported by ZPB, published a report that sheds new light on post-16 education data at a regional and local authority level in the UK. By analysing the National Pupil Database, the OPSN sought to understand how qualification entries and completion vary by institution and local area.

Key findings illustrate that:

  • Key Stage 5 options for students not achieving A*- C grades at GCSE vary considerably.
  • In most parts of the country, vocational education is provided only for those students who do poorly at GCSE, resulting in a notion of failure attached to studying vocational qualifications.
  • It is very hard to disentangle the degree to which institutional arrangements reflect population needs or determine what a population gets – but there are some clues.

This report is centred on valuing different educational pathways equally and offering students meaningful choice, based on talent and aptitude, not on assumptions of ‘better’ or ‘worse’ institutions or subject choices.