The Forgotten Third

Richard Hull, Director, Talk The Talk

On Wednesday 11th September, I had the privilege of being invited to the launch of ASCL’s The Forgotten Third Commission of Inquiry.
‘The Forgotten Third’ – a term coined by the distinguished educationalist Roy Blatchford – are those students who, after 12 years of compulsory education, leave the system without a standard pass in English or Maths.
The report references that they are ‘forgotten’ not only in the sense that they are never the ones pictured jumping for joy in local newspapers, but because their chances of progression are diminished in further study, future careers, and, ultimately, in life.
But this group of young people, over 187,000 in England in 2018, do not ‘fail’ necessarily because a lack of effort, or a lack of support from teachers, or a lack of ‘drive’ on their part. They fail because the system dictates that this failure must happen.
It is built into the way our exam system works…this level of collateral damage of an accepted part of the process for determining the distribution of grades.
Surely this is morally wrong?
Surely when the education profession is bombarded with new directives to support social mobility, resilience, aspiration, character and confidence, they are doing so within a system that will always destroy any good work done in these fields because a third will have to fail?
Do read the report in it’s entirety if you have the chance. It is available in full here.

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