Report shows CoPE boosts pupils' GCSE success

A study from the University of the West of England of more than half a million pupils has found that young people who passed CoPE raised their chances of achieving A* to C grades in GCSE English by 10% and achieving five A* to C grades including English and maths by 5%. The impact was most significant on those in less privileged educational groups.

CoPE was found to particularly benefit pupils who had low attainment in English at age 14, almost doubling the pass rate by age 16, with an estimated 21% gaining A* to C compared to only 11.5% of other pupils; in particular, young people from Black and Minority Ethnic communities with low KS3 attainment in English showed a remarkable 30 percentage point increase in their English GCSE results; SEN pupils improved their results by 10 percentage points and those eligible for free school meals actually outperformed their peers from more affluent households when also undertaking CoPE.

The research, led by Neil Harrison, with Professor David James and Kathryn Last of the Bristol Centre for Research in Lifelong Learning and Education (BRILLE) at the University of the West of England (UWE) was based on analysis of data from the National Pupil Database comprising more than 500,000 pupils who completed GCSEs in 2010, and included case studies from schools currently offering the CoPE qualification. It compared achievements of pupils that undertook CoPE with those that did not, taking their background circumstances into account.

Further analysis

Latest analysis of the research evidence is undergoing academic peer review and could be subject to some changes. It aims to improve the original analysis by adding further context, baseline mathematics attainment data and by extending the “paired pupil” comparison. Overall this further work has upgraded and increased the rigour (and so the reliability) of the analysis; one can be more confident in the results.

Ofsted report: Unseen Children

Over the past year Ofsted has undertaken a review in order to understand the current pattern of disadvantage and educational success across England, to learn the lessons of recent policy initiatives, and to come forward with proposals that would really make a difference.

This report lays out some of the main evidence that informed the review. It draws on test and examination data, inspection outcomes, and published reports and research.