Heads question the value of ranking tables

Banovallum School
Banovallum School

Headteachers at secondary schools have questioned the value of the Department for Education’s ranking tables after the latest statistics were released.

The DfE’s league table shows that 46 per cent of GCSE pupils at Banovallum School in 2013 achieved five A* to C grades including English and Maths.

The figure for 2013 is a 23 per cent drop from 2012.

Just over half of pupils at the school are making ‘expected progress’ in English and Maths.

The DfE describes ‘expected progress’ as moving from one Key Stage level to another every two years.

Banovallum headteacher Nicki Shore said: “As I stated last year, when our position in the tables was considerably stronger, the ranking of schools in this way can be deceiving and is of limited value.

“Every year group is different and behind the statistics are the young people’s successes, ambitions and wider achievements.

“In addition, particularly in Lincolnshire, where we have selection, comparing in this way is not particularly meaningful.”

Paul MacLeod, headteacher at Gartree Community School, Tattershall shared Ms Shore’s comments.

The Gartree Community School, Tattershall, also saw a drop in the number of pupils achieving five A*-C grades from 45 per cent to 37 per cent.

This drop occurred whilst the school was in special measures imposed by Ofsted.

Mr MacLeod said: “We have worked hard over the last two years to create the best possible working conditions for staff and students and they have responded brilliantly to achieve these results whilst working in very difficult circumstances.

“There were some real success stories and great individual results, we’re very proud of our students.

“Both students and staff are to be commended for their hard work.

“However, the tables do not reflect other successes such as students benefiting from an increasingly broad range of opportunities through our partnerships.

“For instance, 12 pupils achieved their full ‘Hair and Beauty’, ‘Engineering’ and ‘Sport’ Diploma qualifications alongside traditional academic courses.

“Much of this was made possible through the close relationships that have now developed between school, home and the community, in providing the best possible outcomes for students.”

Ms Shore added: “From a numbers point of view, when your cohort is relatively small, one or two students falling foul of exam boundary shifts can have a huge impact.

“There’s no complacency though; the drive for excellence is a determined one at Banovallum.

“Students are responding well to the high expectation and the support and care of our dedicated staff.

“I can’t deny feeling disappointed at seeing our position this year when it doesn’t tell the whole story or indeed reflect the shifting sands of GCSE.

“However, we move forward with great confidence that every year group now passing through the school is on track to achieve and every individual will have cause for celebration.”

Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School saw 95 per cent of pupils achieving five A*-C grades including English and Maths.

The national average of all schools in England for pupils achieving five A*-C grades including English and Maths is 59.2 per cent - and the average for Lincolnshire is 61.8 per cent.

Headteacher Heather Payne said: “Once again we can all be very proud of the super results our students at QEGS achieve.

“They work hard which, along with the excellent support they receive at home and school, allows them to do so well.”