Do college performance tables show a ‘narrow view’ of pupils’ performance?

PUBLISHED: 07:00 06 February 2017

The Department for Education release the 16-18 performance tables. Picture credit: © Royalty-Free/Corbis

The Department for Education release the 16-18 performance tables. Picture credit: © Royalty-Free/Corbis

© Corbis. All Rights Reserved.

North Somerset headteachers have criticised the Department for Education’s 16-18 performance tables for presenting colleges as ‘exam factories’.

Colleges are now rated on progress scores, which rate how much improvement students have made between their GCSEs and A-levels.

Under this system, zero means a college is ‘average’. Anything above zero is better than average, and anything beneath that mark is considered below average.

Traditional core subjects, such as English, maths and science, are given more weight than vocational subjects.

At Weston College, where just one per cent of students study purely the core subjects, the tables suggest students are making less progress than in other places.

However, North Somerset’s headteachers say the ranking methods fails to reflect students’ achievements.

Sidcot School headteacher Iain Kilpatrick said it offers a ‘narrow view’ of a school’s performance, while Weston College principal Dr Paul Phillips said: “The 16-18 performance tables do not understandably lend themselves to further education colleges where students often mix an A-level with a vocational subject.

“We can see the tables probably do serve a purpose for schools but for us it is the level of achievement, the level of progress and the subsequent progression to higher education and employment that make our role worthwhile in producing well-rounded individuals.”

Mr Kilpatrick said his school encourages personal development in students.

He added: “We are not an exam factory, hothousing children to perform through pressure and rote learning.”

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