Schools are 'more than just data and results' say North Somerset heads

PUBLISHED: 09:00 24 October 2016

Archant

Half of North Somerset's schools' results are below the national average, according to new provisional performance tables.

The Department of Education (DoE) released this year’s performance table for key stage 4 (KS4) last week.

The new Progress 8 and Attainment 8 measurements were introduced by the DoE this year as a new way for schools to measure student progress.

Previously, schools would be judged based on the percentage of students achieving five A* to C grades including English and maths.

However, the new scheme focuses on each individual student’s progress from the time they enter KS4 to the time they leave.

The Progress 8 national average – which is set after the country’s results have been confirmed – is set at zero. Schools with a number higher than zero are better than the national average.

Tony Searle, principal of Hans Price Academy in Weston-super-Mare, told the Mercury: “Looking at the progress students make over their time with a school is widely regarded as a better indication of the impact that school has had.”

Kings of Wessex Academy in Cheddar and Priory Community School in Worle were above the national average.

The Kings of Wessex Academy executive headteacher, Chris Richardson, praised the work of the staff and students for their hardwork.

He added: “We are immensely proud the school has been placed in the top 10% of schools across the country for the progress that students are making at key stage 4.”

Some schools were just below average despite good results.

Denise Hurr, headteacher at King Alfred School said: “Results in English and maths remained static this year which, under the new Government measure of Progress 8 and the double counting of these subjects, caused our place in the performance tables to dip.”

However, North Somerset headteachers say results are not the only measure.

Churchill Academy head Chris Hildrew told the Mercury the tables only represent a ‘very specific aspects of student performance’.

He added: “Pastoral care, extra-curricular provision, good citizenship and preparation for life beyond school are much harder to quantify to an accuracy of two decimal places.”

Schools are called to focus on target grades which are suitable for individual students.

Neville Coles, executive principal of the Priory Learning Trust, said: “Great schools are more than just data and results.

“Attitude, character, kindness, ambition, aspiration, community and charity work are all vitally important.”

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