Headteachers slam ‘bamboozling’ performance tables

PUBLISHED: 16:00 15 February 2019

GCSE Exam Results:  Priory Community School. Nancy Smith, Melissa Garfield and Lauren Sinclair.

GCSE Exam Results: Priory Community School. Nancy Smith, Melissa Garfield and Lauren Sinclair.

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More than half of the secondary schools within the Mercury’s area are not hitting the national average of the ‘bamboozling’ progress 8 measure.

Weston and Somerset's secondary school performance tables.Weston and Somerset's secondary school performance tables.

Hans Price Academy, along with Churchill Academy & Sixth Form and Kings Of Wessex Academy, all performed well in the Department for Education’s secondary school performance tables.

The table pits school head-to-head and measures them against their progress 8 score.

The measure, which concentrates on the development made by pupils between the end of primary school to the end of secondary school, has sparked controversy among education leaders.

Worle’s Priory Learning Trust executive headteacher, Neville Coles, said: “I do not see much value in league tables. I view them as statistically dubious.

“This progress 8 measure is OK, it is interesting how they put it together.

“I just don’t think it is very helpful at all for parents to just look at league tables; they need to come in and look around the school and the site.”

The King Alfred School, An Academy (TKASA) was at the foot of the table according to progress 8 but the Highbridge academy, which has recently joined the Priory Learning Trust, had in fact seen ‘excellent improvements’ over the past year.

A TKASA spokesman said: “The new progress 8 measure is a bamboozling concept.

The score for TKASA this year is far better than last year. In fact, on progress 8 King Alfred is the most improved academy in Somerset moving from more than -1 to -0.47. This is really strong progress in one year.”

The DfE has also scrapped its alphabetical scoring measure and now brought in numerical grades across all subjects with 9 being the best result and 1 being the worst.

Kings Of Wessex headteacher Gavin Ball is ‘delighted’ with the Cheddar school’s place at the top of the Somerset table – but joined his fellow learning leaders to voice his concerns.

He said: “Kings is, of course, much more than an exam factory, in that we seek to provide an exciting learning environment where students know they are loved and cared for and encouraged in and beyond the classroom.”

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