The number of state secondary schools underperforming has risen from 154 to 330 according to DfE figures, following changes in exam rules and league tables.
School performance data based on exam results from last summer show that on average 56.6% of pupils in state schools achieved five good GCSEs, down from 60.6% in 2013, the BBC reports.
The dip comes in the wake of government changes to make exams more rigorous; now only a pupil’s first attempt at a GCSE is included in the league tables and the list of qualifications has been restricted to those that the government thinks are of the highest academic quality.
ASCL has warned against judging schools on one set of exam results. “It is not possible to use this year’s performance tables to make accurate comparisons with previous years. Too much has changed in the way the tables are calculated. Both the Department of Education and Ofsted have confirmed this,” said general secretary Brian Lightman. “It is comparing apples and pears..”
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said: “By stripping out thousands of poor quality qualifications and removing re-sits from league tables, some schools have seen changes in their standings. But fundamentally young people’s achievement matters more than being able to trumpet ever higher grades.”
Top private schools including Eton, Harrow and Cheltenham Ladies’ College have ended up at the bottom of the league tables because pupils are entered for IGCSEs, which have been dropped from the tables. This made the tables a “nonsense”, according Richard Harman, chair of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference. “Several of the UK’s most highly performing independent schools and others offering this excellent qualification will now appear to be bottom of the class in the government’s rankings,” he said. “This obviously absurd situation creates further confusion for parents as they cannot compare schools’ performance accurately and transparently.”
Meanwhile, Wales has introduced a new colour-coded system for rating schools, with the best performing schools rated green and those that need the most improvement rated red. Out of 1,332 primary schools assessed, 206 were judged green and 58 as red.
How has your school performed in the latest league tables? Do you agree with the changes to the tables or are they now “irrelevant”? Share your views with the Eteach community!