GCSE league tables 2016: How did your school get on?
Archant Norfolk 2016
Just three schools in Norfolk and Suffolk are deemed to be under-performing by the government, in revised GCSE league tables which saw both counties rank in the top half of the country.
The Department for Education (DfE) tables, released on Thursday, show the revised results from last summer’s GCSEs, taking into account exam appeals since the provisional results were first published in October.
They mark the first time the DfE has replaced the traditional A* to C scoring method with Progress 8 – a new tool which measures pupils’ progress from primary to secondary school.
With a country-wide Progress 8 score of -0.03, Norfolk and Suffolk’s respective 0.01 and 0.02 sit above the national average, putting Norfolk 59th out of 151 local education authorities and Suffolk in 55th place.
Just three schools fell under the government’s definition of under- performing, a Progress 8 score of below -0.5: City Academy Norwich (CAN), on -0.51; Norwich’s Hewett Academy, on -0.55; and Ormiston Denes Academy, in Lowestoft, on -0.67.
A handful of other schools narrowly avoided dipping below the standard, including Downham Market Academy, on -0.47, and King’s Lynn Academy, on -0.49.
Glyn Hambling, chairman of Norfolk Secondary Education Leaders, thanked staff working in the county’s schools and congratulated all pupils on their achievements.
“Today’s figures demonstrate that pupils in Norfolk on average made more progress than their peers nationally but we recognise that these improvements need to continue across all progress and attainment measures,” he said.
He said their work was set to a backdrop of “real terms funding cuts, increasing pressure on local services that has a knock-on effect on schools and educational reforms”.
Two schools also fall into the government’s new ‘coasting’ category, which, taking exam results from three consecutive years, signals when outside intervention may be required.
Both CAN and King’s Lynn Academy’s exam results met the criteria for 2014 and 2015, and –with Progress 8 scores lower than -0.25 – both also met this year’s yardstick.
Any decisions over their future would be made by regional schools commissioner Tim Coulson.
High-performers in the region include Wymondham College, on 0.53, Hethersett Academy, 0.68, Reepham High School, 0.41, and Sheringham High School, 0.39.
Elsewhere, Wisbech’s Thomas Clarkson Academy was one of the three schools judged to be under- performing in Cambridgeshire after scoring -0.57.
The county’s overall score was 0.11
Norfolk’s confirmed results pleased County Hall, with Roger Smith, chairman of Norfolk County Council’s children’s services committee, describing it as “welcome news”.
“I know how hard schools across Norfolk are working to make real improvements, so it is welcome news that in most Norfolk schools pupils are making good progress,” he said.
What happens next for CAN?
Questions over the future of CAN will once again be asked today after the results con-firmed it to be ‘coasting’.
The government announced the category in 2015, which is based on exam results over three consecutive years and indicates when intervention may be required.
This year’s criterion was a Progress 8 score of lower than -0.25.CAN’s result of -0.51 – classed as “well below national average” – puts it firmly in that category.
Any decisions on the school’s future would be made by regional schools commissioner
(RSC) Tim Coulson, who has previously sent warning letters to the school about standards.
It is currently sponsored by the TEN Group, which yester-day said it “remains focused on supporting CAN” to see it become “the very best school it can be for our students and our community”.
They said the group would work with the RSC and DfE on the implementation of “our agreed Improvement Plan” for the academy.
The academy replaced Earlham High School in 2009.
Mixed bag for Inspiration Trust
For the Inspiration Trust, the revised results marked a mixed bag – the trust runs both the Hewett Academy and Hethersett Academy, which, with a score of 0.68, was the highest performer in the region.
Spokesman James Goffin admitted the Hewett’s results were “disappointing”, but said they needed to be viewed in context.
“It is important to remem-ber that they reflect the outcomes for children starting there in 2011, four years before it became an academy,” he said.
“On the ground today it is already clear how much better things are but that can take time to show in results and performance tables.”
He said the success of Hethersett Academy, which fell into the “well above national average” category, was one which he hoped would be replicated for the Hewett.
“It joined the trust in special measures but today’s figures put it top for student progress not just in Norfolk but in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire as well,” he said.
“It has been rated outstand-ing by Ofsted and as a teaching school will be spreading its success with other local schools.”
The trust was also celebrat-ing Lowestoft’s East Point Academy, the only high school in the town with a positive progress score at GCSE level.
New measure causes confusion
The annual columns of data have this year been confused further by the introduction of the Progress 8 measure.
A national poll claims just 1pc of parents fully under-stand the new measure, which tracks how well pupils progress from the end of primary school to the end of secondary, compared to pupils with a similar attainment at primary.
Scores generally fall between -1 and 1, with 0 considered to be average – though this year’s actual national average sits at -0.03.
It is calculated using yet another new measure – Attainment 8, which, in essence, turns GCSE grades into points. The Progress 8 score is the difference between a pupil’s forecast Attainment 8 score, and their actual one.
It has generally been welcomed as a fairer system, removing the C/D borderline and allowing schools to focus on all pupils.
But it has attracted criticism for compar-ing pupil performance nationally, rather than matching schools with similar cohorts.