I wonder if you noticed that, last week, the DfE released the secondary school league tables. As a parent myself I know that many parents will look at the information in these tables with some bewilderment; and I don’t blame them!
The main measure that schools are judged upon is called Progress 8. This means that every child receives points for each of the 8 subjects that count in the measure. However, English and Maths count twice, so basically it's Progress 10. Oh, and some subjects don’t count in the measurement, no matter how well children attain in them. So if a child takes, for example, Law, Business Studies, Drama and Art, only 3 of those will count. And if a child doesn’t fill the EBACC ‘bucket’ and take 3 subjects from Science, Computer Science, History, Geography or a Language, then they will receive a 0 mark for the empty subject! Don’t forget, this performance measure only came in after last year’s Year 11 took their options, so some would not have taken the 8 counting subjects as the measure had not been invented when they started their courses!
Given all the above, students at Cowplain performed well and the Progress 8 score for the school was in line with that for schools nationally. The bigger point is, how can parents realistically use a technical measure like Progress 8 to judge their child’s school? Like you, I judge a school’s performance on a number of factors. Good results are vital, and our students get those, but we should look at the results for each individual student, not lump them in together and come to a very simplistic conclusion. I also look at the ‘softer’ performance measures; is my child happy, what relationships have they formed, are they being challenged to do their best?
Ultimately, I invite any parent to come and visit us at Cowplain, walk round, and get a feel for the school. Only then do you really get a feel for the values and ethos of our school and the fantastic opportunities we offer in a school where every child is known and is challenged to ‘work hard, achieve highly and enjoy learning.’