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Friday, 26 January 2018 12:46

Kent GCSE Results Final Outcomes 2017

Medway Outcomes here

This is the second year of the new GCSE assessments for measuring schools performance, Progress 8 and Attainment 8, which replace the long established 5 A*-C GCSE league table including English and maths. The key measure is Progress 8 (full table here) which looks at progress from the end of primary school to the end of Year 11, and is rightly given priority in measuring performance.  Under this measure, Kent is slightly below the National Average of -0.03, at -0.11.

Meopham 2

Attainment 8 (full table here) simply measures what it says, with Kent exactly equalling the National score of 46.3 ranked 60th out of all Local Authorities, although there is a variety of other statistics provided to choose from to suit your case. 

Headlines: the Grammar School progress table is no longer the sole preserve of West Kent and super-selectives with four girls' schools  invading the top eight. Highworth, Invicta, Folkestone Girls' and Maidstone Girls have joined Tonbridge, TWGGS, and Dartford Girls', leaving Dartford as the only boys school.   

Top non-selective school is Bennett Memorial, one of six church schools in the top ten, the top three ever present also including St Simon Stock and St Gregory's. For the second consecutive year there are remarkable performances by Meopham School and Orchards Academy, neither of which have the built in advantages of other top performers. Six schools are below the government floor level with well-below average progress, down from eight last year, and so  facing government intervention. 

Five of the top six grammar schools on attainment are unsurprisingly super-selective in West and North West Kent - along with Tunbridge Wells Girls'. These are the same schools as in 2016, balanced by five boys and one mixed grammar at the foot.  The Non-selective table is led by three church schools, Bennett Memorial leading the way above two grammar schools. Four non-selective schools are at the foot of both Progress and Attainment Tables.

Orchards 1

Further information below. including the performance of individual schools......

Back in October, Government published provisional results to inform parents making secondary school choices, and allow schools to make a case for removing pupils in certain categories. This is an amended version of the article I wrote at the time, reflecting those changes, although in nearly all cases they are not significant. You will find details for individual schools in my individual schools section, here.  This is always being updated although there is still work to be done on individual pages,  (if  you want data on a particular school, let me know and I will attend to that one). 

Both Progress 8 and Attainment 8 are measured across eight curriculum subjects, English maths, 3 qualifications from sciences, computer science, history, geography and languages, and 3 other additional approved qualifications.  The results are measured by an arcane formula whose meaning and spread is very difficult to comprehend, but enable schools to be placed in an order. For Progress 8 there is a target national average score of 0, with most schools being between +1 and -1. Both measures have had their methodology changed to suit government priorities and the new grading system for English and maths. As a result, numbers are not directly comparable with those of 2016. 

GCSE Progress 8 Gradings
Progress 8 scores are given a grading to enable easier understanding (!) of levels. These are:
Well above Average (WAA); Above Average (AA): Average (A); Below Average (BA); WBA (Well below Average).
As I update individual schools' data, I will include these. 

The government floor standard, or expectation for attainment is to be above -0.5, in which case “the school may come under increased scrutiny and receive additional support”. and seven Kent secondary schools fail to meet this, including Simon Langton Boys (an exceptional case as explained below). There are further details of the outcomes below.   

There appears to be a wholly artificial controversy being hatched about Cranbrook and Skinners' schools which both put a form of students in for the maths GCSE a year early. As a result, these results are discounted in the GCSE tables so, both schools are penalised in the Progress league table. This is simply a reminder that aberrations need to be looked at for an explanation, which is wholly forthcoming in this case, as well as Simon Langton Boys. Simon Langton Boys' Grammar, having had poor English GCSE results over a number of years, changed the course to have an iGCSE qualification from last year. As this is not regarded by the DfE as an approved qualification, it is discounted, hence the very low results. The school's explanation for the change is of course very different, describing the normal GCSE as 'boring and insipid'.  However, an alternative view may be the poor performance of Simon Langton Boys at GCSE English for a number of years previously, for example here, although this does appear an extreme way of solving the English teaching problem! 
 
Progress 8
Grammar Schools
I am not sure that in Kent, with the grammar schools dominating the top of the table, this proves they necessarily offer better teaching; rather, there is a strong element of – ‘brighter pupils can be stretched further’. Whereas last year, all but one of the top performers were super-selective or West Kent grammar schools, with second highest rated school by this measure being Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar (not super-selective). The next  five grammars include three more girls' schools: Weald of Kent; Simon Langton Girls; and Wilmington Girls, a total of ten out of thirteen.  
Grammar School Progress 8 Scores for 2017
Highest Lowest
School Score School Score
All Well Above Average Well Below Average 
and below Floor Level of -0.5
Tonbridge 0.89 Simon Langton Boys

 -1.39

Tunbridge Wells Girls 0.89 Below Average
Dartford 0.78 Oakwood Park -0.26
Highworth 0.74 Chatham & Clarendon  -0.23
Invicta* 0.73 Average
Dartford Girls  0.66 Dover Boys -0.06
Folkestone Girls* 0.66 Borden 0.01
Maidstone Girls* 0.58 Sir Roger Manwood's  0.04
 
However, the pressure to achieve results comes at a price and the three starred schools are amongst those with highest net grammar school leaving rates at the end of Year Eleven, headed up by Folkestone School for Girls which lost 29% of its girls after GCSE . Many grammar schools provide opportunities for other students by a net recruitment into Year 12. 
 
Non-Selective Schools
 
Non-Selective Progress 8 Scores for 2017
Highest   Lowest
School Score School Score
Well Above Average
Well Below Average and
below Floor Level of -0.5
Bennett Memorial  0.76 Hartsdown  -1.45
Meopham  0.57 Royal Harbour Academy  -1.2
St Simon Stock Catholic

0.54

Aylesford -1.05
Above Average Holmesdale -0.7
St Gregory's Catholic 0.4 Cornwallis Academy -0.51
 Average Astor College -0.51
Duke of York's RMA 0.25 Below Average
Orchards Academy 0.19  Homewood  -0.47 
St Anselm's Catholic 0.18 Spires Academy  -0.48
St John's Catholic 0.13 Northfleet Technology -0.45
Hillview Girls 0.11 Sittingbourne Community -0.43
Skinners Kent Academy 0.11 Dover Christ Church -0.43
 
The highest performing non-selective schools are Bennett Memorial, third and Meopham School, tenth in the table of all schools including grammars, with a better result than twenty four grammar schools. Meopham and Orchards Academy, Swanley both in the list for two consecutive years, and with no obvious advantages,  clearly stand out as schools with good teaching and learning. Seven of the top ten non-selectives were church schools. 

At the foot of the table, are six non-selectives who are below the government floor standard and must be concerned at their performance which may well reflect on teaching and learning. These will be picked up by OFSTED on their next Inspection which should be brought forward, using this measure as a new key standard. Four have been here for both years of the new scheme: Hartsdown; Royal Harbour; Aylesford; and Holmesdale, all of which apart from Holmesdale also occupying places at the foot of the Attainment table. Astor College has now slipped into this category.  Of the 'well below average' schools, Hartsdown in Thanet, was featured in my Tough Love Academies article serving an area with high levels of social deprivation along with Royal Harbour Academy both based in Thanet . Aylesford  and Holmesdale  were both oversubscribed a few years a go, but have been in rapid decline, and leaching large numbers of pupils. Holmesdale has the largest fall in the county, losing 34% of its Year 7 intake by Year 11 in October 2017, Aylesford the third highest loss of 21%.  Aylesford is now to become an Academy sponsored by Wrotham School. Astor College in Dover has been declining for some years, with poor GCSE performances, culminating in a  Warning  about unacceptable standards from the Department for Education last year. Perhaps puzzlingly, Cornwallis College was pronounced 'Good' by OFSTED in November, although qualifying for Government intervention for being below the Floor Standard. Two reasons: firstly the Report records a new headteacher who has led the school on a journey of rapid improvement; secondly, the Report was based on the Provisional Progress 8 standard which just met the Floor Level with 0.5. I cannot see how it could have been awarded 'Good' if the final outcome had been finalised at the time of the Inspection. 

Attainment 8
Here, scores come out as looking somewhat like a GCSE league table, but flattened at the top, with the score of 40 looking very similar in terms of the number of schools failing to reach it, the same figure as the now two year old Floor Level of 5 GCSE A-Cs.
 
Grammar Schools
Not surprisingly, here the grammar schools sweep the table completely, the top five being pretty predictable and the same as in 2017. Of special note is Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar, the only school of the five to admit most of their intake with no element of super-selection, also second in the Progress table. Skinners is the only one of these schools not also at the top of the Progress 8 table, as explained above. Of the next ten highest performers, all bar Barton Court are girls' grammars.At the foot of both tables are Simon Langton Boys, Oakwood Park, Dover Boys, Borden and Wilmington Boys, all boys’ grammar schools, along with the mixed Chatham and Clarendon. As it is not clear what the numbers mean, all one can say is that the students of other grammar schools perform better by this measure.
Grammar School Attainment 8 Scores 2017
Highest Lowest
School Score School Score
Tonbridge 77.9  Simon Langton Boys 49.1
Judd  76.6  Oakwood Park 57.4
Dartford  73.8  Dover Boys 57.4
Tunbridge Wells Girls 72.1 Chatham & Clarendon 58.2 
Skinners 71.5   Borden  60.6
Dartford Girls  69.7 Wilmington Boys 61.4
 
Non-Selective Schools
The highly selective Bennett Memorial Diocesan again tops the non-selective table, with two Catholic schools following, St Gregory's and St Simon Stock, the three along with Meopham School also at the top of the Progress table.
 
Apart from Duke of York's, a military sponsored  boarding school,  the other three highest performers were not in the list last year.  
 
 At the foot of the table apart from five of the six schools also at the bottom of the Progress 8 table, are Spires Academy, Sittingbourne Community College, Oasis Isle of Sheppey and New Line learning. New Line Learning, which is nearly half empty, along with several others on the list suffers from having to pick up newcomers to the area in considerable numbers, some of whom have little background.  
 
Non-Selective Attainment 8 Scores 2017
Highest Lowest
School Score School Score
Bennett Memorial 57.3 Hartsdown 20.3
St  Simon Stock Catholic 50.2 Royal Harbour 25.4
St Gregory's Catholic 49.8 Spires Academy 32.1
Duke of York's 49.1 Aylesford School 32.1
Mascalls  45.6 Astor College 32.2
Wrotham  45.3 Sittingbourne Community 34.2
Meopham  44.7 Oasis Isle of Sheppey 34.3
Hillview 44.6 New Line Learning 35.1
 
English Baccalaureate
This is a third measure towards which the government was trying to nudge schools, by measuring the percentage of pupils achieving a Grade C or better in five specific subject areas: English, maths, a science, a language, and history or geography. It is designed to encourage schools towards more academic subjects and away from those thought intellectually easier, which government considers is an easy way to score, although Progress 8 and Attainment 8 already go some way towards that.
Leading the List are Dartford Grammar and Tonbridge Grammar both with 94% of their pupils passing the required subjects, followed by Judd at 93% and Tunbridge Wells at 92%. Lowest grammar is Dover Boys with just 23%. Top non-selective school is St Gregory's with 28%, followed by Bennett with 23%, Valley Park with 18% and Hugh Christie with 17%.  . At the bottom with no students meeting this standard are: Charles Dickens; Dover Christ Church; Hartsdown; Leigh UTC; Royal Harbour; and Simon Langton Boys (see above). 
Last modified on Wednesday, 29 August 2018 12:14

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