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Thursday, 06 August 2020 15:25

Comprehensive Future Knowingly Re-Publishes False Data about Grammar Schools and Pupil Premium

Two years ago, Comprehensive Future published as a fact that: When asked how many pupils were admitted through these priority policies 80 schools responded, revealing that just 574 disadvantaged pupils were offered admission out of their 12,431 available places... there were 22 selective schools who responded to say they had failed to admit a single disadvantaged pupil through their policies’.  This claim was picked up by the media including the BBC. Unfortunately, this is twice completely false, as I demonstrated in an article last month after the organisation publicly attacked me for querying the data, repeating it in the process. False firstly, because the organisation had quoted completely the wrong data column from their own database, and secondly because the whole database is self-evidently rubbish, see below. As I wrote then, a prime example of the ICT mantra Garbage in, garbage out.  

I have now been informed by CF’s Chairman, Nuala Burgess, that CF is not prepared to discuss the matter further, the bogus claims remain on their website and that of the BBC and so this must cast doubt on any other claims made by CF on data they have harvested to forward their aims.

Update 8th August 2020. You need only read this if you are misguided enough to think my evidence based proof is false. 

Unfortunately, some of my critics still cannot accept that CF quoted the wrong data column from their own database whilst the whole database is self-evidently rubbish. Joanne Bartley is almost certainly regretting having voluntarily sent me a copy of the database she authored which clearly demonstrates this. I have reproduced a section of it here, containing the four key columns to prove my contentions for their benefit, as they appear unable to comprehend my previous explanation. I have changed the headings of columns three and four slightly to emphasise their meaning from 'Q3 -Number of places offered' and 'Q3 - only eligible due to criteria?'. to make it clear they refer to PP places. It is then self-evident that the oft-repeated claim 'When asked how many pupils were admitted through these priority policies 80 schools responded, revealing that just 574 disadvantaged pupils were offered admission out of their 12,431 available places... there were 22 selective schools who responded to say they had failed to admit a single disadvantaged pupil through their policies’  applies to Column three and the 80 schools listed there, and NOT to column four as it should, which lists just 37 schools out of 162 reporting the number of schools offering places THROUGH THEIR ADMISSION PLACES. Column Three, which even when correctly read, allegedly shows 22 selective schools having offered no Pupil Premium Pupil places. This is starkly different from the reality that just a few months later, every single English grammar school admitted at least one PP child, with an average of 8% of all places being allocated in that way. This is explicitly demonstrated by DfE data obtained by CF. The column which should have been quoted, listed numbers from schools admitting disadvantaged schools through their policies. Perhaps because there are just 37 grammar schools reporting on the question, it was thought best to report the previous column with the biggest number. However, some of the schools listed here as admitting no children through their policies, did not have policies such as Norton Knatchbull, so it is a complete irrelevance. Dartford Grammar with its entry of 30 girls being admitted though this route should have sent enormous alarm bells ringing, etc. I am afraid that my analysis that identified the database is indeed rubbish, is correct. But why, why, why did no one notice it was rubbish, and why, why, why when it was repeatedly pointed out did no one do something about it?  

To continue:
This all arose because last month I published a lengthy article exploring the highs and lows of Kent and Medway grammar school admissions of children attracting Pupil Premium. In a minor comment towards the end, I briefly referred to CF and the obvious falsehood of their claim. This so upset the organisation that its Campaigning Officer Joanne Bartley challenged me, conducting what she defined as a confidential correspondence which suddenly became a public attack on me on their website when I had refuted each of her arguments, but repeating the false claims. My proof that these were untrue is set out in a second article.

What has astonished me is that the organisation, knowing their published data is false, has refused to acknowledge this. It could easily have done so in the ‘private’ correspondence, or simply taken down the false data quietly to avoid embarrassment. Instead, it publicly poured scorn on my discovery then refused to discuss it further, presumably content to have damaged the image of these schools.  As Mrs Bartley has made clear, CF is a private organisation and so not accountable in the same way as the schools themselves. 

Interestingly, when repeating the data harvest again this year, Joanne Bartley has greatly simplified her FOI request to schools, presumably to avoid getting confused by the responses again, if indeed that is the reason for the false data. I would hope it was not deliberate but in view of CF's refusal to discuss the matter, this must be a possibility.

To be clear, my initial article was neither pro nor anti-selection but simply an analysis of the current situation as both Kent County and Medway Councils face difficult challenges to maintain the proportion of Pupil Premium children through their grammar school selection processes in this difficult year.     

Last modified on Saturday, 08 August 2020 16:34

4 comments

  • Comment Link Monday, 10 August 2020 06:15 posted by J. Patterson

    Peter, Congratulations on this. It is far too easy for organisations to produce fake data without the opportunity to challenge.

  • Comment Link Sunday, 09 August 2020 23:20 posted by Robert S

    This all seems utterly convincing to me. Congratulations on your proof. Its about time someone stood up to these bullies.

  • Comment Link Saturday, 08 August 2020 08:11 posted by tired reader

    (PETER: Go to new Update Section above which explains why you are completely wrong below, and which I hope is simple enough for you to understand, even if you are tired....)
    The article on their website explains the FOI asked how many pupil premium pupils were admitted 'through the admission policy'. It's a simple explanation for why the number is lower than 'how many pupil premium do you educate.' It's a different question, but a good one to ask.

    Schools will obviously say zero when the specific pupil premium policies are not used to admit the pupils. They explained that this is what the FOI asked, and it is not clear why you don't accept this is the answer. The line you use in the post above even describes the way they asked the question.

  • Comment Link Friday, 07 August 2020 23:59 posted by tired reader

    (PETER:: Go to Update Section which explains why you are completely wrong.which explains why you are completely wrong,, and which I hope is simple enough for you to understand., even if you are tired......)
    CF clearly said the FOI asked how many pupil premium pupils were admitted 'through the admission policy'. It's a very simple explanation for why the number is lower than 'how many pupil premium do you educate.' It's a different question, but still a good one to ask.

    Schools will obviously say zero when the specific pupil premium policies are not used to admit the pupils. They explained that this is what the FOI asked, and it is not at all clear why you don't accept this is the answer, but instead make out they're misrepresenting something. The line you use in the post above even describes the data in the way they asked the question.

    You suggest they're trying to cover something up but actually they've explained
    what their data asked (on their website - twice.) It seems you're misinterpreting what the FOI was asking, even though it's stated simply in their explanation and makes perfect sense. The data is accurate, just different to the question you seem to think it represents. Sadly we live in a world of needless conspiracy theories and this just adds to the lack of clarity. PETER: Conspiracy theories? - Before making such allegations you need to read the facts.

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