Secondary School's still struggling

Published on Thursday, 26 January 2012 11:39
Posted by Scott Buckler

New data, released today for the first time, reveals the truth about every secondary school’s performance

The publication of the results of more than 3,300 secondary schools’ GCSE and A Level exams is part of the Government’s drive for greater transparency - giving parents more information than ever before about how their child’s school is performing. The Department for Education is this year publishing 400 per cent more data about secondary schools than in 2010.

The 2011 Schools Performance Tables now include:

 

  • how well disadvantaged children perform in each school
  • whether previously high, middle and low achieving pupils continue to make progress
  • how many pupils at each school are entered into the core academic subjects that make up the EBacc.

The 2011 GCSE results reveal that hundreds of secondary schools are failing to help pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds achieve their full potential. Disadvantaged children - those on free school meals or in local authority care for at least six months – are approximately half as likely to achieve the national benchmark of five A*-C grade GCSEs including English and maths compared to their peers.

The figures also highlight those schools that are successfully achieving great outcomes for deprived children, setting a gold standard for other schools to follow.

The results show that:

  • only 33.9 per cent of disadvantaged pupils achieved five A*-C grade GCSEs including English and maths, compared to the national average of 58.2 per cent in maintained schools
  • in 339 schools, with more than 10 disadvantaged pupils, fewer than 20 per cent of those pupils achieved five A*-C grade GCSEs including English and maths
  • in contrast 21 schools, with more than 10 disadvantaged pupils, saw more than 80 per cent of those pupils gaining five A*-C grade GCSEs including English and maths.


The picture is similar with the core academic subjects that make up the EBacc. Nationally, only one in 25 disadvantaged pupils managed to secure good grades in a combination of English, maths, a language, history or geography, and two sciences. This compares to the national average of nearly one in six.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said:

We should have high expectations for all children regardless of their circumstances. Today’s figures reveal a shocking waste of talent in many schools across the country. All too often, pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds aren’t given the same opportunities as their peers.

But there are great examples of schools achieving the best for their disadvantaged pupils. If they can get it right, then so can all schools.

Thanks to the introduction of the EBacc, we are opening up opportunities for all pupils to study the core academic subjects that employers and universities demand. And with the Pupil Premium we are specifically targeting funding at disadvantaged pupils, so that schools have the resources they need to make a difference.


For the first time, the Tables highlight how pupils have progressed since they left primary school.

The figures show the hard work by many secondary schools in turning around pupils who were below the expected standard at the end of Key Stage 2. 6.5 per cent of pupils who had been below Level 4 at the end of primary school, went on to achieve five A*-C grade GCSEs including English and maths.

However, this year’s GCSE statistics also show that thousands of previously high achieving pupils are being failed by their secondary school:

8,600 pupils, 4.9 per cent, who were excelling at the end of primary school, then failed to gain to five A*-C grades including English and maths.
45.6 per cent of pupils, some 120,000, who were at Level 4 at Key Stage 2 failed to make the expected amount of progress, to five A*-C grades including English and maths, at secondary school.

Nick Gibb added:

Children only have one chance at education. These tables show which schools are letting children down. We will not hesitate to tackle underperformance in any school, including academies. Heads should be striving to make improvements year on year, and we will not let schools coast with mediocre performance.

We are driving up standards right across the board. We are bringing the best graduates into teaching, developing a world-class curriculum, and restoring order to our classrooms.

We have introduced a tough new inspection regime targeted at the weakest performing schools and Ministers now have clear new powers to intervene when schools are failing.


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