Response to the publication of league tables for school performance
“England’s school system is in a state of transition. Amidst [these] important changes, schools must continue to fulfil their basic purpose to teach pupils and prepare them successfully for the next stage of their lives.” Ofsted annual report – December 2014.
The words above are important on several levels; most importantly they emphasise the core purpose of every school, they also acknowledge the significant turbulence that has been created in terms of results by the rapid pace of change in education over recent years.
As these changes were happening schools were often faced with the question of what was the right thing to do for pupils and staff. Two decisions by the government impacted significantly on preparation for exams: firstly, only the first attempt at English and Maths GCSE would be reported in league tables and secondly, that the type of qualification that would count in the league tables would be restricted.
At Abraham Darby Academy we decided that pupils who had been prepared and engaged in sitting an exam in November should be allowed to sit it. That first grade was used to motivate the students to work even harder to improve the grade in the summer. We also decided that we should not change a course that pupils had been studying, and teachers had been preparing for, since the beginning of year 9.
In November 2013 42% of our pupils achieved a C grade or better in both English and Maths, This is the figure in the published league tables. In the summer 2014 70% of or pupils achieved both qualifications. That result is not in the tables. 98% of our pupils went onto further education or training.
Below are the figures which allow a direct year on year comparison. We believe this is a true reflection of the hard work of our staff and pupils.