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News - 28 January 2012

Secondary school league tables - 107 secondaries are failing.

This year, the government has put out four times as much data as it did last year.
The tables show how well schools do on the government's main measure of school performance - how many pupils get five good GCSEs (A* to C) including maths and English - and on a range of other data.
League tables of more than 3,300 secondaries published by the Department of education on 26/01/12 show that 107 schools are failing to reach minimum standards required by the coalition.
All of the top 200 schools in England's league tables are either selective state schools or independent schools.
Two grammar schools are at the top of this year's secondary school league tables for England.

The Lawrence Sheriff School in Rugby, Warwickshire, has the highest point score for GCSEs for the second year in a row and the Colchester Royal Grammar School in Essex tops the table for A-levels for the sixth year running.

The top-performing comprehensive is Thomas Telford in Shropshire.
Critics of the league tables, including many heads and teachers, complain they do not give an accurate picture of what schools are doing - and often say more about the intake than anything else (in many grammar schools, the proportion of children on free school meals is low (about 1%) compared with the national average of about 17%).
In all schools, at least 35% of pupils are expected to gain five or more GCSEs at grades A* to C, including English and maths. Those schools that fail to meet this target, and whose pupils are not achieving above-average progress in English and maths, are considered sub-standard.
More than 100 secondary schools in England face being closed and re-opened as Academies for failing government targets, official data reveals.

The secondary school league tables also show:

  • Teenagers in care and those on free school meals are about half as likely as their peers to achieve five good grades at GCSE.
  • In some schools, no teenagers are being entered for traditional subjects, such as history, geography or a modern language.
  • In more than 1,700 schools, a maximum of 10% of pupils take a combination of traditional subjects that includes English, maths, two sciences, a language and a humanity.
  • In more than a fifth of secondary schools – not including those for children with special needs – no more than half of pupils made the progress expected of them in maths between leaving primary school and completing their GCSEs.

By including data on the grades of pupils in care and on free school meals, the secondary school league tables show the stark contrast between the achievements of disadvantaged children and their better-off peers.

Just 34% of those in care or on free school meals achieve five good GCSE passes, including English and maths, compared with 58% for all pupils in state schools.

In 339 schools, less than a fifth of these disadvantaged pupils achieve five good grades, including English and maths. Just one in 25 pupils achieves a C or higher in a combination of English, maths, two sciences, a foreign language and a humanity.
Last year, the government started to measure schools by the proportion of pupils who achieved a C grade or more in English, maths, two sciences, a foreign language and a humanity at GCSE. This combination is known as the English baccalaureate, or Ebacc.

The coalition hoped that by adding the measurement to the tables, it would fuel a rise in the take-up of traditional subjects. Some 24% of pupils were entered for these subjects last summer, a rise on the year before when 22% were. Just 18% achieved the English bacc last summer, compared to 16% the year before.

If you need any help and advice with Academy Schools or Charities, contact Lavinia Newman or Peter Ham now to discuss how ABDS can help bring their experience to these matters.

ABDS Chartered Certified Accountants of Southampton.
Tel: 023 8083 6900  E-mail: abds@netaccountants.net

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