League table shake up could hit schools with poorer pupils

Photo: David Davies/PA Wire
Photo: David Davies/PA Wire
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SCHOOL league tables reforms which will affect the results of pupils starting their GCSEs this year will see more than one-in-ten secondaries in Yorkshire see a significant drop in their rankings, a report has warned.

The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission report also says it is schools with larger numbers of poor pupils who are more likely to drop under the new system .

Schools are currently ranked on the number of pupils who achieve at least five A* to C grades including English and maths.

However this is being replaced in 2016 by a new system which will measure schools performance based on pupils attainment and their progress across eight subjects.

The reforms have been brought in amid concern that the five A* to C figure was encouraging schools to focus on pupils who were on the C/D borderline at the expense or more and less able students.

The new report has analysed how schools rankings would have changed had they been measured on pupils score in eight different subjects rather the current benchmark. It found that three per cent of Yorkshire secondary schools would see their ranking improve significantly however 12 per cent would see a significant drop. It warns: “On average the schools experiencing the greatest falls are those with the greatest proportion of disadvantaged children.”

The report singles out Rotherham as being particularly badly affected. The report says half of the town’s schools would experience a drop under the new system and none of its schools would rise significantly. The report published today says: “Now is the right time for schools, governors and teachers to rethink their approaches and assess whether their practices and culture are really driving the best results for all students, because doing so will help schools perform well under the new accountability system.

“It also makes the case for schools to rethink how they focus resources on students – because it removes the focus on the C/D threshold, improvements in attainment will be reflected in performance no matter where in the attainment distribution improvements happen.”

The commission which is chaired by former Labour MP Alan Milburn has produced a report examining what can be done in schools to improve social mobility. It claims schools should be able to help tens of thousands of poor teenagers who are currently falling short to get good GCSE results by learning lessons from the most successful secondaries.

It says that while some schools have “cracked the code” with high numbers of poor students gaining five good GCSEs, including English and maths, or performing above the national average in primary schools others are falling far behind.