This article updates and replaces an earlier one covering provisional results published in October
This year the long established 5 A*-C GCSE league table including English and maths has been scrapped, being replaced by two new assessments, Progress 8 and Attainment 8. Both these are measured by an arcane formula combining results in eight curriculum subjects to produce numbers whose meaning and spread is very difficult to comprehend, but enable schools to be placed in an order. The key measure is Progress 8 (full table here) which looks at progress from the end of primary school to the end of Year 11, comparing pupils to others nationally, who begin from the same starting point, with Kent slightly below average at -0.04, in 80th place out of 152 Local Authorities, against a National average of -0.03.
Attainment 8 (full table here) simply measures what it says, with Kent doing better than average with 50.4, against a National score of 49.9, ranked 60th out of all Local Authorities, although there is a variety of other statistics to choose from to suit your case.
Headlines: Grammar School progress dominated by West Kent and super-selectives; Oakwood comes below the national average. Top non-selective school is St Simon Stock, but remarkable performance by Meopham, Orchards Academy and Northfleet Technology College. Half the lowest performers are in the Maidstone area. Seven schools failed the government floor level requirement and will face government intervention. Top Grammar School attainment similar pattern to Progress, all five lowest performers are boys' schools, worst performance again Oakwood Park. Non-selective tale is led by three church schools and Duke of York's Boarding Academy, Bennett Memorial leading the way. Five non-selective schools are at the foot of both Progress and Attainment Tables: Hartsdown; Royal Harbour; Oasis Sheppey; Swadelands; and New Line Learning.
Further information below. including the performance of individual schools......
Updated 25th January
State school educated children in Kent and Medway both maintain their above average performance at GCSE and A Level. Nationally, 57.1% of children achieved five GCSEs Grades A-C, including English and maths, up from 56.6% last year. However, both have slipped this year, Kent from 58.1% down to 57.3%, whilst Medway has declined from 58.8% to 57.8%.
At A Level, a range of measures is available each of limited value, with Kent above national average on point score per A Level entry, and below on percentage of students achieving three A Levels. In Medway, measures are generally slightly below national averages.
The Government twist on the GCSE story that any school below the government floor target of 40% of children gaining 5 Grades A-C including English and maths is failing, is simply not valid in a selective county such as Kent. This is because on average 25 children out of every hundred, all of whom should have reached the floor target, are taken away from our non-selective schools as they are attending grammar schools. Simple arithmetic shows that removing these should bring the floor target for non-selective schools down to 20% and by that measure, just four in Kent are Failing. My bigger concern is that too many selective schools are under achieving.
Updated: 8th November
Nine headteachers from the eighteen non-selective secondary schools situated in towns around the Kent coastline, that is half the total, have lost their jobs over the past three years with eight of the schools achieving less than 30% 5 A-Cs at GCSE including maths and English in provisional results for 2015. The schools to have lost their headteachers are: Astor College, Dover ; Castle Community College, Deal; The Charles Dickens School, Broadstairs; The Community College Whitstable; Folkestone Academy; Oasis Academy, Isle of Sheppey; Pent Valley Technology College, Folkestone; St Edmund's Catholic, Dover; and Ursuline College, Margate. Another two schools have closed - Marlowe Academy, Ramsgate and Walmer Science School. There are particular issues in Thanet. I look at further details of all these cases below.One wonders which school will be next to lose their headteacher, and who is going to be attracted to such high risk posts in the future?
A Report by the Future Leaders Trust highlighted on the BBC website last month has once again focused on the difficulties of many schools in England’s coastal towns across the country to be able to flourish. The charity, which “works for fairer opportunities in schools”, says there is a culture in "which students are given limited experience beyond their own town and where they see little value in academic qualifications”.
The original version of this article led to a BBC SE item which focused on the departure of the four headteachers who lost their jobs in 2015.....
GCSE results published last week show the effects of government changes in results coming into play, as explained below, which have hit many of Kent’s non-selective schools disproportionately. The effect on many private schools offering the IGSE instead of GCSE is to see their results discounted completely, so there is no sensible measure of performance in the private sector. You will find government league tables here.
Overall Kent state school students have once again exceeded the national average as they have for many years with 58.0% succeeding at 5 A-C grades, including English and maths, against a national figure of 56.6%. Medway students have done even better, with 58.8% of students having achieved the standard, as always underlining the disparity with Medway primary school performance.
The top of the table is not surprisingly dominated by the grammar schools, although Skinners is the only one to emerge with 100% success at 5 A-C grades, including English and maths. At 99% come most of the usual suspects: Dartford Grammar Girls; Dover Grammar Girls; Folkestone Girls; Invicta Grammar; Judd; Maidstone Grammar Girls; and Weald of Kent Grammar; along with The Rochester Grammar and Sir Joseph Williamson’s in Medway. Lowest performing grammars are: Simon Langton Boys and Tunbridge Wells Boys at 93%, along with Chatham Grammar Boys in Medway; Sir Roger Manwood’s at 92%; Borden Grammar 91%; Dane Court at 90%; and Dover Grammar Boys at 85%.
For non-selective schools, top performers as always are Bennett Memorial (CofE), 78% and St Gregory’s Catholic, 72%, both Tunbridge Wells. Then come: St George’s Cof E, Gravesend and St Simon Stock Catholic 67%, closely followed by St John’s Catholic, Gravesend on 64%. The highest performing non-church schools are: Hillview, Tonbridge, 62%; and Wrotham 59%.
At the bottom end, the effect of the government changes can be seen to full effect as many non-selective schools have seen the strategies they used to promote their academic performance discounted. Wholly unsurprisingly, they are headed up by The Marlowe Academy, eighth lowest performing state school in the country at 13%. Others are: Hartsdown Academy and Oasis Isle of Sheppey Academy at 19%; Pent Valley Technology College at 21%; St George’s CofE Foundation, Thanet, and Sittingbourne Community College on 22%. Every one of these has seen a sharp fall in performance since 2013, ranging from a 15% drop at Marlowe, through to 32% at Hartsdown. Lowest Medway performance is better, with Strood Academy on 28% (a 15% fall on 2013).
There is considerably more detail below, including a closer look at Thanet which has attracted media attention over the disappointing results of many of its schools........
The complete set of OFSTED Reports for 2013-14 have now been published (although there may be one or two strays to come where there have been disputes over outcomes) and they confirm the very different fortunes of primary, secondary and special schools across Kent and Medway.
This article looks at the overall superb outcome of Secondary and Special School Inspections last year, with a review of primary schools to come in a following article. Overall Kent and Medway saw a remarkable 80% of OFSTED Inspections rated Good or Outstanding, against a national figure of just 67%
It also looks at the fearsome future some of Kent’s non-selective schools face in terms of OFSTED and GCSE performance, with changes in the government measures of achievement.
Between them 17 of Kent and Medway’s 23 non-selective schools that have been inspected have been found Good or Outstanding, that is 77%, well above the national average for all secondary schools. Why is it that in frenzy of debate about grammar schools, such positive outcomes for non-selective schools are so comprehensively ignored by the media and indeed by the Local Authorities?
National Key Stage Four results are out today, with some fascinating insights into how schools are doing. As I observed on Radio Kent this morning, there are many other key factors, as well as examination performance and league tables that come together to make a good school, but these are key indicators of its health, provided they are read in context.
Headlines are: Once again both Kent and Medway secondary schools as a whole have performed above the national average of 60.6% for all children - Kent with 63.6%; Medway 60.9%; All three Leigh Academy Trust Schools feature in the top non-selective schools in Kent, headed up by Wilmington Academy, with 71% five A-Cs including English and maths; Bennett Memorial Diocesan School in Tunbridge Wells as usual topped the non-selective list with 81%. Highest performing grammar school is Folkestone School for Girls, having few of the advantages of the other top performers, but still gaining 100% at GCSE, coming 10th highest state or independent school in the country on average grade scores. Of greatest concern are the nine grammar schools whose students each achieved fewer than 95% GCSE Grades A-C including English and maths; and the nine lowest performing non-selective schools, all academies, all having other concerns hanging over them, with Castle Community in Deal, lowest of all at 20%, 4th worst in the country.
Just one of the nine, Bishop of Rochester Academy, at 26%, is in Medway. More details follow: .......
For the second time this week, I have been on BBC SE and Radio Kent commenting on a Kent education story (also previous item below) as Government published the GCSE and A Level League tables. Not only do I have my reservations about the tables as a whole, there are several different ways of presenting them, to make particular points, for high and low performers.
Not surprisingly, in both Kent and Medway, the grammar schools dominate the top of each set of tables, with no non-selective school intruding on their positions. If one considers the % of students achieving 5 GCSE Grades A*-C or equivalent, including maths and English, just eight out of 39 grammar schools:.....