True league tables

All these reports really tell us is how elitist these schools are over admissions.

Each year the DfE publish 500+ different metrics for all schools.  The mainstream media (Daily Telegraph,The Independent,The BBC,Daily Mirror) take just one measure from this wealth of information, the final GCSE results, and use this as the basis to tell the public which are the ‘best’ secondary schools in the country.  But performance at GCSEs is predominantly a product of performance at KS2 so all these reports really tell us is how elitist these schools are over admissions.

So if final GCSE results doesn’t give any indication of which schools are providing the best return on public money or answer the basic question, ‘what’s best for my child?’ what does?

The DfE also publish Best 8 Value Added which they explain measures, “progress made by pupils from the end of KS2 to the end of KS4 using their best 8 exam results”.  For some reason measures of actual progress which should be of interest to parents and taxpayers alike is largely disregarded by the media.  To demonstrate the point we’ve taken the BBC’s “Secondary league tables” as our starting point and added a progress based ranking for each school.

BBC rankSchoolBest 8 Value AddTrue rank (Value Add)
1Pate's Grammar School1040.4125
2The Tiffin Girls' School1043.196
3Reading School1036.6179
4St Olave's and St Saviour's Grammar School1033.2238
5Queen Elizabeth's School, Barnet1050.146
6Kendrick School1038.1153
7King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls1035.1203
8The Henrietta Barnett School1035.1201
9Colchester County High School for Girls1041.9107
10Colchester Royal Grammar School1042.798
11Nonsuch High School for Girls1049.256
12Brighton CollegeNP
13Chelmsford County High School for Girls1025.2464
13South Wilts Grammar School for Girls1039.8132
15Wilson's School1034.9204
16King Edward VI Five Ways School1021.9560
17The Skinners' School1053.532
18Tiffin School1033.1244
19Altrincham Grammar School for Girls1042.0105
20Wallington County Grammar School1043.985
21Newport Girls' High School1030.1310
22King Edward VI School1028.1367
23The Abbey School ReadingNP
24Sir Thomas Rich's School1040.6120
25Wolverhampton Girls' High School1026.6410
26Stratford Girls' Grammar School1022.2547
27Beaconsfield High School1039.6138
28Westcliff High School for Boys Academy1040.0130
29Langley Grammar School1037.3166
30Aylesbury High School1034.2217
31The Maynard SchoolNP
32Lawrence Sheriff School1029.1330
33Bournemouth School for Girls1026.9404
34Southend High School for Girls1023.7507
35Edgbaston High School for GirlsNP
36The Crossley Heath School1012.4971
37Queen Ethelburga's CollegeNP
38Talbot Heath SchoolNP
39Ipswich High SchoolNP
40St Mary's SchoolNP
41King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys982.32349
42Colyton Grammar School1035.3199
43Sutton Grammar School1037.2167
44The Judd School1040.4126
45Newstead Wood School1034.2216
46King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford1021.2585
47The Blue Coat School1031.9265
48Lancaster Girls' Grammar School1029.7318
49The Latymer School1025.0471
50King Edward VI Handsworth School1022.4544
51Queen Mary's Grammar School1043.589
52Clitheroe Royal Grammar School1021.2586
53Altrincham Grammar School for Boys1031.0295
54Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for Girls1034.8206
55Westcliff High School for Girls1031.7271
56Dr Challoner's High School1036.6180
57Nottingham Girls' High School GDSTNP
58Woodford County High School1036.7178
59Southend High School for Boys1029.2328
60Wycombe High School1040.5124
61High School for Girls1031.5279
62Sir William Borlase's Grammar School1037.3165
63Loreto Grammar School1032.8248
64Bishop Wordsworth's Grammar School1022.1549
65Townley Grammar School1029.0335
66Caistor Grammar School1033.1243
67The Rochester Grammar School1034.5213
68Rugby High School1017.8724
69Weald of Kent Grammar School1043.491
70Devonport High School for Girls1019.1669
71Salesian CollegeNP
72West Kirby Grammar School1030.1313
73Maidstone Grammar School for Girls1032.0263
74Urmston Grammar Academy1015.2839
75Wolverhampton Grammar SchoolNP
76Torquay Boys' Grammar School1019.2664
77Herschel Grammar School1029.8317
78Skipton Girls' High School1023.2527
79Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School1033.5234
80Burnham Grammar School1023.9501
81Dartford Grammar School for Girls1020.6615
82St Bernard's Catholic Grammar School1020.1636
83Upton Hall School FCJ1028.2365
84Invicta Grammar School1031.3285
85Upton Court Grammar School1031.9266
86Notre Dame Senior SchoolNP
87Bedford Girls' SchoolNP
88Thomas Telford School1039.1144
89Beths Grammar School1015.0847
90Dover Grammar School for Girls1027.2395
91Dr Challoner's Grammar School997.41726
92The Folkestone School for Girls1015.4829
93Manchester High School for GirlsNP
94Emanuel SchoolNP
95Adams' Grammar School1035.7192
96St Michael's Catholic Grammar School1035.7191
97Wallington High School for Girls1038.6146
98Heckmondwike Grammar School1022.6542
99Aylesbury Grammar School1030.8300
100Royal Latin School 1022.1552

There were a few surprises in those results so to investigate further we plotted KS2 APS – how well pupils were performing when they entered the school (in blue) against the Total average capped point score per pupil – how well the same pupils went on to do at GCSE (in red).

BBC 'top' 100 schools KS2 plotted against KS4

BBC ‘top’ 100 schools KS2 plotted against KS4

For the most part final GCSE attainment tracks KS2 attainment, confirming that final achievement is predominantly a product of how well the pupils were performing when they entered the school.

The two sharp downward spikes, King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys and Dr Challoner’s Grammar School, are worthy of comment. Instead of praising these schools for being in the ‘top 100‘ the press should really be asking them why, after selecting the very brightest pupils in the country they’ve managed to make so little actual progress.  This is all the more so since research carried out by Education Datalab has observed that schools with the most able intakes tend to make the most progress giving them a head start.

The real top performing schools

This next table shows the top 100 schools in the country when this is based on progress instead of just prior attainment.

SchoolBest 8 value addValue add rankingType
Tauheedul Islam Girls High School1108.41COMP
The City Academy, Hackney1081.32COMP
Bristol Metropolitan Academy1077.93COMP
King Solomon Academy1075.14COMP
St Thomas More Catholic School1073.95COMP
Harris Academy Chafford Hundred1072.86COMP
Paddington Academy1072.67COMP
Baylis Court School1069.48MOD
Mossbourne Community Academy1067.99COMP
Preston Muslim Girls High School1067.110COMP
Feversham College1067.011COMP
Westminster Academy1066.012COMP
St Ursula's Convent School1063.813COMP
St Andrew's Catholic School1063.014COMP
The Compton School1062.615COMP
Bentley Wood High School1062.016COMP
Ursuline High School Wimbledon1061.617COMP
Charter Academy1059.918COMP
The Urswick School - A Church of England Secondary School1059.719COMP
Wembley High Technology College1058.820COMP
Woodside High School1057.021COMP
Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls School1056.722COMP
Plashet School1056.623COMP
Sacred Heart Catholic School1056.524COMP
St John the Baptist Catholic Comprehensive School, Woking1056.525COMP
Clapton Girls' Academy1056.226COMP
St Alban's Academy1055.727COMP
Selly Park Technology College for Girls1054.828COMP
Tunbridge Wells Girls' Grammar School1054.029SEL
Rosedale College1053.830COMP
St Catherine's Catholic School for Girls1053.731COMP
The Skinners' School1053.532SEL
Whitmore High School1053.433COMP
Harris Academy Greenwich1053.334COMP
City of London Academy - Islington1053.235COMP
Burlington Danes Academy1052.536COMP
Uffculme School1052.437COMP
Hasmonean High School1052.238COMP
Bordesley Green Girls' School & Sixth Form1052.039COMP
Madani Girls' School1051.940COMP
Denbigh High School1051.341COMP
Rutlish School1051.342COMP
St Philomena's School1051.143COMP
The John Wallis Church of England Academy1050.944COMP
Brampton Manor Academy1050.245COMP
Queen Elizabeth's School, Barnet1050.146SEL
Hornsey School for Girls1050.147COMP
Sheffield Park Academy1050.048COMP
The Ursuline Academy Ilford1049.849COMP
Edgbarrow School1049.850COMP
Bolton Muslim Girls School1049.651COMP
Guru Nanak Sikh Academy1049.652COMP
Heartlands Academy1049.553COMP
Upper Wharfedale School1049.454MOD
St Mary's RC High School1049.255COMP
Nonsuch High School for Girls1049.256SEL
Batley Girls' High School - Visual Arts College1048.957COMP
Epsom and Ewell High School1048.458COMP
Central Foundation Boys' School1048.459COMP
Bennett Memorial Diocesan School1048.160COMP
All Hallows Catholic School1047.461COMP
Coloma Convent Girls' School1047.362COMP
Fairfield High School1047.263COMP
Burnt Mill Academy Trust1047.064COMP
King David High School1046.965COMP
The Ellen Wilkinson School for Girls1046.966COMP
Saint George's Church of England School1046.767COMP
Whitburn Church of England Academy1046.668COMP
Healing Science Academy1046.569COMP
Central Foundation Girls' School1046.570COMP
Bethnal Green Academy1046.271COMP
Harris Girls' Academy East Dulwich1046.072COMP
President Kennedy School and Community College1046.073COMP
Willowfield Humanities College1045.974COMP
Norlington School for Boys1045.775COMP
Bishop Thomas Grant Catholic Secondary School1045.676COMP
Aston Manor Academy1045.477COMP
Beauchamp College1045.378COMP
Moor End Academy1044.679COMP
Park View School the Academy of Mathematics and Science1044.480COMP
Babington Community College1044.381COMP
Loxford School of Science and Technology1044.282COMP
The Green School1044.183COMP
Canons High School1044.084COMP
Wallington County Grammar School1043.985SEL
St Mark's Catholic School1043.886COMP
St Mary's College1043.887COMP
Connaught School for Girls1043.688COMP
Queen Mary's Grammar School1043.589SEL
Saint Gabriel's College1043.490COMP
Weald of Kent Grammar School1043.491SEL
Twyford Church of England High School1043.492COMP
Millais School1043.493COMP
Cliff Park High School1043.394COMP
Blackheath Bluecoat Church of England School1043.195COMP
The Tiffin Girls' School1043.196SEL
Hendon School1043.097COMP
Colchester Royal Grammar School1042.798SEL
St Aidan's Church of England High School1042.699COMP
Wren Academy1042.5100COMP

The majority (89/100) of the schools demonstrating the best pupil progress are comprehensive although that’s really to be expected since most of the country’s schools are comprehensive.

Our award for the worst misreporting of school performance has to go to the sensationalist Daily Mirror who also reported the ten worst schools in the country.  This included St George’s CofE in Broadstairs.  Over a third of St George’s pupils are on pupil premium and quarter of them arrive as low attainers because the school don’t have the luxury of cherry picking just the bright ones.  The staff and management of that school provide an excellent service to the community and their Value Add exceeds some of those in the BBCs ‘top 100‘ but here they are being branded as being the worst in the country, simply because of the type of children they work with.

No measurement of attainment or progress can ever be perfect but it really is time the press ceased their preoccupation with final attainment and started asking which of our publicly funded schools are providing the best progress to those pupils they teach.

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