23/Apr/2014 - Last News Update: 15:02

Grammar schools in tougher ranking call

Category: England

Published: 3rd May 2012 04:34:27

England's grammar schools should be rated on tougher league table measures, a report suggests.

They should be ranked on how many pupils get A and A* grades at GCSE, says a study for the Schools Network.

Schools in England are measured on how many pupils get A* to C grades in five GCSEs, including maths and English.

The report also shows wide variations in both the intake of grammar schools in different parts of England and in pupils' performance at GCSE.

In general, it found that grammars in less wealthy areas were more likely to have pupils who entered them with lower academic attainment than other grammars.

We need a new way of measuring the performance of these schools”

Performance at GCSE was also relatively lower, although still high when compared with the national average.

Usually grammars come high up in the academic league tables, with most scoring close to 100% in the government's chosen measure - pupils getting five A* to C grades including maths and English.

Among pupils at comprehensives, about 58% reach that level.

The study was carried out by Professor David Jesson for the Schools Network. He is an associate director of the organisation, which represents 5,000 schools and academies, including about 100 of England's 164 grammar schools.

Professor Jesson looked at how the schools measured up against each other if ranked on what proportion of pupils got five GCSEs including maths and English all at A* or A grades.

He said: "I am quite surprised by the findings because of the range of outcomes for schools which appear to recruit very similar students.

"The 19 schools in London are really quite outstanding. The South East [Kent and Medway] came lowest.

"More important, there was quite a range of outcomes between schools in each area."

Grammar schools are small in number compared with other secondaries; there are about 3,500 secondary schools and academies in England.

Professor Jesson, of the University of York, says his study shows some grammar schools need to improve.

"Grammar schools should expect to achieve high levels of performance for their pupils and most do. There are however substantial differences between grammar schools' outcomes which tend to go unnoticed in the standard performance tables.

"If we are genuinely committed to the idea of excellence for all we need a new way of measuring the performance of these schools and making sure that every pupil reaches their full potential."

Those opposed to academic selection believe it widens the gap between rich and poor, and say grammar schools tend to be dominated by the middle classes.

Just over 2% of children at grammar schools are eligible for free school meals compared with a national average of about 16%.

The campaign group Comprehensive Future says it does not want to see grammar schools abolished - just the 11-plus exam which is used to select pupils.

Fiona Millar from the group said: "I do think it is important that the performance of grammars is scrutinised more closely.

"The 5 A* -C measure is quite a crude one with which to judge schools that are already taking the top 20-30% of children.

"There is an assumption that they are all outstanding schools, but we should be allowed to see more evidence about whether the teaching and progress does justify that claim."

A Department for Education spokesman said: "No school can ever afford to rest on its laurels.

"We want to make sure that all schools are stretching their brightest pupils and that schools with very able intakes are helping students reach their full potential rather than allowing them to coast along.

"The tables now show expected and actual performance for low, middle and high-attaining pupils so that schools can be judged on whether they are improving all their students."

Source:
BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2012. Grammar schools in tougher ranking call [Online] (Updated 3rd May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1426177/Grammar-schools-in-tougher-ranking-call [Accessed 23rd Apr 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Plan to abolish corroboration put on hold by Scottish government

    Controversial plans to end the need for evidence in Scottish criminal trials to come from two sources have been delayed by the government.
  • North Ferriby manager relying on Gainsborough 'professionalism'

    North Ferriby manager Billy Heath has appealed to Gainsborough Trinity to act "professionally" in their Conference North decider against AFC Telford.
  • Plan to abolish corroboration put on hold by Scottish government

    Controversial plans to end the need for evidence in Scottish criminal trials to come from two sources have been delayed by the government.
  • Ty Hafan hospice care boss cleared of misconduct

    The director of care at a children's hospice has been cleared of professional misconduct over the way she dealt with a dying teenager.
  • Palestinian Hamas-Fatah unity deal announced

    Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas have announced a reconciliation deal after a meeting in the Gaza Strip.