Thursday, 11 January 2007

I was really looking forward to the publication of the secondary school performance tables today. Overall I wasn't disappointed...

We once again made more progress than the national average and for the first time we have over half of our young people achieving five A* - C grades at GCSE. It is reassuring that we have continued to close the gap between the best and the rest.

It was wonderful to see that Wortley High School and Pudsey Grangefield High School were amongst the top fifty most improved schools in the country. And that Abbey Grange CE High School, Allerton High School, Benton Park School,Brigshaw High School, Corpus Christi Catholic College, Garforth Community College, John Smeaton High School, Mount St Mary's RC High School, Otley Prince Henry's Grammar School, Roundhay High School and St Mary's RC High School all achieved good Key Stage 2 to 4 value added. We only had one high school achieving below the floor targets set by the DfES. All of this is great news for parents and carers and for Leeds.

However, the down side is that we still have 48% of our young people not achieving level 2 qualifications at the end of Key Satge 4 and overall our Key Stage 2 to 4 value added was the second lowest in the country... only Darlington did worse than us! I know that this cohort of young people started secondary education in 2001 and that we have transformed the learning environment and the learning culture and achieved some fantastic results over the last five years. We are also seeing really good progress in Key Stage 3 and the Key Stage 2 to 3 value added results are encouraging. We are also seeing some creative innovations... coaching, mentoring and curriculum pathways... achieving real progress in Key Stage 4.

It is really important that we all focus on the progress being made by individual young people and target our interventions and support to achieve a fundamental step-change in outcomes. We are looking to agree transformational outcomes for 2015... 80% achieving level 2 qualifications at 16... but rightly we will be asked what about the current groups of young people. We need to learn about what works and rigorously and ruthlessly focus on key groups. Raw scores and contextual value added scores only tell us part of the story, but it is a vitally important part which suggest that we all need to do better and some of us need to completely rethink what we are doing and learn from what is working at our most improved schools and our best schools.

1 comment:

set said...

Hi Chris,

You've reminded me of a memorable Year 8 field trip we ran some years ago to a Foreign Legion station in Western Sahara. Shortly before dawn our unswervingly cross sergent rattled us from our bunks and instructed us to wash ourselves with sand before assembling promptly on the parade ground. He then proceeded to inspect the quality of our abrasions and having done so issued stern orders as to how we should organise our platoon. Although my french at the time was poor, and his russian accent further complicated my understanding the gist was as follows...

'Half of you have cleaned yourselves well. Half of you have not. Those of you who are above average should not let your standards blow into the dunes. Those of you who are already below average should seek a coarser grain of sand.'

He then split us into two groups and led those identified as, in his words, 'dusty' out into the desert...

The same ritual was repeated the following dawn. As one would expect his teaching methods brought great success. On his re-assessment about two thirds of our platoon were declared above average. To our horror a voice of disent was heard in the ranks. 'How can a third of us be below average?' protested Simon. This was a mistake. Separated from the platoon Simon set about his task of sorting unending piles of sand into above average, and below average sized grains.

He wasn't allowed to return on the bus with the rest of us. It's widely accepted that he's still out there trying to factor in the desert winds. An onerous task, but I suppose someone has to do it.

Good luck!