Tag Archives: Schools

KS4 Campbell VA Model 2013

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GCSE School League Tables and the Equivalent Boost

It’s that time of year again when a highly complex set of GCSE school performance data is reduced to a few chosen metrics and turned into a simplistic set of league tables in which the top schools are venerated and the bottom schools are castigated.

The chosen metrics are usually based on “GCSE or equivalent” qualifications, despite the Govian rhetoric about academic rigour, and “top-performing” academy sponsors are routinely praised by the minister for their magical achievements, despite the fact that a significant portion of their performance metrics are more due to “equivalents” than “GCSEs”.

I’m not criticising equivalents. There are many non-academic teenagers who have benefited from non-GCSE vocational qualifications that have helped them find rewarding employment. We have to separate the debate about whether non-GCSE qualifications are a good thing from the discussion of school performance.

If Gove wants to praise academic rigour, he should praise the community, voluntary aided (VA) and voluntary controlled (VC) schools that deliver it. If he wants to praise academy sponsors, he should praise their creative use of equivalent vocational qualifications.

If Gove wants to celebrate diversity and praise both, that’s fine by me, but it will cost more in school transport if he wants to turn that diversity into real choice, especially in rural areas like mine. If all he sees when he looks at the English school ecosystem is a “blob” he’s overlooking some important patterns.

In order to try and untangle the data, I’m going to calculate a set of measures I call the “equivalent boost”. This is the difference between a metric calculated using GCSE and equivalent qualifications and an analogous metric calculated using GCSE only.

My dataset is based on 3,019 mainstream schools (RECTYPE=1) in England that published both key stage 2 average point score (KS2APS) and average capped point score per pupil in best 8 subjects (TTAPSCP) for 2013.

I’m going to highlight some extreme examples of the equivalent boost for analysis and discussion. I’m not automatically suggesting they’re doing anything especially good or bad, but, either way, I think they are especially interesting.

 

Percentage of pupils achieving 5+ A*-C including A*-C in both English and Maths GCSE

PTEAC5EM = PTAC5EM – PTGAC5EM

The top 11 equivalent boosters get the majority of their percentage from equivalents. 7 of them are sponsored academies.

The average sponsored academy nationally has an equivalent boost of 15%.

School Name Type GCSE+

Equivalent

GCSE

Only

Equivalent

Boost

Moseley Park AC

74%

13%

61%

Deansfield Community School,

Specialists In Media Arts

CY

72%

19%

53%

Archbishop Sentamu Academy AC

63%

13%

50%

The Steiner Academy Hereford AC

73%

23%

50%

Outwood Academy Ripon ACC

71%

22%

49%

Aylesford School – Sports College FD

59%

11%

48%

King Edward VI Academy AC

63%

23%

40%

Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy AC

72%

32%

40%

Wilmington Academy AC

71%

31%

40%

Fyndoune Community College CY

75%

36%

39%

Abraham Darby Academy AC

61%

22%

39%

The bottom 15 equivalent boosters all have zero boost. 10 are academy converters and 9 have “Grammar” in the name. And, while there are 119 schools in the country with “Grammar” in the name, there are only 15 with zero boost.

The average academy converter has an equivalent boost of 5%.

School Name Type GCSE+
Equivalent
GCSE
Only
Equivalent
Boost
The Blue Coat School ACC

100%

100%

0%

Urmston Grammar Academy ACC

99%

99%

0%

Kendrick School ACC

99%

99%

0%

Torquay Girls Grammar School ACC

99%

99%

0%

Barton Court Grammar School ACC

99%

99%

0%

Gravesend Grammar School ACC

99%

99%

0%

The King’s School, Grantham ACC

99%

99%

0%

Alcester Grammar School ACC

99%

99%

0%

The King Edward VI Grammar School,

Louth

FD

96%

96%

0%

Chatham Grammar School for Girls ACC

94%

94%

0%

Plymouth High School for Girls CY

93%

93%

0%

Dover Grammar School for Boys FD

92%

92%

0%

Loreto College ACC

88%

88%

0%

Batley Grammar School F

81%

81%

0%

Madani Girls’ School VA

63%

63%

0%

For comparison, the average community school boosts 8%, foundation 9%, VA 5%, and VC 4%.

 

Average capped point score per pupil in best 8 subjects

TTAPSECP = TTAPSCP – TTAPSGCP

The top 10 equivalent boosters get the majority of their average points from equivalents. Again, 7 out of 10 are sponsored academies.

40 points is equivalent to a grade-C GCSE, so these schools are getting 5 or 6 grade-C GCSE equivalents from non-GCSEs.

The average sponsored academy boosts by 112 points, or almost 3 grade-C GCSEs.

School Name Type GCSE+
Equivalent
GCSE
Only
Equivalent
Boost
Barnfield Skills Academy FSS

344.1

78.6

265.5

Bolton St Catherine’s Academy AC

351.6

107.7

243.9

Skegness Academy AC

375.6

133.8

241.8

Northumberland CofE Academy AC

349.4

123.4

226.0

North Liverpool Academy AC

363.5

137.6

225.9

Moseley Park AC

369.3

143.8

225.5

Aylesford School – Sports College FD

369.7

145.9

223.8

Brumby Engineering College CY

383.7

163.3

220.4

Outwood Academy Adwick AC

369.9

151.7

218.2

The Mirus Academy AC

310.9

95.2

215.7

The bottom 15 equivalent boosters are the same 15 we saw above. The average academy converter boosts by 47 points, or just over 1 grade-C GCSE.

School Name Type GCSE+
Equivalent
GCSE
Only
Equivalent
Boost
Kendrick School ACC

449.6

449.6

                    0.0
The Blue Coat School ACC

439.1

439.1

                  0.0

Torquay Girls Grammar School ACC

425.4

425.4

                  0.0

Alcester Grammar School ACC

423.6

423.6

                  0.0

The King’s School, Grantham ACC

407.2

407.2

                  0.0

Urmston Grammar Academy ACC

405.3

405.3

                  0.0

Barton Court Grammar School ACC

404.2

404.2

                  0.0

Gravesend Grammar School ACC

393.1

393.1

                  0.0

The King Edward VI Grammar School,

Louth

FD

391.3

391.3

                  0.0

Plymouth High School for Girls CY

386.6

386.6

                  0.0

Chatham Grammar School for Girls ACC

385.6

385.6

                  0.0

Loreto College ACC

383.3

383.3

                  0.0

Dover Grammar School for Boys FD

367.8

367.8

                  0.0

Batley Grammar School F

364.0

364.0

                  0.0

Madani Girls’ School VA

355.5

355.5

                  0.0

Community schools boost 66 points, foundation 74, VA 45, and VC 46.

 

Value added measure based on the best 8 subjects

B8VAMEA

Calculating an equivalent boost for the value-added measure based on the best 8 subjects (B8VAMEA) is more challenging.

B8VAMEA is based on a pupil-level cubic regression of TTAPSCP against KS2APS. I have, however, fairly successfully approximated B8VAMEA using a school-level quadratic regression of TTAPSCP against KS2APS.

I have then calculated value added measures for the GSCE-only TTAPSGCP and equivalent boost TTAPSECP above using similar school-level quadratic regressions. As I have used consistent models for all three measures, the total value added equals the sum of the GCSE-only value added and the equivalent boost value added.

A statistical regression model doesn’t have an opinion. This isn’t a measure of how much a school should be using equivalents; it’s simply a measure of what other schools with similar KS2APS intakes actually do. If the national pattern changes, the model will follow. When I talk of over- and under-boosters, I mean against the model, not my own subjective view.

The 2013 expected equivalent boost model is steeply downward sloping from 161 points at KS2APS=24 to 0 points at KS2APS=32. It has steepened slightly each year since 2011. The equivalent boost value added, therefore, is the excess over that model, and can be negative.

The top 10 overboosters list yet again contains 7 sponsored academies. The average sponsored academy overboosts by 21 points and the average foundation school overboosts by 2 points.

School Name Type DfE
Measure
GCSE+
Equivalent
GCSE
Only
Equivalent
Boost
King Edward VI Camp Hill

School for Boys

ACC

977.4

-1.3

-156.0

154.7

Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy AC

1027.7

30.6

-119.9

150.4

Brumby Engineering College CY

1044.4

47.7

-97.1

144.8

Appleton Academy AC

992.3

-1.7

-143.5

141.9

Outwood Academy Adwick AC

1028.6

36.0

-102.0

138.0

Skegness Academy AC

1048.1

50.3

-86.2

136.5

North Liverpool Academy AC

1033.2

34.2

-99.3

133.5

Bolton St Catherine’s Academy AC

1023.6

27.8

-105.5

133.3

Moseley Park AC

1044.5

40.9

-89.8

130.6

Parkside Academy ACC

1064.1

66.4

-55.4

121.7

To give some context here, Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy is in a tough area of Runcorn and is the successor to at least three previous failed schools, Halton Priory, Brookvale Comprehensive, and Halton High.

The fact that Ormiston Bolingbroke gets the results it does is a real achievement, when compared to its predecessors.

The top 10 underboosters include four community schools. The average community school underboosts by 2 points, as does the average academy converter.

The average VA school underboosts by 10 points, and the average VC school underboosts by 14.

School Name Type DfE
Measure
GCSE+
Equivalent
GCSE
Only
Equivalent
Boost
St Mary’s Catholic High School VA

990.0

-28.4

79.6

-108.0

George Mitchell School CY

997.5

-9.4

92.5

-101.9

Abraham Moss

Community School

CY

976.4

-23.6

77.0

-100.6

Manchester Health Academy AC

957.6

-50.0

50.1

-100.1

Beacon Hill Community School CY

961.1

-40.9

53.5

-94.4

Stephenson Studio School FSS

955.1

-53.7

36.3

-90.0

Whitmore High School CY

1,013.6

13.6

103.0

-89.4

St Michael’s Catholic

Secondary School

F

956.5

-76.4

11.3

-87.8

Great Yarmouth (VA) High School VA

974.6

-29.7

57.3

-87.0

Oxford Spires Academy AC

1,012.5

8.4

94.4

-86.0

I don’t know if Oxford Spires Academy’s appearance in this list will interest Warwick Mansell, given that he recently mentioned them in an article for The Guardian.

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/jan/21/gcse-pupils-disappearing-from-school-rolls

My concern here is that what these statistics show is the divergence of English schools into a two-tier self-selective system with “secondary post-moderns” overusing GCSE equivalent qualifications and “neogrammars” underusing them.

If money in local authorities continues to be tight, as it is here in Suffolk, free home-to-school transport may only be offered to the nearest school, and whether you end up going to a comprehensive, neogrammar or secondary post-modern may be a function of where you live, rather than your ability.

The equivalent boost has consequences and deserves investigating. DfE should include a GCSE-only value added measure in its performance tables.

Seckford Censured Again by ASA for Misleading Ixworth ‘Choice’ Ad

The Seckford Foundation Free Schools Trust has received a second formal reprimand from advertising watchdog ASA for a third misleading ad. The organisation is building up a track record for less-than-candid marketing.

Seckford’s ad for a proposed Ixworth Free School claimed that restructuring would leave children with no choice on leaving primary school. The Suffolk Coalition Opposing Free Schools (SCOFS) argued that this was misleading and could not be substantiated. The ASA agreed in a ruling published on Wed 30 Jan.

Parents in the Thurston catchment already send children to schools in Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket and elsewhere, and parents there send children to Thurston. School reorganisation won’t stop this. There is choice.

In fact, Ixworth Free School would reduce choice for children in the Thurston area. Children attending the Ixworth Free School would be limited by the restrictive curriculum proposed by Seckford, which does not meet the needs of all children and contains few choices. Children attending Thurston may have their choices reduced if smaller year sizes limit the range of courses that can be offered.

Seckford has repeatedly bent the truth in order to sell its struggling free school in Beccles. It’s sad to see them repeat the same behaviour in Ixworth. Parents seeking real choice should look elsewhere.

References:
This week’s ASA ruling
http://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications/2013/1/The-Seckford-Foundation-Free-Schools-Trust/SHP_ADJ_210053.aspx

Previous ASA rulings against Seckford
http://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications.aspx?SearchTerms=Seckford

ASA Censures Seckford Over Second Misleading Ad

After trouble with the Advertising Standards Authority last year over improper use of the phrase “outstanding school” despite not having been judged so by Ofsted, Suffolk’s troubled education provider, The Seckford Foundation Free Schools Trust, has once again fallen foul of the ad regulator in a ruling published yesterday.

The controversial organisation runs two undersized secondary schools in Beccles and Saxmundham, failed to open a third in Stoke-by-Nayland and is currently battling to open one in Ixworth against a rival bid supported by local parents, primary schools and the Church of England.

Beccles Free School (BFS) in hot water for describing its headteacher, John Lucas, as “a former inspector and Director of Learning for Cambridgeshire”. A similarly misleading description appears in a profile attributed to Lucas on the professional networking site LinkedIn.

Unfortunately, Director of Learning for Cambridgeshire County Council is a real post that Lucas has never held.

Suffolk Coalition Opposing Free Schools (SCOFS) argued, and the ASA agreed, that this phrase significantly inflated the seniority of Lucas’s previous roles.

In an astonishing display of arrogance, BFS attempted to defend the description with reference to Lucas’s two previous roles.

Most recently, Lucas was Vice Principal and Director of Learning at Thomas Clarkson Community College, the worst performing secondary school in Cambridgeshire and 16th worst in the country at GCSE.

Prior to that, he was a General Inspector, Standards and Effectiveness, reporting to a Head of Standards and Effectiveness who, in turn, reported, ironically, to the actual Director of Learning for Cambridgeshire County Council.

In a feeble gesture, BFS offered to slightly change the offending phrase to the equally misleading “Director of Learning in Cambridgshire”, a solution the ASA rejected.

In the same ad, BFS also claimed to have passed an Ofsted pre-opening inspection “with flying colours”, despite the fact that this is a routine health, safety, welfare and suitability check with only a simple yes/no outcome. The ASA also found this claim misleading.

References:

ASA ruling of 9 Jan 2013
http://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications/2013/1/The-Seckford-Foundation-Free-Schools-Trust/SHP_ADJ_208824.aspx

LinkedIn profile attributed to John Lucas
http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/john-lucas/15/708/459

Organisation structure for Cambridgeshire County Council, including Children and Young People’s Services and its Director of Learning
http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/council/depts

News story on Thomas Clarkson Community College’s GCSE league table position
http://www.cambstimes.co.uk/news/wisbech_confirmed_by_league_tables_as_having_16th_worst_school_in_the_country_1_1193180

With these tiny year sizes, neither Seckford free school is either popular or viable.

Following a freedom of information request to Suffolk County Council, this blog can reveal the official pupil counts as at 10 July 2012 for entry to new Suffolk free schools in September 2012. They paint a sad picture of free school unpopularity and failure.

 

Name of School
Y7 Pupils
Y8 Pupils
Y9 Pupils
Total
Beccles Free School 11 15 16 42
Saxmundham Free School 20 21 44 85
IES Breckland School 67 61 62 190

It is hard to see how a school with cohorts of such small size will be able to deliver the kind of quality maths and triple science education needed to get the brightest pupils into our leading universities while providing a meaningful route into employment for those for whom such an academic curriculum is too challenging. Since Seckford have failed to convince me otherwise on either count, I firmly believe they will fail both ends of the ability spectrum.

 

Based on these year sizes, I don’t think it would be wise to send any child to do their GCSEs at any of these three schools in any of the three year groups. The tiny Y7 and Y8 groups are unlikely to grow significantly once school has started. The slightly less tiny Y9 group needs to start on GCSE courses almost straight away, so by the time they realise it’s not working, it will be too late for those pupils to fully recover, even if they switch schools. So, for different reasons, parents should conclude that the free school gamble isn’t worth it.

 

I would shut both of the Seckford free schools immediately. Even if the two Seckford free schools were to merge, as Peter Aldous and Mark Bee have urged them to do, the combined school is still unlikely to be viable as some parents may choose not to go to the new location.

 

These figures are in clear contrast to the 48% increase claimed by Seckford in a recent press article. Based on the Suffolk CC figures, the increase at Beccles is below 14%.

 

There are two possible interpretations of the numbers. If the Suffolk CC figures are accurate, then sensible parents are thinking twice about their choice and bailing out of the ill-advised and risky Seckford free schools as quickly as new parents are being recruited in response to Seckford’s advertising campaign.

 

If the Suffolk CC figures are not accurate, then there is really no reason to believe Seckford’s are any more accurate and nobody has a complete picture of the defections to and from the free schools. We won’t be sure until September which way parents who had considered both schools are going to jump. September may not be the end of the story either, as parents see the reality of a tiny free school, realise their mistake, and transfer to a full size school before the end of the first term.

 

In a situation where many neighbouring schools still have vacancies for September 2012, there are no effective deadlines to switching schools. Parents at Seckford free schools who are having doubts should not hesitate to have an exploratory chat with the head or a senior teacher at Sir John Lehman, Bungay, Pakefield, East Point, Stradbroke, Thomas Mills, Leiston, or Farlingaye to find out if there isn’t a better way to educate their child. Parents should not feel the least bit guilty about either making a late switch or having a conversation and then deciding not to, even after the start of next term. Search for the school on the Internet and call the number on their web site directly. You will find them very happy to talk.

 

Your children should come first. Choose wisely. The responsibility for dealing with this mess will end up with the DfE and the taxpayer.