Proposed new alternative to DfE school league tables: your thoughts?

(75 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread. Read here.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 13-Aug-14 11:45:45

Hello,

We've been approached about a new initiative which is being launched by the two head teachers’ unions (ASCL and NAHT), United Learning and PiXL to see whether we would like to work with them on the development of a set of alternative performance measures for schools, and as ever we'd like to know what you think.

They say: 'what we want to do is produce performance tables that reflect all the aspects of a school that parents are interested in, not just its exam results.'

For this autumn, their tables will be based on GCSE results data, uploaded by schools themselves to this site but earlier than the government-released figures. In years to come, the idea is to add extra measures, in an attempt to give parents information about things like curriculum breadth, extra-curricular activities, facilities, and children's personal development - all things that those involved believe are not adequately conveyed by DfE data as it stands.

As part of this process, the people behind the project would like to know what MNers think: about the idea of alternative performance tables generally, about what specific and additional measures (if any) you'd like to see included as the tables develop, and about whether you think it would be a good idea for Mumsnet to be one of the ways that the project interacts with parents and seeks their views over the next few years.

So, over to you! Any thoughts and input welcome.

Thanks
MNHQ

nlondondad Wed 13-Aug-14 12:49:13

I think this is a really interesting initiative.

The two main issues with the current league tables (in my opinion) are:-

1. An over reliance on quantative data, partly because figures look more "objective"

2. A failure to put the data in context; they really need a commentary.

Additional information, some but not all, of a qualitative nature plus explanatory notes would be a definite improvement.

lecherrs Wed 13-Aug-14 12:55:41

I also think this is a great idea.

I think too often, people look just at the data and do my consider the bigger picture. Whilst it is important, and needs to be part of the equation, it can be hard finding out all the other information about the schools. So I would welcome this (both as a teacher and as a parent!).

BigDeskBob Wed 13-Aug-14 14:03:18

I'd like to know how many teachers have been assessed as 'good' and 'outstanding'. I would like to know that the teachers are qualified to teach the subject they are teaching, that is, a maths teacher has a mathematics degree and is not a very enthusiastic PE teacher.

I would also be interested to know the % of classes were there is no qualified teacher present in the classroom.

Never going to happen, is it?

MrsHathaway Wed 13-Aug-14 14:07:19

I want more weight put on Value Added rather than raw results.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Wed 13-Aug-14 14:13:21

Having just taken DD out of a United Learning school I would question anything they promote. I have never experienced a school which valued form over substance so wholeheartedly and I would be wary that this is just a way for them to add another glossy page to their marketing brochures.

telsa Wed 13-Aug-14 14:41:13

How many times police were called to the school

Coolas Wed 13-Aug-14 14:45:38

I would want to know the % staff turnover each year for past 5 years and the number of these who leave mid year. That tells a very important story about staff happiness and the ability of the school to retain staff.

I would want to know the average number of years a form group keeps its tutor. That tells you first of all how consistent an experience the children are having and secondly the importance placed on pastoral work.

I would want to know the % of NQTs a school had. A few is good but too many can indicate a school wanting to hire staff on the cheap.

Coolas Wed 13-Aug-14 14:50:57

Bigdeskbob - schools are moving away from assessing individual lessons and any info about the number of outstanding lessons etc would therefore be hard to come by.
Having a degree in a subject is not necessarily the sign of a good teacher. There is a teacher at our school who is absolutely amazing and is an MFL graduate. He teaches English as well and his results and value added for his class was the best in the faculty (over and above an Oxford and a Cambridge graduate).
We have 2 teachers who have doctorates in the science subjects and both of them really struggle.

Coolas Wed 13-Aug-14 15:07:31

Should be easy to find out where there is no qualified teacher in the room

Wickeddevil Wed 13-Aug-14 15:43:47

This could be a very good idea. I would like to understand the results in the context of the local area, and also understand the effect of the variation of exam boards.

How many children achieved their potential?
How many children went on to employment or vocational courses? Ie not just RG
How does the school deliver a rounded education?

Hillbilly71 Wed 13-Aug-14 15:48:20

I have two bright children at a comprehensive in a good catchment that is graded 'outstanding' but parents criticise the school for coasting and there is a culture of hiring tutors. I have no idea how to test whether it is coasting as tutors will distort results although I think it was the The Guardian that did an alternative performance measure table where they looked at the results compared with similar catchment schools (sorry can't find link). Our school didn't do well.

I know my children are bored of constant disruption from other children who don't want to learn. Setting may alleviate this a bit but our school only sets in year 8 upwards for 2 subjects (these 2 subjects coincidentally my children have made progress in). Maybe a description of what is setted so parents can make up their own minds if this is useful?

Agree a measure on staff turnover, especially through the year, in bigger schools interesting.

Definitely % time they got a designated subject qualified teacher in the classroom (not a cover supply, student teacher, teaching assistant etc as the assigned teachers have been sent over to another school to convey just how outstanding they are).

Soveryupset Wed 13-Aug-14 19:19:04

Good idea. I would also like to know:
1 - Turnover of teachers
2 - Percentage of days staff have taken off sick (for the whole school, but still this is a HUGE problem at our school)

roguedad Wed 13-Aug-14 20:26:43

I'd like to see iGCSEs included in the results again - their deletion by Gove's mafia seriously distorts results. Decent measures of Value Added are also particularly useful too, as so many league tables are distorted by not normalising against the level of the starting pupils.

Coolas Wed 13-Aug-14 21:23:35

I would also like the government to do anonymous online exit interviews for all schools. Teachers rarely say they are leaving due to being unhappy with the school due to fear of references. This could then be published as detail of turnover. Ie, " 26% of staff left with 14% giving the reason as poor leadership. "

Hillbilly71 Thu 14-Aug-14 01:51:52

Found the link I wanted earlier:
www.theguardian.com/education/gcse-schools-guide

I like the School Impact column which does this:

"This measures how an individual school improves the performance of its pupils in GCSE exams. It compares a school’s results with the national average of results by pupils with similar performance at earlier key stage levels. The comparison has three categories: above average, average and below average. Schools with above-average impact perform better than expected, given the pupil intake and context of its students."

I work in education and have experience of many of the local schools. This 'school impact' measure ties in with what I expected.

WaffleWiffle Thu 14-Aug-14 02:10:07

- Quote value added scores in a way the average parent actually understands

- Comparisons to similar schools

- Pupil and staff attendance figures

- A measure of the quality of teaching and learning (not sure which measure though?)

- Number of As and A*s per child as a show of how well higher ability pupils do

BigfootFiles Thu 14-Aug-14 08:40:02

I think it sounds interesting. I would like to see something about bullying in there - not "how many cases of bullying were there?" but "how many parents felt that bullying had been resolved successfully?". I'm very suspicious of schools that say "we have no cases of bullying", as bullying is something that happens everywhere - if you have no cases it's because you choose not to see it. It's how bullying is dealt with that's important. I know of instances were parents are actively discouraged from pursuing complaints about bullying, and its minimised so reports don't have to be filled out - it all boils down massaging the official figures which are in the hands of the school.

Smilesandpiles Thu 14-Aug-14 10:16:58

How many complaints made to the school about the pupils behaviour in the grounds and outside of the grounds.

Agree with the bullying thing, our school is terrible for dealing with it and I've had to get the police in already because of the schools soft/non existent approach.

SeagullsAndSand Thu 14-Aug-14 10:23:21

I'm not keen.

We have a very weak head who relies on school intake and parental input to get results.He is an expert at withholding info from parents,massaging figures and focusing on areas many quite frankly couldn't give a shit about in comparison to progress,ensuring all children reach their full potential etc.

I can see this helping such heads and confusing parents.

Eg Our head put on our website under Ofsted inspection the results of the church inspection which was mighty different to the actual Ofsted inspection giving it loads of screen space,photos etc.I know a few who didn't realise and thought the church one was the one issued by Ofsted.

I can see this initiative being used to cover up crap results.

Surely a school prospectus/ website is supposed to contain all such info.There is no need for more performance tables.Also if heads can put their own info on they can say what they like ie "we offer a wide breadth of extra curricular team sports"(ignoring the fact that only the very able are allowed to take part) etc,etc.

Sorry I've had a bellyful of smarm,fact twisting and good things being focusing on in order to deflect from the crap.

Bramshott Thu 14-Aug-14 14:02:15

I'm cautiously keen. Anything which gives a bigger picture, in an easy to digest format has got to be useful.

senua Thu 14-Aug-14 18:10:36

I heard about this on the radio. I gather that Gove is going to change the results data to only show the exam grade given at first attempt. This website wants to continue with the old scheme i.e. show the final grade after numerous resits.

What scheme is in place to ensure:
correctness of data i.e is the website relaible, and
proper comparability between schools?

Value-added is the most important thing. I don't care how the rest of the school achieves in general; I want to know that my DC will be able/encouraged to to their best.

senua Thu 14-Aug-14 18:11:31

oops. It's not Gove any more.blush

ouryve Thu 14-Aug-14 23:03:31

I would like to see the inclusivity of a school published (not just by race/culture but by SEN, kids with statements, EHCP etc) and a separate tally of how kids in those groups do, so they're not lost in the entire stats.

Would be nice for a lot of parents to be able to see that a school has 1000 kids, but only about half a dozen on the SEN register and they on average only make no progress whatsoever per key stage. Likewise, a school with 1000 kids and 150 with SEN of some sort, making on average well over a level of progress per key stage. Not just for parents of kids with SEN, but for others who need to know that all kids are taught well, regardless of ability.

Coolas Thu 14-Aug-14 23:33:42

ouryve - that should be straightforward to do. Schools have to report on all groups (FSM/LAC/PP/SEN etc) so it would be no hardship to show this.

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