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GCSE League tables: why don't they separate out 'selective' from 'comps'?

(73 Posts)
Erebus Sun 27-Jan-13 12:44:41

Guess I have to at least acknowledge the separation of private from state in The Torygraph tables! That's reasonably new. Especially seeing as those dumb Torygraph writers just cannot understand why a selective, fee paying school produces better academic results when compared to a local takes-all-comers comp, saying 'the state schools should learn from the private schools...' what, like barring entry to their hallowed halls to the less clever, the potentially disruptive and the poor? Watch every school in the country 'improve' if they could select their intake!

Now I'd like to see a separation of selective from non-selective in order to compare academic results a little more fairly.

here if you're at all interested

sausagesandwich34 Sun 27-Jan-13 21:37:37

the other issue I have is they don't distinguish how many GCSEs each pupil sits but they are ranked on points scored so the more you sit the more points you score

our local grammar sit 9 as a maximum and produces nearly all A*&A grades

our local accademy top sets sit anything up to 15 GCSEs with a much wider spread of grades

what on earth is the point?

TalkinPeace2 Sun 27-Jan-13 21:49:45

The huge numbers of GCSE takes is now history - it was only possible under the modular system as kids could take exams in 3, 4, 5 or the full 6 terms.
Now that the exams are almost all now end examined, the number of subjects is dropping back to 10 or 11 (DD is doing 12 but she is top of top sets)
AND the BTec's worth 4 (supposedly) have been shut down.

sausagesandwich34 Sun 27-Jan-13 21:51:21

fair enough, I knw this year's cohort are doing it -will they be the last ones?

TalkinPeace2 Sun 27-Jan-13 21:58:18

Yup. DD is in year 10. She faces 30 exams at the end of year 11 - even allowing for the two she is doing early and the one that is almost all coursework (art)

the Btecs are still there, they have just had their false added value removed.
the non academic kids at the school already do day release at technical college
The only GCSE's the lowest groups take are English, Maths, a Science and a Humanity.

JoanByers Sun 27-Jan-13 22:46:05

I just think it's as meaningless to compare one 'comprehensive' with an intake of middle class high achievers, with another where 50% are on FSMs.

The most successful schools, 'comprehensive' and selective, are defined by their intake, and even in fairly homogenous, generally middle class areas the most successful comprehensives are impossible to get into if you don't live in the right postcode or go to the right church.

They aren't good schools so much as good children arriving at 11.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 28-Jan-13 09:33:04

What an INCREDIBLY defeatist attitude towards social mobility.

Its lucky that people like Michael Faraday or John Harrison or Steve Jobs did not have people like you in their early lives.

The whole point of Universal free education is to release children from the shackles of their birth and upbringing.

Glad I don't know you.

JoanByers Mon 28-Jan-13 13:20:01


Any individual has the opportunity to break the shackles of their upbringing, but when you are talking about league tables, statistics, you are dealing in aggregate, and in aggregate there are undeniable trends.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 28-Jan-13 14:32:44

I really couldn't give a monkeys which school achieved the highest results, nor what other peoples dc have achieved. To me the important thing is how well my dc are doing and that they can learn independently and reach their potential. Ime this is greatly down to the dc not the school they attend. Or is this too simple a philosophy

PureQuintessence Mon 28-Jan-13 14:37:09

I rather they showed the results of all schools regardless of LEA, in a 1-2-3-4-5 mile radius of my own postcode. THAT would be helpful. I would not have to both look at Kensington and Chelsea, Hounslow, Merton, Wandsworth AND Richmond to find the schools that could possibly apply to my child.

It is interesting to see that some of the independent selectives are not that far off our top choice school.....

TalkinPeace2 Mon 28-Jan-13 15:28:31
has it in map form ....

PureQuintessence Mon 28-Jan-13 15:33:42

Thanks, sadly the areas I need dont lend themselves to a rectangular map. If they had a map where I could draw, like on Rightmove, I would be happy.

Not demanding at all, me. <sigh>

Xenia Mon 28-Jan-13 15:33:54

FT secondary school league tables has a map and ranks by A level results rather than just geography.

Original post assumes non selectives are comps. There are lots of private schools which take children of all types and plenty that only take children who are not at all bright.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 28-Jan-13 15:39:19

Download the data sets and sort by LEA then postcode - you can extract the ones you need

agree with Xenia about non selective fee paying - about half are like that outside London.

PureQuintessence Mon 28-Jan-13 15:47:31

Good idea, I will try, thanks!

Erebus Mon 28-Jan-13 20:44:52

xenia- Q:'Original post assumes non selectives are comps. There are lots of private schools which take children of all types and plenty that only take children who are not at all bright.'

Actual OP :'GCSE League tables: why don't they separate out 'selective' from 'comps'? Guess I have to at least acknowledge the separation of private from state in The Torygraph tables!'

So where have I assumed non-selective state schools are comps? In keeping with the maybe 93% of us who don't privately educate, I actually take no notice whatsoever of private school results. I am actually surprised that the Torygraph has actually acknowledged that you'd be comparing apples with oranges in that respect and separated them out. However, I imagine it's been done for Quentin and Caroline to feel sure that Hugo and Jocasta's school is 'better' than Phoebe and Henry's down the Close without having to trawl through any jolly upstart state school statistics complicating things grin rather than an acknowledgement that you cannot compare fee paying schools which by their very nature select from the off with a swathe of other schools where the majority cannot legally, academically select.

My point is that it'd actually be fairer and more meaningful to separate out state schools according to selectivity or not. In answer to an earlier question about 'where would you put my DC's school that 25% academically selects, the rest being distance/catchment?', I'd say in a category labelled 'partly selective school (say) 10-25% selection.

teacherwith2kids Mon 28-Jan-13 20:56:34

Erebus, to be honest it is not necessarily more helpful to divide schools into academically selective / non selective than it would be to divide them into bands according to other criteria which may in fact have more bearing, e.g. %FSM, %SEN, or in fact average parental income or average parental level of education.

My local comprehensive / secondary modern has exceptionally low FSM and SEN, very high average parental income and average parental level of education. That makes it totally different from another school that while teachnically not a secondary modern (in the sense of not being an 'other' school in a partially selective area) serves a very different type of population - and more different from another comprehensive than the difference between it and the grammar in the next town IYSWIM?

Xenia Mon 28-Jan-13 21:16:13

If you have a bright child then it's a good thing to see tables which are not value added at all but show within both state, private, selective comp which ones get the best A levels because then you can ensure your child is educated with other bright children and thus they do well. Mixed tables on pure exam results are therefore a pretty good test. I don't sit there saying oh dear there's a state school made it to the top 20 why don't they weed them out. I think it's helpful to know how all schools are doing based on pure A level results in proper subjects.

CaseyShraeger Mon 28-Jan-13 21:23:39

I'm not sure that's entirely right, Xenia, even from your perspective. For example, Tiffin Girls gets good results, no doubt about that. But when you consider just how selective it is -- girls bus in from really quite huge distances to take the test -- some parents question whether the results are quite as good as they ought to be and whether they shouldn't be even better. Could it be that the teaching isn't as good as it might be, the school are coasting a bit by relying too much on the quality of their intake to maintain their results, and that the same girls could get even better results elsewhere?

Disclaimer: I have no specific knowledge of whether that's actually the case with Tiffin Girls. But I have heard others have the argument discussion so I know it's something that is questioned. And say, hypothetically, that it were true -- looking at pure exam results would hide the (hypothetical) fact that the pupils weren't being properly stretched.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 28-Jan-13 21:24:14

I like the raw data best. No political slants either way.
The most interesting bit is the "out of catchment" figures by LEA that come out soon .... they highlight the reasons for many disparities.

happygardening Mon 28-Jan-13 21:55:46

xenia do we as parents need league tables to tell us which schools get the best result and to ensure our DC's are educated with other bright children? In the independent sector most parents are pretty knowledgable nearly all schools publish on their websites their results frequently in micro detail and often different from league tables where results don't always seem to tally often results appear to be over and under inflated in comparison with the individual schools website. Assuming we do have super bright children who we want educated with like minded children the league tables also don't tell us whether school A 9th in the league table is more suitable for our individual DC than school B 10th in the league table.

Erebus Tue 29-Jan-13 11:03:07

talkin- what are 'out of catchment' figures? What do they measure? Not heard of them!

TalkinPeace2 Tue 29-Jan-13 13:01:16

They measure the number of children at a school / schools in an LEA who do not live in that LEA.
They therefore highlight where boundary effects are a greater impact on results that teaching.
As an example, 10% of all the children who live in Southampton go to Secondary school outside Southampton.
In some of the really poor LEAs in Liverpool its nearly 20%
And you can bet that those children are the higher achieving ones.
So they distort one school's results up and another's down.

The figures also highlight the insanity of London schools where kids go all over

Xenia Wed 30-Jan-13 10:56:56

hg, they helped parents not in the know, that is why I like them. I think parents who know about the best schools don't need tables but even then it helps. If a school year by year is doing worse and worse that is a useful indicator,. If they just have one bad year then that isn't so important.

Yes, I know it may not show how good the school's results ought to have been given its selection but it is still pure data and a parent who knows nothing much about schools can say okay North London Collegiate where one of mine went is at X position and the local comp near my house gets 8% with 5 decent GCSEs. I had a local man, posted in the forces from abroad moving here, knew nothing about English schools who just assumed the school closest to our house would be the best one for his daughter. I hope to goodness he has done some research and not just relied on that school (the 8% one) is yards from his house and in his country you go to the nearest school. Tables help people like him.

TotallyBS Wed 30-Jan-13 11:13:58

If an indie wants £15k pa per child from me then I want to know how they stack up against other local and national schools.

At lot of parents are like me in that they are prepared to pay for academic excellence but if the academics are no better than the local comp then the nice pristine grounds isn't worth the fees.

happygardening Wed 30-Jan-13 11:26:30

"At lot of parents are like me in that they are prepared to pay for academic excellence but if the academics are no better than the local comp then the nice pristine grounds isn't worth the fees."
So at the end of the day Totally your paying for results? I hope and in fact know that good independent schools are not just about results. I have no doubt that my DS could get the same results from our excellent local comp (or the one of the countries top performing grammar 40 miles up the road where he was offered a place) thats assuming he doesn't either die of boredom or reek havoc through boredom but what I cant get is all the other stuff that makes him 1. an more rounded person and 2. a more satisfied and content person which then spreads into his academic life.

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