How do you find out a schools true GCSE performmance? also how important is the EBACC? where can I find out about GCSE result trends?

(17 Posts)
EdwiniasRevenge Tue 24-Sep-13 18:03:02

I can obviously find data on how many pupils acheived 5 A*-C with and without maths and english.

But am I right in thinking these still include GCSE equivalents in the form of BTECs? I l.e. can I find out how a school has done just based on the GCSE performance?

Also - how important to the pupil is the EBACC? I know that it is being used for school league tables but do pupils really need it for university entrance? The reason ibam asking is that dcs are really not great at French and I am questioning whether a good result in another subject will be more important to them than a potentially weak result in French.

Finally is there anywhere I can find data on GCSE result trends. My dcs are actually only in yr 8 but we have to apply for there next school by the end of October so am weighing up different options. As they obviously won't be doing their GCSEs for a few years I want to look at and compare trends rather than just this years results.

senua Tue 24-Sep-13 19:11:46

The Dfes website gives performance details going back to 1994. Is that enough trend for you? smile

ErrolTheDragon Tue 24-Sep-13 19:20:28

You can ask schools for their actual results by subject - when we were looking at secondary schools for DD we asked and IIRC all the schools were happy to give us the data (for A levels too!). TBH if a school wouldn't give you the data I'd be a bit suspicious of them.

The EBACC is completely irrelevant to pupils - other than it does represent a 'rounded' set of subjects. In my view, a school which has EBACC score very close to its A*-C level may be one which is putting its league table place above what suits an individual child.

SanityClause Tue 24-Sep-13 19:22:19

A lot of university courses will expect a MFL at GCSE, even if they're nothing to do with language. Medicine, for example.

The EBacc really contains a lot of "facilitating subjects", so if a student was intending to go to university, doing the EBacc subjects is probably a good idea.

curlew Tue 24-Sep-13 19:24:38

A child aiming at university would be daft not to take the Ebacc subjects.

PurpleGirly Tue 24-Sep-13 19:36:37

Until BTECs are counted as one subject not two etc. then league tables don't show a true account. Look at the English and maths scores and the overall percentage for an idea.

Personally (as a mum and a teacher) I would look at the wider issues. If a two local schools have, say 76% and 69% I would visit both schools and get a feel for them - do a tour in the day, see the school at work. Could be the 69% is better - pupils may make more progress, do more academic subjects. Ask about the target grades of the school and see how close they were.

lljkk Tue 24-Sep-13 19:54:32

This debate goes round & round on MN, but short answer:

relatively very few uni courses require Ebacc subjects.

You seem quite ambitious, OP.

EdwiniasRevenge Tue 24-Sep-13 20:13:04

Its a really strange scenario tbh, I am comparing a school which has never taught core GCSEs (they are a middle school converting to 11-16 but have done a small amount of early entry yr9 astronomy and statistics I think).

The other possible school was once a 14-18 and now converted to 11-18.

I am trying to decide whether the very good results on paper (98% 5 A*-C) are skewed by Btecs at the upper school.
How the upper school performs at GCSE compared to national and local averages. How likely is a school new to teaching GCSEs to get comparable results.
The question about EBacc relates to the fact that the % is very low at the upper school (but is that because of Btecs?) But pupils are forced to do sn Ebacc combination at current school.

Its quite a unique situation to be deciding which school your child is going to do their GCSEs at the beginning of yr8.

Small school. Good atmosphere. Limit experience as a school of providing for GCSEs. Restrictive options for GCSE.

Big school. Poorer reputation. Long history of GCSE. Broad and flexible ks4 options. Trying to work out exactly how good the GCSE results are. Need to see during the day (which is in hand).

senua Tue 24-Sep-13 20:41:34

What qualification do Middle school teachers have - Primary teacher or Secondary teacher?

If you go to the 11-18 school then you will have teachers who go up to KS5 and have all that added knowledge. Some teachers don't like being limited to KS4 and avoid 11-16 schools.
The 11-16 school would mean having to move schools again after only three years (Y9, 10, 11).

EdwiniasRevenge Tue 24-Sep-13 21:00:42

They are currently at an 11-14 school which is in the process of extending to 16. My dtds will be the 3rd cohort to go through to 16 if they stay.

So I can move them at the end of yr9 to somewhere wih more experience at GCSE.
Or I can move them at the end of yr11 after they have done their GCSEs in a familiar but inexperienced school. I like the school but think that the bigger school offers more flexibility and broader and better opportunities.

So either way it is only 1 move. But when...

The teachers are secondary teachers and all new recruits have recent GCSE experience.

EdwiniasRevenge Tue 24-Sep-13 21:03:56

This will be a managed transition BTW because there current school is there catchment school at the moment but next year when the age range changes are complete the catchment boundaries change and we will be in the cathment area for the bigger more experienced school.

cricketballs Tue 24-Sep-13 22:09:26

Ebacc is a measure that the government suddenly threw at schools. The inclusion of an MFL goes against the NC which gives a MFL as an option - if not enough students chose the subject it would not run.

BTECS are now counted as one subject, so whilst there are branches of BTECs which are the equivalent to 1, 2, 4 GCSEs they are only counted as one subject for the league tables.

I seem to continuously have to say the same thing on MN - BTECs are not the devil - they are a very worthwhile qualification that has been down graded by Gove, the DM and the fact that some schools used them as a way to bolster the figures.

To be honest - if a school still offers BTEC given the league table madness I would consider it to be a school that takes into account its students need rather than being slaves to league tables and would count them as one who would take each student as an individual rather than a number

EdwiniasRevenge Tue 24-Sep-13 22:26:33

I completely support your view on BTECs cricket.

This school does still offer BTECs in vocational and arts based subject but seems to have taken them off the menu for core subjects like science which I think is where they were being used to steer pupils to a position which will benefit their league tables rather than the pupil iyswim.

In terms of helping me do what I can to deconvolute the league tables do you know when Btecs stopped inflating league table passes?

curlew Tue 24-Sep-13 22:45:34

You have looked at this haven't you?

cricketballs Tue 24-Sep-13 22:57:02

2014 tables will see the changes - only 2 BTECs allowed and no matter which qualification, they count as one subject.

I agree with you that science was an easy option for schools, together with others like OCR ICT (which although I was forced to deliver I think was a Mickey Mouse qualification and I hated it!) however if schools stop delivering completely then there will be a lot of students who fail to achieve a qualification in science which is not a good thing

muminlondon Tue 24-Sep-13 23:09:02

'what I can to deconvolute the league tables'

The 2012 performance tables (2013 ones due January 2014) give the 5 GCSE results inc English and Maths without equivalents if you look at the first column under the tab 'KS4 Exam Results'. It's worth looking at Ebacc entries per subject and ability group too. Depending on intake it's a tricky balance between getting good headline results and providing a curriculum and options suitable for each ability group. You don't want children set up to fail any more than a curriculum that doesn't provide the right opportunities for children capable of passing.

EdwiniasRevenge Wed 25-Sep-13 00:07:28

Thankyou for all the links. That is great

I will have a closer look tomorrow.

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