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48% 5 Gcses A-C... Absolute no?

(67 Posts)
SwiftRelease Sun 28-Sep-14 13:59:08

Just canvassing opinion re dd2 for next year. Local secondary got 48% through 5 Gcses A-C inc maths & English this year, similar results previous 2 years. V offputting but some local parents v positive about school overall. Thoughts pls?

OhMyActualDays Sun 28-Sep-14 14:01:58

Same as the one where I work and I feel sad people think we are an absolute no based on this percentage. What level are the children when they arrive? What's the value added? Are the children happy? Is there bullying? My school is full of dedicated, hardworking professionals who are making a real difference in difficult circumstances. Soul destroying.

LIZS Sun 28-Sep-14 14:02:35

I would imagine there is a polarity in achievement. What is the intake like demographically? Suspect that those that are more able get encouraged to the nines, those that aren't get by. Where do they tend to go post GCSE ?

OhMyActualDays Sun 28-Sep-14 14:09:30

I'm sorry, overreaction to a touchy subject blush. But please give all the schools a chance. We have dozens a year moving to us because the higher achieving schools either side of us are not the right fit for that child.

SugarPlumTree Sun 28-Sep-14 14:28:50

Similar to DD's. We took lots of factors into account . It loses children to 4 Grammar Schools, due to excellent pastoral care it gets children who have not coped well in other places and pupils feel safe there. We spike to parents with children there, visited and read Ofsted.

Without doubt it has been an excellent choice for DD. not sure it is the right place for DS who is very different but will look decide in a couple of year's when the time comes.

My friend's DS's have both gone into the 6th form this year and refused to look at other options. They both are likel to have passed 11 plus if they had sat it. She has another child with SN so has experience right across the board and is very happy. I currently have a group of lovely teens from there giggling in my living room.

Go and have a look with an open mind. I had told DD a few years before there is no way she would be going but changed my mind when I went .

thatstoast Sun 28-Sep-14 15:52:12

Can I ask what the alternative is? Where does you eldest go?

thatstoast Sun 28-Sep-14 15:52:46


marne2 Sun 28-Sep-14 15:59:43

Try not to worry too much, base your judgements on the school as a whole. The school dd1 is going to had a 91% pass rate A-E but the amount of students getting A* and A's was quite low ( which worried me a little ), apparently this year saw some of the worse results due to a change in part of the curriculum during their last option year, not sure if I have got that correct? I'm sure someone will correct me smile, have you looked at the results from previous years?

marne2 Sun 28-Sep-14 16:01:19

Sorry, meant 'A-D' not 'A-E'.

BackforGood Sun 28-Sep-14 16:07:26

What OhMyActual said.
Also agree with everyone else - go and look.
These things can get a bit 'chicken and egg' - academic parents of academic dc don't send their dc there, because it has a lower % than they would like, so the intake is less academic, so there is a pretty strong correlation that the % won't go up, however good the school is. That said, 1/2 the dc do get the pass rate set as "the" baseline. Is there a reason you don't think your dc will be in that half?

SwiftRelease Sun 28-Sep-14 18:38:07

Thanks. V helpful to canvass views. Yes visited but not v recently. Will go again with open mind, cant helpmfinding results worrying though.

Bunbaker Sun 28-Sep-14 18:54:13

"Sorry, meant 'A-D' not 'A-E'."

Shouldn't that be A - C? Isn't that the benchmark that is usually used?

The government have just introduced Progress 8 which is a type of value added measure and will be used as a standard as well as GCSE results. This should give a better picture of a school rather than just focussing on results.

titchy Sun 28-Sep-14 18:56:41

Any reason to think your kids will be in the half that don't get the magic five? How many of last years year 11s got 10 A to Cs? Why wouldn't your kids be part of that percentage?

titchy Sun 28-Sep-14 18:59:07

Put it this way - if your kids are set 1 kids, then you should really be looking at the results of the rest of the set 1 kids, and not be distracted by the results of the set 2 - 5 kids who your kids will never be in a class with.

Dad164 Sun 28-Sep-14 22:01:28

Our local is similar. There are lots of alternatives which draw people away from the local co-ed comp - faith schools, single sex schools, grammars and independents. Girls in particular seem to have a lot of choice with single sex faith schools, leaving the co-ed comp with less than a third girls.

I did a huge amount of due diligence on the school to give it a chance including sessions with the head to understand how they deal with high attainers etc

The school does have workings in place to help high attainers but the sad truth comes from the teachers themselves that feel they don't have enough resource, time or a large enough cohort to get the best from high attainers. With a large proportion of low attainers a lot of good work goes into getting them to C level and above - this helps the majority but not the minority.

In the end, I chickened out.

Honsepricesarecrazy Sun 28-Sep-14 22:42:31

For me that would be an absolute no. I wouldn't consider it. My eldest is at an 85% A-C comprehensive. He's an able boy who would probably do well anywhere but my priority is that even if he decides that he isn't going to put any effort in the chances are that he will come out with a batch of passes. I know that there are a million reasons why the school with that level of passes might still be good but it's not a risk I would be prepared to take.

merlehaggard Mon 29-Sep-14 08:15:55

I would also find it worrying but not a deal breaker. Have been in a similar situation and chose a 60%+ school. However, the difference between those percentages are not vast so definitely all the other factors need to be considered. To be honest, less than 40% would be a deal breaker for me regardless of the other factors.

Explored Mon 29-Sep-14 08:32:28

48% sounds quite good to me, based on our local schools.

If everyone's getting 5 a-c, then what's the point? Surely for the exams to have any value, a reasonable % need to fail. Obviously we don't want them to be our children but there's something wrong if everyone can pass surely?

As far as this school is concerned, it depends entirely on the intake. If It's a grammar taking only the top 5% then something's gone very wrong, but if it's a true comprehensive, taking in lots of disadvantaged children, or if it's losing all the "best" children to neighbouring schools then it's doing pretty well. Ultimately you'll only know by visiting it and even then it's hard to really know what's what until your child starts, unfortunately.

As others have said, it depends entirely on the child. I went to a far "worse" school which was only achieving around 15% passes at O-level. I did well there because I was swotty and determined to be top of the class and being one of the few bright(ish) and interested children there, I got extra help and attention. The poor school gave me an achievable goal of being the best, whereas in a better school I would have been pretty average and might have got lost. A school like mine would have been terrible for DS1 who would have been quite happy to be "average" amount a poor lot IYSWIM.

It also depends where you DS is likely to still v his peers. They're getting the top half through, so it DS is likely to be in the top sets, he'll be fine.

GregorSamsa Mon 29-Sep-14 11:05:28

The overall headline figure doesn't tell you very much at all. It certainly doesn't equate to the probability of your particular child achieving 5 or more A*-Cs, which I think is how lots of people read it.

You need to look at the achievements of the particular subgroup of the cohort into which your dc is likely to fall. So let's say (purely hypothetically, of course) that your child is a high achiever, and you have a realistic hope/expectation that they could achieve a good number of As and A*s.

So you look beyond the overall figure to see what grades the school's high achievers managed. If there is a reasonable clutch of kids getting 8 or more As and A*s, then they are obviously doing well by the top end of their ability range, and there is every reason to assume your child can get those grades too. Otoh, if the highest performers are managing at most a couple of As, plus a few Bs and Cs, then that suggests a school that either has a significantly lower than average proportion of high achievers, or is not doing very well for them (possibly both those things).

If there is evidence that the school is supporting high-achieving children to get really good grades, then the fact that there are other children working at much lower levels is clearly not a problem, and there is no reason why your child can't do as well as any other at that school.

Purpleroxy Mon 29-Sep-14 11:14:55

It would be an absolute no for me. It's just common sense. More than half the children are coming out with "unacceptable" GCSE results.

Explored Mon 29-Sep-14 11:20:23

Why though Purple. All it (probably) means is that more than half of the intake aren't going to get their 5 A-C whatever school they go to. Provided OP's son isn't one of them he could do well there, as 48% of the intake do.

GregorSamsa Mon 29-Sep-14 11:24:25

Purple - but those 'unacceptable' results may represent very good value-added for that particular cohort. And if the school is also getting very good results for their high-achievers, then the presence of the lower-performers is clearly not impacting on the chances of an individual child obtaining grades just as good as they would get anywhere else.

Granted, not all schools are capable of squaring that circle with a mixed intake. But some are doing it very well indeed, which is why it's so important to look beyond the headline figure.

StripyBanana Mon 29-Sep-14 11:30:09

But purple - that's roughly national average isn't it. Half our students don't get 5 a-cs. If its a comp they will set them.

titchy Mon 29-Sep-14 11:30:13

Maybe purple thinks her kids will 'catch' thick. Or maybe her kids aren't very bright?

Otherwise there is no reason whatsoever to suppose that her, or OP's kids will be in the bottom half.

InfinitySeven Mon 29-Sep-14 11:34:32

It would be a complete no from me, too.

I did my GCSE's a good few years ago, now - I'm in my early 20's. I was a good kid, and I enjoyed studying. I tended to put extra reading/work in anyway, and thrived on teaching my younger sisters what I'd learnt, which probably helped me to retain knowledge.

There were plenty of able people in my class without that motivation, though, and they required a high standard of teaching and care to get a pass. They were perfectly capable of doing it, but it needed to be well covered in each class, so that no extra work was needed.

I'd be concerned that this school won't cover everything in an adequate way, and therefore anyone who does need additional pushing or encouragement is at a disadvantage. A lot of those people who needed it from my class are now teachers, lawyers, doctors. We're a high-achieving bunch, nobody would argue that they weren't capable of passing.

I don't think it is true that the 52% wouldn't get an A-C wherever they go. It means that they aren't being appealed too in a way that works for them. It's lazy thinking to believe that they just can't do it - even if there are a certain percentage of people who just won't be able to achieve that standard, it's not 52%.

If you're torn, it's still worth visiting the school, and seeing what you think. Or sending your children, but having a back up plan that you can quickly implement if they don't achieve their potential.

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