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How good is this school academically?/Do KS2 results predict exam success later?

(7 Posts)
Cortina Wed 07-Oct-09 09:31:41

I have to make some tricky decisions soon and would really welcome some help. So many here seem so knowledgeable and I am a bit lost! Thanks for your time in advance:

The school is non selective and independent. First question is would you pay to send a child to a non selective, fee paying school if they were capable of going to a selective one?

Not sure if that makes sense but I mean if there were other things that you liked about the school etc.

I am trying to judge how good the school is academically first off, before I look at other things.

They entered 88 pupils for GCSE. 25% got A*, 70% got an A or an A*. 93% got A* A or B.

Where would this put the school - approximately - in a league table for independent schools. First, second or third division?

The same school has an infant section (prep) These are the KS2 results:

Over 185 students are assessed in reading, writing and mathematics.

The average level for seven year olds is level 2B

• In reading 54% are working at level 3
• In writing 23% are working at level 3
• In mathematics 31% are working at level 3

I suppose what I am asking is would you pay for a school that delivered these results at GCSE and KS2 just looking at the academics first in isolation?

How would it fare in terms of academic excellence compared to prep schools generally with these KS2 results?

I've read that how children do in KS2 is a predictor of exam success in GCSE and A'level later on? Should I pay any attention to these results or are most KS2 stats pretty meaningless?

They seem to have limited learning difficulty provision and barely any children with learning disabilities at the school even though it is non selective. So is it really selective?

Just musing on the academics first thanks for your patience and help.

Rebeccaj Wed 07-Oct-09 10:00:29

I think those are Key Stage 1 results, (age 7) not 2. They aren't much above what our state primary school achieves, and below what the best one in the area gets, so no I wouldn't pay on that basis alone. Similarly, the GCSE results aren't much better than a couple of the secondaries here, so again, no, the academics wouldn't drive me to pay.

LadyMuck Wed 07-Oct-09 10:18:16

Why wouldn't you just look up the league table and see? Or give us the school name and then we can do it.

I am assuming and hoping that you are just giving the KS1 results there (age 7) and not the KS2 results (age 11). Personally I wouldn't put much score on the KS1 results in any event - children mature at such different rates, so that at KS1 the results can be skewed by how many summer born children or boys are in the class. The KS2 results might tell you more but as many prep schools don't do SATs it may not be that helpful.

Is the school really nonselective at senior age or is it more the case that they only take children from their own prep school (which would admittedly be quite large). If it is non-selective at 11 then those results have got to be good - so good that I don't believe that it could be nonselective at 11/13. Many independent schools which go from 4-18 are non selective at 4 but are selective at 11, and whilst most pupils will automatically transfer through to the senior school, a few will be persuaded to go elsewhere, and those pupils coming in at 11 will have to sit an entrance exam. Otherwise you could have a whole load of below average pupils arriving at the school in year 10 say and apparently getting marvellous grades... Bear in mind that schools will only give you the stats that you want to see.

In terms of league tables the GCSE results would leave it ranked approx 100th independent in the country by the Times league tables, but it may be the case that we are comparing apples with pears. For example many independent schools enter pupils a year early for 2 or 3 GCSEs, so are there included? What about iGCSEs? Certainly the only state schools that are comparable are grammar schools, so if it is truly non-selective then it is worth paying for, and if it is really nonselective at senior level then it is probably the top nonselective school in the country.

If you are looking at a school for a 4 year old then you need to back away from the senior schools selection. It might be nice to feel as if you have the whole school experience locked down early, but you might do well to keep your options open and look around again closer to 11/13 depending on what is on offer locally, and the talents of your child which you probably haven't even discovered yet.

In terms of selective v non selective, it depends on what age the child is. At 11 if my children is capable of doing well enough to get into an academically selective school, then there would have to be something quite compelling about the alternative for me to not go for selective (and to date I haven't seen that locally, but I'm still looking!). At 4 if you are feepaying then there is a selection process even if it is not academic, and I suspect that there won't be much difference. I would look for a friendly school with lots going on and a good track record of getting into good senior schools.

Madsometimes Wed 07-Oct-09 10:28:47

The GCSE results are indeed very good for a non selective school. I also suspect the senior school is selective, perhaps not super selective. These results do suggest an above average intake.

The KS1 results are above average for maths and in line with national average for writing and reading (compared to a state primary school).

Do you like the school? Is it near to your home, do the children and teachers seem happy?

Niecie Wed 07-Oct-09 10:30:09

Those KS1 results are no better than our state infants. (Infants do KS1, Juniors do KS2).

What are the KS2 results? Do the children achieve their 2 level of improvement (i.e. a level 3 at KS1 should become level 5 at KS2)?

Do they give you the value added results for independent schools? I don't know but that is more important than results.

The GCSE results may be good but far more useful would be to know how many children got more than 5 As or A*s at GCSE and how many got more than 5 of any grade over a C. You can then make comparisons with other schools. You don't seem to have those stats.

Cortina Wed 07-Oct-09 13:54:26

Thanks so much for replies. Will come back and answer questions later on when I get time.

snorkie Wed 07-Oct-09 16:09:24

The GCSE results are better than those at my dc's school which is independent selective (but not as hugely selective as many, most children are in top 50% ability range). We chose that over a more selective one as it seems to suit our children. If the school caters well for the bright kids as well as the less able then why not?

So the results are very good for non selective. You have to consider though that it is selective by income, which means, as income correlates quite well with educational outcome, that there is a degree of covert academic selection that way.

Could you ask them what the abilty distribution of their cohort at age 11 was? (They are bound to do some sort of ability test then, virtually all schools do). You would then see how far off a normal distribution centred on IQ=100 it was.

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