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What's a good % GCSE a*-c level for a High School...

(28 Posts)
seeker Thu 29-Sep-11 10:22:13 a very socially diverse area where the "top" 23% are creamed off by the grammar school?

IndigoBell Thu 29-Sep-11 10:36:31

The CVA (value add) will tell you if the school is doing well by it's pupils or not.

You really can't look at the GCSE figure and tell that.

I looked at a different way. I think my DS will get into lots of top sets, and by the stats I can tell that the top set mostly do well enough in their GCSEs - therefore I concluded that if DS worked hard he will have every chance of getting good GCSEs smile

But to tell how well the top set do you need to know not the A* - C rate, but the full exam brochure which tells you how many got A*s, As, Bs etc. The exam brochure should be on their website.

CaptainNancy Thu 29-Sep-11 10:50:20

Goodness- 23% is a huge proportion! It's only 4.5% here...

erm. <<thinks>>

50% 5 A*-C inc English and Maths would be okay I think.

I live in a socially diverse area, and the non-selective schools cover a huge range.

CaptainNancy Thu 29-Sep-11 10:54:52

The best performing non-selectives are getting 70+% 5A*-C(inc E&M) btw, the lowest performing in the 30s% if that helps at all.

seeker Thu 29-Sep-11 10:58:24

That's the thing- the CVA is 1011.2, which is excellent and the a*-c is 43%' which is also good. But digging a bit deeper, out of 139 GCSE candidates this year, there were only 3 A*s and two of them were in Italian and Polish, and 21 As. Is that what you would expect?

Logopolitan Thu 29-Sep-11 11:01:41

For the comps round here in a very mixed area of London - 60% seems to be a strong if not outstanding performance. Taking out the top 23% (with the help of Excel!) would give something like 48%. Of course there would be a whole range of other factors to look at..

IndigoBell Thu 29-Sep-11 11:12:20

21 As is not at all bad for the type of school you are describing.

If the grammar school is taking the top 23% - then yes, I wouldn't expect the school to get many As and A*s. Isn't the A rate about 23%?

I would be very happy with a school with a CVA of 1011, 21As and a 43% pass rate, if 23% of kids go to grammar schools instead of this one.

senua Thu 29-Sep-11 11:15:19

That doesn't sound so good, seeker. It sounds as if the school is doing its best to look good in the league tables i.e. pushing the maximum number to get C-or-above. We had this in DD's school: lots of help to get borderline Ds up to a C grade, but nothing to help borderline Bs get up to an A grade.

chrchrch Thu 29-Sep-11 11:15:56

One way of trying to get a reasonable all-round academic environment, together with a sense of how well they may cater to DC's profile, is to long-list schools as you are doing, then look at the subject offers and attainments on their websites, as Indigo has said.

These London stats give a picture of school grades and CVA scores, you'll come to your own judgements on the 'creaming' factor, if using them as comparators.

CaptainNancy Thu 29-Sep-11 11:28:44

CVA figure looks good, but I think that's just representative of how low performing the intake is tbh.

3 A*s, 21 As from 139 candidates sounds very poor.

ragged Thu 29-Sep-11 11:52:30

CVA is strongly linked to social background of intake, too, so it's not a purely objective measure of teaching quality, either (sadly).

Our nearest high school has headline GCSE pass rates around 42-46% and has done for years (even dropped to 30% 2 years ago). There is a lot of local snobbery about which nearby market town high school is best, when in reality most MNers would turn their nose at each and every one hmm. Transferring between them is usually possible, but any private alternative is 8-17 miles away.

What I do, Seeker, is talk and talk to people with offspring (in all yr groups) currently/recently at each and every school on our possible list, and ask what their experience has been. Look at the ability level of your child(ren), and any SN, and see how similar profile kids get on at each school. To my relief, people with kids like mine are very happy with their experience of our local high school, iffy GCSE pass rate or not. Local high school has made major (published) fuss of high profile leavers who got all As + A*s, or accepted to Cambridge Vet School, etc.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 29-Sep-11 12:22:13

You have the problem that the Medway towns are firmly in the grip of Kent's divisive grammar system
but near enough to London to scupper the stats even further.
And if yours is the school whose numbers I recognise, it has 25% SEN register ...
The real thing will be to visit the school and see how it FEELS
Comparing the raw stats for your county and mine (Hampshire) those results are dire BUT raw stats are just that - fiddle factor for numbers bods!

Assuming most children sit 8 GCSE's (probably an under estimate) then 3 A* and 21 A (=24) is a very low %

139 x 8 = 1112 GSCE's sat in total

24/1112 = 2.16% of all GCSE's were graded A* or A

noblegiraffe Thu 29-Sep-11 12:44:12

With cva, 1011 tells you that on average each kid got about 2 GCSEs at a grade higher than expected, and the expected grade for the rest, compared to a school of similar intake.

An A grade kid who gets a B affects CVA just as a C grade kid who gets a D, so if they only focus on C/D borderline kids and don't stretch the top end, that will show in the CVA.

seeker Thu 29-Sep-11 12:55:56

I know the school well, and I know lots of kids who go there. It's a happy, dynamic place- a good school with lots going on. I was just a bit shocked at the actual GCSE grades-i'd never looked at them in detail before. More Gs than As and almost as many Fs as Bs - even with the excellent teaching I know goes on there.

I don't think it can be the same school, talkinpeace- we have a higher SEN number than that!

ragged Thu 29-Sep-11 14:37:37

Have you looked at data over several years?

seeker Thu 29-Sep-11 15:36:48

The number of a-cs is slowly but steadily going up- but so are the number of number of BTecs.

LaurieFairyCake Thu 29-Sep-11 15:48:48

Dh's schools CVA is 1045 - one of the top performing schools in the country but I wouldn't send my child there unless they were non-English speaking and/or had SEN.

This is because I'm a snob and frankly, a bit of a twat. But the respect I have for what the school does is an enormous amount.

IloveJudgeJudy Thu 29-Sep-11 16:47:40

Our DC's comp is 84% with 5 or more A*-C. This is in a town with 4 grammar schools. Just over 60% had 5 A*-C including English and maths.

cricketballs Thu 29-Sep-11 17:00:26

you also need to weigh up the social background of the students as well, after working in schools where there is a high social deprivation in the area, no matter how bright the kids are, they are more likely to not achieve to their actual potential (its very sad but true). Whilst a school in an area with less deprivation will have kids with more ambition.

The school my own ds attended is in a 'nice area' and yes, their results look fantastic, but the teaching is no better (in fact in some cases a lot worse) that the school I was working in with far lower results but in a 'not so nice area'

its very sad, but true

seeker Thu 29-Sep-11 18:13:15

This isn't a comprehensive- it is a high school. I don't think there is a single child there who passed the 11+.

The area is very mixed, sociology-economically, with areas of severe deprivation, and obviously the high school is skewed heavily towards the more disadvantaged end of town. It's just disappointing that the kids aren't doing better. Something is going wrong somewhere.

TheFallenMadonna Thu 29-Sep-11 18:17:32

If the top 23% go elsewhere, it's not in the least surprising that there isn't a high number of A*s. Vocation al qualifications are very appropriate for a lot of students. Is this a school that you are looking at for your son?

clutteredup Thu 29-Sep-11 18:25:15

Our local comp is 'OK' but they have a bad record for maths - no A*s in GCSE last year , 2 this year and 2 out of 2 fails at AS level . If DS was an English bod I wouldn't be so bothered but his strength is in maths and I'd like him to have the opportunity to do A level maths if he was still interested - there's no way i can send him to a school that has a class of 2 children for a subject and both fail - I think you need to look at the details that are of most interest to you and your DC.

noblegiraffe Thu 29-Sep-11 19:31:23

What do you mean something is going wrong? Surely it's obvious why they're not doing better?

cricketballs Thu 29-Sep-11 19:39:29

the thing going wrong is not the school normally but with the families in general; in order to improve results, aspirations etc the change needs to start at home - a school can only do so much.

in terms of the 2 maths AS levels; what do you call fails? Do you know what their GCSE results were, do you know what their attendance was like? these are all questions that need to be asked rather than just relying on the results alone.

If you are thinking ahead to 6th form, don't forget that they can move schools, but also think about the act that your ds may not want to do A level maths

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