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English Bacc. results compared to GCSE 'pass rates'

(25 Posts)
bossboggle Sat 22-Oct-11 21:55:06

Can anyone tell me how a school is able to claim a pass rate of 86% at GCSE when most of their results are BTEC's and their Eng. Bacc is only 2%. How are you supposed to make a choice as to where to send your child to when most schools seem to have crazy pass rates!! Does anyone fail these days?? I'm old school, in my day we had O levels and you had to get a grade C otherwise at my school you had failed, no if's but's or anything else!! I have no idea how a school can claim to have such good rates academically when most of their results are module rated and seem to have no examinations at the end of them. Anyone able to clarify any of this!! Or am I too far out of touch?? My DS goes to a school where they are expected to succeed at English, Maths, Biology, Physics, a modern foreign language etc. A normal academic route that I understand - I think!! Help!!

TalkinPeace2 Sat 22-Oct-11 22:04:55

Remember how the ebacc was sprung on schools.

In June last year - when the exams based on course choices taken TWO YEARS EARLIER had nearly finished - Michael Gove announced the set of subjects on which schools would be judged.
It was retrospective and regressive.
Yes, it highlighted that some schools has used non academic subjects to climb the target set by the previous government
but chances are the goalposts will change again.

Gove was GUTTED that so many grammar schools came out with dire ebacc - he had hoped to use it to force all counties to go tripartite - the fact that many Hampshire comps beat Kent Grammars was NOT in his game plan.

THe thing to remember is that all league tables are manipulated
parents need to look at THEIR schools

academyblues Sat 22-Oct-11 22:14:43

Exactly what talking says.

The EB was sort of invented as a retrospective measure last June. Schools had no idea that this was going to be used as a basis for assessment. The previous (and ongoing) measure was '5+ GCSE grade C or above including English and Maths' so schools had understandably been focusing on this.

I expect that ebacc results in most schools will leap up significantly from 2013, as schools will have started pushing students into this route from 2011.

In addition to talking's point about Gove's aim to make all counties go tripartite, upping the goal posts in order to identify as many school as possible to be 'failing' is part of Gove's agenda to force them to convert to academies. He's pushing the bill through the Lords now.

League tables will all jump about again this year when the contextual is taken out of the value added measurement too.

TalkinPeace2 Sat 22-Oct-11 22:21:00

the other interesting thing is that all these academies are directly responsible to the DFES
who have absolutely no experience of dealing with them
when LEA schools are deemed failing by OFSTED then a new SMT and GB are parachuted in
nobody knows what the DFES will do
my catchment sponsored academy is going to look UTEERLY dire when VA replaces CVA and its raw results and falling numbers on roll are scary
but the shiny new £13.6 million building will have to be justified somehow .....

if only the Tories would do as they said they would and leave schools to it ....

bossboggle Sat 22-Oct-11 22:26:20

I think I get it?? What are VA and CVA?? Surely if a school is good academically then it should be teaching these subjects anyway or is that not how it works today??

TalkinPeace2 Sat 22-Oct-11 22:29:08

Contextual Value Added : How the school has done with its kids, taking into account the level of advantage / disadvantage they arrived with

Value Added : the increase from KS2 SATs to GCSEs taking no account of whether you are in Virginia Water or Haringey

NotJustClassic Sat 22-Oct-11 22:30:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TalkinPeace2 Sat 22-Oct-11 22:30:52

Also how can a secondary modern be good academically?
its top 25% of pupils are at another school
under the raw 5 a-c there was a HUGE incentive to get pupils to take (frankly dodgy) btecs that looked good in the league tables but did not require rigorous learning

cricketballs Sat 22-Oct-11 22:43:14

sorry TalkinPeace2 but have you any experience of BTECs and the learning/work that is needed?

I teach BTEC level 2 and I have students who I entered for AS based on what they learnt for the BTEC. With no additional teaching other than a revision session prior to the 2 exams 4 of the 6 achieved a D whilst 2 achieved a C grade....obviously there is no rigorous learning for BTECS.

The reason BTEC has this reputation is the fact there is no exam but continuous coursework. But, this coursework is very hard going and requires the students to put in many hours of hard work (only for it to be dismissed by every Tom, Dick and Harry).

The spec for BTEC is changing (again hmm) this year and whilst we are still waiting for the actual details they will include an externally assessment either by a unit exam or controlled assessments (back to the old GNVQ days)

bossboggle Sat 22-Oct-11 22:46:22

I think that is what happened at our local comp, college or what ever they call themselves these days .. a nice easy BTEC route (seen some of their courses and I've never heard of them) and the grades shoot up when perhaps academically they are not very good or suitable for a brighter pupil, still don't think it gives schools the right to shout from the roof tops that their GCSE pass rate is excellent when it is not academically sound. Sorry me old school!! Thanks for the VA etc understand it better now. A friend's daughter applied for a very very good 6th form college around here after being at the local comp and they didn't know what the courses were either so what chance do parents have!!

noblegiraffe Sat 22-Oct-11 22:46:38

In your old school everyone took o levels and failed if they didn't get the equivalent of a C, but alongside your school was another school where students sat and passed different exams. Now in a comprehensive system all students are at the same school. It would be ridiculous to force the kids who wouldn't pass o-levels to try to achieve a similar level under the new exam system. They also need something they can succeed at. But people sneer at GCSEs grade D and below even though they are still passes.

TalkinPeace2 Sat 22-Oct-11 22:50:12

cricket : note I used the word learning not teaching.
Yes, friends of mine teach btecs and I would NEVER disparage the work that goes into getting kids through them.
there has been terrible grade manipulation - with btecs being deemed equal to multiple GCSEs
and pupils with btecs being sold as valid alternatives to pure academic subjects which in many cases they are not.

There are pupils who are just not academic. In the old days they went towards the C&G / HND track. I suspect that may be more useful to them than the daft pressure for certificates that will not stand them in good stead in ten years time.

bossboggle Sat 22-Oct-11 22:52:04

I got O levels or dino levels as my DS calls them!! Old school - need to see the academic side of things - traditional teaching etc. Struggle with all of this new stuff!! You either pass or you don't and have the academic wits to do it!! My DS is rated A* and A grades and I still reckon I would beat him hands down in some subjects!! It's amazing what your brain retains from so long long ago!! Latin, Greek etc etc.... my son reckons I went to Hogwarts or something similar!!

bossboggle Sat 22-Oct-11 22:56:06

We had a Latin master who could bend a blackboard rubber and hit someone better than a cricketer with a ball on a cricket pitch!!

academyblues Sun 23-Oct-11 09:55:20

talking, when you say "when LEA schools are deemed failing by OFSTED then a new SMT and GB are parachuted in, nobody knows what the DFES will do", do you mean under the legislation that's being pushed through at the moment.

At the moment, my understanding is that a conversion to academy status has to be agreed by the GB and parents 'consulted with', though I expect this will change as soon as Gove has the power to sell off our schools.

academyblues Sun 23-Oct-11 10:02:06

boss, I take your points about the value of a traditional academic education. I went to a crapolla comp with very low expectations of its pupils, though managed to leave with a string of 'A' grade 'O' levels, definitely despite rather than because of the school.

I didn't have the opportunity to study Latin, music, any language other than French etc.

However, not all children are traditionally academic. Some have skills in other areas, be they music, art, drama, interpersonal skills, sport, political understanding etc. I find it quite distasteful when people see these as 'inferior' in someway to being able to conjugate Latin verbs.

I guess my take is that all children should have the opportunity to learn ebacc subjects, and the opportunity to study subjects which develop other skills, and not been seen as lacking in 'academic wit' because of where their strength lie.

bossboggle Sun 23-Oct-11 11:02:33

Talking: Totally agree with the grade manipulation thing, the sad thing is that kids are being given BTEC's that they say are equal to pure academic subjects and then they get to the next stage and find out that they are not the same and in some cases not acceptable to the courses that they want to get on to. My friends daughter in point, she applied for a very very very good 6th form and she found that a lot of her results just didn't cut it when the school had 'hyped' them up and told her and the others how well they had done!! The young lady had to pass another entrance exam so the 6th form could assess what she actually knew and had because her certificates meant nothing to them - shame for her but she did get in on her entrance exam and she is doing well but it was a shame when she couldn't get in on her school certificates. Her mum said that if she had known what she knew now she would not have put her into the school and chosen somewhere more academically suited and able to get her into the 6th form of her choice.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 23-Oct-11 11:12:32

there is a sponsored academy near me that is on very close watch by Ofsted.
the sponsor will not admit there is a problem
the LEA are powerless to act
the pupils are stuck with a failing school
DFES are sitting on their hands
nobody dares put it into special measures as there is no protocol for what that means for an academy or free school

when things go wrong in an academy - and they will - what will be the procedure to ensure that they are turned round?
bearing in mind that a weak GB is often a contributory factor

Kez100 Sun 23-Oct-11 11:19:27

I think they are overseen by YPLA (like DofE but for Academies) and Secretary of State.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 23-Oct-11 13:24:43

have there been any cases of them taking effective action?
I spoke to Ofsted about this and they told me that they can rate the school as failing but have no responsibility for turning it around and the chap I spoke to (whose name and seniority check out) was not sure how it would be handled for academies

academyblues Sun 23-Oct-11 14:07:44

talking, that's one of my many concerns about academies. LAs are far, far from perfect, but they do have people in them that know about local issues in education. They can offer good support to maintained schools under 'special measures', which the school wouldn't be able to afford out of its own budget.

I'm stunned how many people in MN and in RL think that academies are either a fantastic opportunity for schools or neither here or there. Academies have no proven track record of improving attainment, especially in the long term as they simply haven't been around long enough.

Kez100 Sun 23-Oct-11 14:09:25

My only experience is of new academies (as converted from mid 2010) and the YPLA oversee them (as well as being subject to OFSTED inspections). I don't know of any failing under the new system yet, but I'm no expert.

I'd be surprised that the one you talk about is a failing new academy because the first to go were all outstanding schools and given shed loads of money to convert. I can't get my head around how much had to have gone wrong for a new one to have failed so quickly.

If it is an old style failing academy then I don't know whose responsibility it is but they've been around a long while so surely Ofsted would. I'm very surprised they don't know. After all those old styles had failed once - there must have been a system in place to predict it would happen again in some cases.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 23-Oct-11 15:20:12

"old" is a relative term. Eton is old. Academies are new.
"there must have been a system in place"
don't bet on it : Bliar and Broon believed that 50% university entrance would cure the worlds ills

TalkinPeace2 Sun 23-Oct-11 15:23:11

DH worked at the school oop north that has no year 7 or 8 last week - it has been mentioned by posters on this board - it was even more shite than he had been expecting
you have to realise that the sweet little dears who work as "policy advisers" in the dfes went to nayce public schools and then dead twee unis and have no effing idea how it is in the real world

academyblues Sun 23-Oct-11 20:46:21

Yes, the extent of how little Gove et al actually know about the schools and communities they're reducing to a set of statistics and make sweeping generalisations about is deeply, deeply shocking.

Although, of course, they don't actually want to know as that might make ripples in their ideologically driven moves to sell off schools to the highest bidder, and make the pro-academy sheep that follow behind bleeting along with every idiotic pronouncement/ goal post change that they come out with actually think a little.

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