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'value added' secondary school scores

(37 Posts)
Cat98 Thu 22-Nov-12 11:38:46

If you were looking for a secondary school for a bright child but couldn't afford private, and you had two reasonable options, which would you choose?
1400 pupils, higher than average fsm entitlement but with a 'value added score in the top 5 percent of the uk' OR c.1000 pupils, slightly lower than average fsm entitlement but not great ofsted report recently - however has just received a lot of funding.
Thanks, I know it's quite limited info but based on info provided which would you choose?

mercibucket Wed 28-Nov-12 19:37:32

Visit and see

Tbh it depends on your child. Mine will prob go to the local not v good comp but I expect pretty much top grades from them regardless of teaching. Maybe because I am v out of touch. 'Back in the day' I just learned it all myself before the exams, never looked at my notes from school. I expect once Gove has finished, there will be no continuous assessment and it will be back to that system again

So until GCSE at least, just go for the best fit for your child

Interesting about breaking down the stats that way, too

BoffinMum Thu 29-Nov-12 07:57:44

I'm uncomfortable with schools settling for Foundation level GCSEs. I think with the right teaching children can almost always manage higher level GCSEs , and it's doing them a disservice to cap their grade.

TimeChild Thu 29-Nov-12 08:27:35

'I'm uncomfortable with schools settling for Foundation level GCSEs. I think with the right teaching children can almost always manage higher level GCSEs , and it's doing them a disservice to cap their grade. '

But what grade in the higher level GCSEs? Do you mean A-C or lower? I would rather that my dc got a secure C at Foundation for a subject that is not her forte and concentrated on getting Higher grades on others.

We are talking comprehensive education here so there are children at all levels of ability.

safflower Thu 29-Nov-12 10:26:08

If a child gets grade C for instance in English at foundation level, then an A level in the same subject is ruled out. The leap from a foundation to an A level is huge. That same child may want to do a career which requires an A Level in a core subject. Therefore at the age of 14/15 that child's future has already had doors closed on it.

Children move around quite alot with their grades at such a young age. Doing very well one term, not so well in the same subject the next. This is where it is very sad because that same child may have every 'click' into place during the final year of GCSE's and gain a passion for a subject, which they will not be able to take any further.

BoffinMum Thu 29-Nov-12 10:43:11

In a good school teachers would be supporting your daughter to get a safe C on the higher level examination. This is possible for almost all average and above average ability levels given the right teaching and support (she clearly is getting this support at home).

TimeChild Thu 29-Nov-12 11:04:34

I take your point safflower about going on to an A level for a core subject. In the case of dd, she would never in a million years would want to or be able to handle an A level in Maths! However, if she does foundation in maths, she will be able to focus on higher levels in English and Science and have a realistic chance of getting them.

I think what you are saying could be a general observation and every child should be guided to make sure that he/she makes a sensible (and realistic) choice that is right for him/her.

I also disagree with what you say about shutting a door on their future at 14/15. I am a firm believer in life-long education and think that it does not end at 18 or 21! There is nothing wrong in revisiting a subject later in your life. In fact I'm not that comfortable with the conveyor-belt type system we have in this country where children are expected to go from school to uni and career by the time they are 25. Life is not really like that (and all the richer for it!)

For the sake of those dc taking 'only' foundation level I wish parents would not refer to them as also runs.

TimeChild Thu 29-Nov-12 11:28:07

BoffinMum, my dc attends an ofsted outstanding comprehensive and apparently their way of banding the GCSE students was particularly praised. I believe they have been held up locally as an example of good practice.

The school's ethos is that every child deserves the opportunity to succeed and feel proud of their achievements. They have certainly achieved this by pushing their A* to C with english and maths percentage to nearly 80%. Not bad for a comprehensive. Of course in the mix are those with just foundation level C - is this such a bad thing?

safflower Thu 29-Nov-12 13:33:37

no of course it is not 'such a bad thing'. Do you know the percentage in the 80% who took foundation level? In some schools this could be up to 100%. This is what I am getting at. There could be quite a possibility that there were none or very few grade B to A*, in which case, the school could still be 'Ofsted outstanding', yet not be doing quite so well as prospective parents are led to believe. And this, after 11 years formal education is not so good.

All I am saying is don't believe what you read on the tin. Look inside, and very closely!

TimeChild Thu 29-Nov-12 14:01:42

safflower, you take a dim view of the comprehensive system!!

Definition of a comprehensive school is one where children of all abilities attend. It would be astonishing in a comprehensive for most/all of the cohort to be entered just for the foundation level.

In the case of the school I am talking about, for the latest 2012 results -

26% of all pupils achieved at least 5A*/ A grades at GCSE. 30 pupils achieved at least eight A*/A grades. That works out to just under 20% of the cohort.

24% of all grades were A*/A grades

One example does not prove anything but I think you will find that true comprehensives will have a significant proportion of the cohort sitting the higher levels.

safflower Thu 29-Nov-12 14:59:42

I speak from experience unfortunately.

DD -marvellous, marvellous marvellous at maths all the way up to the GCSE years. Prediction of A. Then we got the 'she is struggling slightly more likely to be B, this moved to C and their own words were to 'play it safe and ensure the C at all costs' and to do the foundation.

Err no thank you I said. She will do the higher. And she did. Got B.
Had I just listened to the school, she would have had a C at foundation. I was not happy. Local comp. Other parents did excatly the same. They all got B or above. Honestly, I was gobsmacked and have since looked further into this, and sadly it happens in a great many schools. I don't give a stuff about the league tables for this very reason. I give a stuff about my children achieving the highest grade they are able, be it foundation or higher.

A friend whose son went to another local comp was told B predictions for all core subjects in year 10. Only to open the exam results and got C at foundation level. This posed a huge problem for his college course as he needed a science and English B for the course. At no time was she told her son was taking foundation. Quite rightly she was furious. Her son was unaware that he could not get higher than C until it was too late.

All I am saying is don't believe everything you hear from the school. Which is why I reiterate that it is important to see what percentage of children are taking which level.

TimeChild Thu 29-Nov-12 16:15:26

Sorry to hear about your dd's story. Great that you had the sense to stick by your guns. Think it is a case of mother knows best wink

safflower Thu 29-Nov-12 16:28:19

Thank you. I didn't want to get into a tete a tete over it. I just want as many parents to know what to look out for. I wasn't even aware of foundation/higher level GCSE's when we first started out with secondary schools. I just thought it was all the same one exam. And am sure that great swathes of parents whose first borns are heading up the system are still unaware of the differences until sometimes it is too late.
So I make it my business (nosy old bint that I am) to keep telling folk! smile

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