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What is a 'leafy comp' 'good/outstanding comp'?

(131 Posts)
MovingBack Mon 09-Feb-15 10:17:07

I see this term referred to on MN on lots of threads - what is the definition of such a school please? I can grasp the meaning (I think) but I'm not sure if it's metaphorical or there is in fact some objective criteria? Do posters mean they are Ofsted good/outstanding or something else? I've spent a lot of time living away and in my day a comp was the alternative to the grammar school but I'm not sure what they are when most areas don't have a grammar school these days? How will I know if my local schools fall into this leafy comps/good/outstanding category? Is it based on Ofsted or something else?

Apologies in advance if it really is just the Ofsted category they have been placed in rather than something more complex confused

thehumanjam Mon 09-Feb-15 10:21:48

It's only something I have ever seen on MN. I think it means a comp with a middle class intake with lots of trees. confused.

It's a cringeworthy expression.

Killasandra Mon 09-Feb-15 10:21:50

I've always assumed a 'leafy comp' means very middle class (lots of professional parents) with very low levels of FSM and EAL, coupled with good grades at GCSEs.

Of course, as these things normally go hand in hand, it doesn't mean the school is particularly good.

Good / Outstanding is a meaningless Ofsted rating that changes each time Ofsted visit a school.

thehumanjam Mon 09-Feb-15 10:22:37

Good/outstanding refers to the grade they have been awarded by OFSTED

MovingBack Mon 09-Feb-15 10:48:55

So what would a good/outstanding comp in these leafy areas be quoting as a % of students attaining 5 x GCSEs grades A-C (is that the government's benchmark these days as I see it on lots of school ads??) and is that part of what makes them good/outstanding? The leafy bit I'm taking to mean that they're not in cities?

BikeRunSki Mon 09-Feb-15 10:51:56

Leafy - "hasn't sold off playing fields to housing developer yet" ???

MirandaWest Mon 09-Feb-15 10:58:17

The local comps to me have between 44% (probably seen as one of the worst) and 82% A* to C at gcse with a couple in the 60% level and a couple in the 70% level. Local independent schools have 83% and 85% A* to C so I'm guessing the comps with results in the 70s and 80s could be regarded as being the leafy sort. Pretty sure most schools round here are good/outstanding. Am lucky to be somewhere with good state provision.

motherinferior Mon 09-Feb-15 11:00:08

Leafy is used as shortcut for 'in posh areas', and thus receiving only posh kids and thus v unrepresentative of the vast majority of academies of depravity which sell their students short etc etc blah blah insert cliché of your choice as required. It is automatically assumed that any educated, articulate parent who is happy with their offsprings' comp is therefore taking advantage of Leafiness (insert cliché about selection by postcard etc etc).

bigTillyMint Mon 09-Feb-15 11:02:04

I always assume "leafy comp" is one out in the 'burbs with lots of students from MC/Professional families, very little ethnic mix and low free school meals.

Good/outstanding is just Ofsted's judgement, which may or may not be a true picture of the school.

rabbitstew Mon 09-Feb-15 11:03:01

Where on earth were you, where an alternative to a grammar school was a comprehensive? In the days of grammar schools, the alternatives were secondary modern and secondary technical schools. The comprehensive school system was brought in to replace that. In counties like Kent, where a large number of grammar schools still exist, the alternatives aren't generally called "comprehensives," because they quite plainly do not have comprehensive intakes in a county where up to 23% of children go to the state grammar schools.

As for "leafy comp," I think, as others have suggested, it is supposed to mean a very middle class intake away from the inner cities - hence the leaves... It doesn't actually have to be a brilliant school. Nor, in reality, does it need to have excellent facilities or particularly wealthy parents - it just needs to be somewhere that looks pretty and leafy to ignorant city dwellers. grin

MovingBack Mon 09-Feb-15 11:04:09

Thanks very much, this is all really helpful. In an area where there are grammar schools the comp is then a comp as I understand it from yesteryear then? Presumably then they could have a lower % of A*-C due to the intake? What would be a good/outstanding % for those schools then?

But what constitutes a comp in a non-grammar area then? Does that just mean it's a school that's open to all?

Sorry for all these questions!

rabbitstew Mon 09-Feb-15 11:05:38

Oh yes, and Good/Oustanding are just two Ofsted ratings. This does not mean that everyone thinks these schools are good or outstanding.

RiverTam Mon 09-Feb-15 11:05:54

'leafy comp' top me simply means it's in a nice setting and probably still has its playing fields. As opposed to, for example, one outstanding comp near me which is parked next to a humungous roundabout in very gritty inner London with no non-concrete outdoor space at all, as far as I can see, and on that basis alone I wouldn't consider.

MovingBack Mon 09-Feb-15 11:07:23

Thanks so much rabbitstew, the penny has dropped!!!!

Yes of course it was grammar and secondary modern in my day - I was mixing up secondary modern and comp. Sorry, I've a lot of catching up to do grin

Maddaddam Mon 09-Feb-15 11:09:24

It's Leafy if another mumsnetter sends her children there and is happy with their education.

It's bog-standard/failing/terrible if a mumsnetter is posting about why it's not good enough for that poster's children.

Often it's the same comp described by different posters.

Nothing to do with actual leaves, and not much to do with Ofsteds.

We are very leafy middle class types and my dc go to a non-leafy comp.

MovingBack Mon 09-Feb-15 11:10:53

So there are grammar school areas with alternatives for those that don't get into the grammar schools (not sure what type of schools the alternatives are then - are they comps?) And then areas where the schools are all comps (no grammar schools)

MovingBack Mon 09-Feb-15 11:11:42

Loving the definitions of 'leafy' grin

senua Mon 09-Feb-15 11:12:47

Most schools define their intake by catchment and catchment is often defined as 'nearest the school gate'.
Sweeping generalisation but if a school has a catchment that is full of expensive, middle-class homes with gardens and tree-lined avenues, then chances are that they will get naice middle-class children and hence naice middle-class results.
'Leafy' is shorthand for 'leafy suburbs', so not rural schools.

If you look at the DfE performance tables you can see results (a) for the whole country (b) the LEA (c) the individual school so you can do a meaningful compare-and-contrast.

rabbitstew Mon 09-Feb-15 11:12:54

Yes, in a grammar area, you would expect the non-grammar schools to get a lower % of A*-C. I don't know what would be considered good for such schools - achieving the national average of A*-C grades would be very good, I would have thought, if they are lacking the top 23% who went to the grammar schools...

In a non-grammar area, a community comprehensive school is a school open to all. The waters have gradually been muddied over the years, with schools being allowed to develop specialist status and be partially selective for, eg, sport, or music, or technology, etc, but it really depends on the area in which you live - you have to look at the entrance criteria for each school...

senua Mon 09-Feb-15 11:17:16

You have to be careful about Grammars: some areas (eg Kent) have a lot of Grammars so about 23% of children go there. Other areas (eg Birmingham) have very few, so it's more like 2%.

rabbitstew Mon 09-Feb-15 11:18:21

ps in a grammar area, the non-grammar schools are often called "high schools" or some silly made-up name "academy" (given that they were often considered to be failing and forced to academise, following which they continued to do just as badly, but with a new name and uniform... grin).

rabbitstew Mon 09-Feb-15 11:20:24

pps an academy school can still be a "bog standard comprehensive," or a "high school" or pretty much any type of school, it's just not controlled by the Local Authority any more. Politicians like to muddy the waters and make things complicated. grin

Killasandra Mon 09-Feb-15 11:27:08

If you're trying to find out if a school is good or not, don't judge by the % passed GCSEs.

Go to the dcsf league tables and look at all the stats. My first point of call is how many low achievers (Level 3 at Y6 SATs), middle achievers (Level 4 at Y6 SATS) and high achievers (level 5 at Y6 SATs) passed.

Pretty much all the schools in my borough get < 10 % of their low achievers to pass. Around 50% of their middle achievers to pass, and above 90% of their high achievers to pass.

So, as school could only have 45% of the cohort pass, but be an excellent school (at first look) because 70% of middle achievers passed, and 25% of low achievers passed (or whatever). It's just they didn't have many high achievers to start with.

Here are the stats for Kent: www.education.gov.uk/cgi-bin/schools/performance/group.pl?qtype=LA&superview=sec&view=aat&set=2&tab=150&no=886&sort=ks4_14.ptac5emav&ord=desc

On these stats, the best non selective schools seem to be Bennett Memorial, St John's, St George's etc.

Another stat I like is compared to similar schools: www.education.gov.uk/cgi-bin/schools/performance/group.pl?qtype=LA&superview=sec&view=aat&set=12&sort=ks4_14.ptac5emav&ord=desc&tab=503&no=886&pg=1

Where again Bennett Memorial, St John's and St George's do well.

Those are the stats I'm interested in. Not the headline figure of how many pupils passed.

And I'm most certainly not interested in the OFSTED grade.

rabbitstew Mon 09-Feb-15 11:33:05

Oh, yes, but politicians have interfered with the statistics, too, so that is also only partial information (as per both meanings of the word "partial") - particularly this year. Even the politicians are admitting that you can't compare this year's data with previous years. grin

Basically, you can only judge a school by looking at its website, looking at its published data, looking round the school, talking to people with children at the school, talking to children at the school, taking your children to look round the school and talk to people at the school, and then making a massive leap of faith. Plus, hoping the DfE will stop changing things every five minutes and introduce change at a sensible rate is also something that is likely to cross your mind.

rabbitstew Mon 09-Feb-15 11:34:47

And that's assuming you have any chance of getting into said school. In reality, you may have a choice of 1 school, home education, or moving (which might result in ending up in an area where there are no spaces in any schools...). grin

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