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Interpreting GCSE results of 2 schools

(17 Posts)
schooling123 Mon 19-Aug-19 07:46:30

I am trying to compare the performance of 2 state schools.

School A ( walking distance 15 min) - had 117 pupils
79% 5-9 GCSE English and Maths (2018), 94% 4-9 GCSE English and Maths (2018)

School B ( walking, then by tube, 6 stops, total door-to-door time about 40 min) - had 283 pupils

66% 5-9 GCSE English and Maths (2018), 85% 4-9 GCSE English and Maths (2018)

Is there anything else that should be a major consideration? I think sport and music we can so outside school, so have not looked very closely at extra-curricular provision at both schools yet...

Please how to compare these 2 schools' results, as the difference in travelling time is a factor when choosing. My DS visited both schools so we will have a conversation about his preference as well.

Thank you.

OP’s posts: |
Seeline Mon 19-Aug-19 08:00:32

I think things like sport and music do matter in a school, especially if they are your 'thing'. But even if not, they help bind a school together, give the students pride in their performance etc. In addition, the amount of time out of school, once travel and homework is done can be quite limited, and the intention to do extra curricular can be lost along the way.

What are you DS s strengths and interests? Which school caters best for those? Eg does he want to do languages - what choice do they have? Does he like science - what are the labs like, are they allowed to do triple science?

What did the schools feel like? There is a lot to be said for gut feeling.

Have you checked Ofsted - not the deciding factor, but worth being aware of any issues.

The pupil numbers you quoted I assume are the no actually sitting the exams, rather than the total at each school. If it is total, they are quite small schools which can bring problems with limited friendship pools, and limited resources.

schooling123 Mon 19-Aug-19 08:10:07

Thank you Seeline, i will look into more info about each school.

Sorry I should have mentioned, the numbers of pupils indicate pupils who took KS4 exam (school A is a large school). I also notice the mistake in my description of how to get to school. Please see below a correct version:

School A ( walking, then by tube, 6 stops, total door-to-door time about 40 min)- had 117 pupils
79% 5-9 GCSE English and Maths (2018), 94% 4-9 GCSE English and Maths (2018)

School B - (walking distance 15 min) had 283 pupils
66% 5-9 GCSE English and Maths (2018), 85% 4-9 GCSE English and Maths (2018)

OP’s posts: |
Bobbybobbins Mon 19-Aug-19 08:15:47

Results also depend on value added of the intake - eg if school A's target was 95% grades 5-9 then they underachieved but if it was 45% then they have overachieved. So I would recommend looking at this.

RedskyLastNight Mon 19-Aug-19 11:48:33

As per PP you need to look at the intake. Both those are good GCSE results - but this might be simply because they have a very able intake. Looking at the Progress 8 results (but again look by low/medium/high attainers) may be more illuminating.

I think 117 in a year group is a pretty small secondary school which may or may not be a pro!

ElizabethinherGermanGarden Mon 19-Aug-19 11:58:38

Those are both decent sets of results. You could go on the gov comparison site and look at their progress data for 2018 if you wanted to see what that was like (if Progress 8 is below -0.5 for overall or for either maths or English, that might flag up a concern/question to ask). Of course, results only tell part of the story - a particular year group will have a 'personality' and changeover of staff will have a big impact in some cases.

I'd look back over the past few years and see if there are any big spikes or drops and find out whether these coincide (ie follow by 1-2 years) with changes of senior management.

You could also search to see if the parents' group on Facebook is open to view. These can often be moan-fests as people post more if they have an issue rather than if they are happy, but they could potentially show you whether niggles are minor or if they are bigger things (lockers/ties/lost property vs bullying/racism etc).

schooling123 Mon 19-Aug-19 12:23:01

Intake - both non selective, but school A is located in a slightly better area

Progress 8 comparison:

School B - 0.68
School A - 0.93

How to interpret these scores please?

I will be waiting for GCSE results from 2019 and then have some overview over 2 years. Will research more about subjects that are offered at GCSE

It is a big factor - travel if to choose school A, I need to have a good reason for it...

Thank you for all replies

OP’s posts: |
cantkeepawayforever Mon 19-Aug-19 12:29:50

I presume that you are using the Government tool?
Once you have created 'Your schools list', click on this. This then allows all sorts of cmparisions to be made, using the tabs and the drop down menus within them.

You can compare, for example, progress 8 over time, results and progress for groups by prior attainment (Y6 SATs results). You can look at school population (so if School A achieves those results because it has 7% PP children while School B has 47%). There are links to Ofsted reports etc.

All will give you a more rounded view than GCSE grades alone.

cantkeepawayforever Mon 19-Aug-19 12:30:57

Both those progress 8s are good. School A's are very good - but it is very small. What %PP and %SEN do they have?

cantkeepawayforever Mon 19-Aug-19 12:33:45

You can use the tool I indicated to get progress 8 over time, which can be instructive. be aware that progress 8 has been calculated using a different formula each year it has existed (using different conversion factors when converting alphabetical grades to numbers, principally) so they are not comparable from year to year.

For example, if school A's P8 is MUCH better in 2018 than 2017, that indicates a high performing intake, rather than school improvement (the reward in progress 8 terms for a child getting an A* vs an A was 3x that for getting from an E to a D in 2018, while the rewards were equal the previous year).

RedskyLastNight Mon 19-Aug-19 13:43:53

Also look at proportion of high/medium/low achievers and how the progress 8 differs between these groups.

On the numbers you've provided alone, both schools seems good. I don't think the school A stats justify the extra travel time, and I'd find that school too small.

ElizabethinherGermanGarden Mon 19-Aug-19 13:52:19

Those P8 scores are excellent. Plus or minus 0.5 is considered significant so they are doing very well.

ElizabethinherGermanGarden Mon 19-Aug-19 13:53:24

If the area is multicultural and lots of students have English as an additional language, that would contribute to the excellent scores as pupils make huge progress as their English becomes more fluent.

schooling123 Mon 19-Aug-19 21:25:15

thank you so much, will try your recommendations. Thank you.

OP’s posts: |
JoJoSM2 Mon 19-Aug-19 22:18:30

How would you get a place in an excellent non-selective schools 6 stops on the tube away? Are they faith schools?

Both look excellent. I’d probably go with the more local one to save your DC an hour in commute time so he can do other things.
But I do have to say that I’d much prefer 117 in a year group to 283.

SockMachine Tue 20-Aug-19 08:41:00

You can’t judge much from simple GCSE results. Effectiveness of education is based on Progress and whether the results simply reflect the intake or not.

Anyway they are both doing well, and with a good option on the doorstep I would take that. Local friends, no packed unhealthy tube journey, a lot can be achieved (rest work or play) in the 50 mins per day saved in travel time.

HandsOffMyRights Tue 20-Aug-19 08:48:49

I'd absolutely be looking at distance to home and the 'feel'/ethos of the school and whether it is a good fit for your child if results are similar and if you are fortunate enough to have a choice.

Never underestimate travel/locality.

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