Headteachers criticise new policy of ‘half-time results’

Simon Spiers, executive head of the Vale Academy Trust which runs King Alfred’s Academy

Simon Spiers, executive head of the Vale Academy Trust which runs King Alfred’s Academy

First published in Education Witney Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

SEVERAL headteachers refused to release their official results yesterday, criticising new Government policy.

For the first time, this year a school’s position in the league table will depend on a pupil’s first attempt at an exam.

While students can still resit an exam and improve their personal grade, schools cannot count these marks as part of their official results.

But more than a quarter of schools which gave their results to the Oxford Mail yesterday decided not to publish their official figures, instead releasing those including the resit grades.

Paul James, headteacher of The Cherwell School in Marston Ferry Road, said: “It’s the results that students get in their hands today which are the things that matter to them and ultimately matter to schools too.

“I know schools are being asked to submit their first results and best results, there’s not much difference between ours but what we do feel is that as a point of principle these results are for the students, they’re not for the Government.”

King Alfred’s Academy in Wantage also refused to publish its first set of results.

Simon Spiers, executive head of the Vale Academy Trust which runs King Alfred’s Academy, said: “You don’t ask Manchester United to report their half-time results.

“For us it is nonsensical to report any other results – no employer is going to want to see their November results.”

However, he admitted he did expect the school to go down in the league table because of first exam results.

Alwyn Richards, headteacher of St Birinus in Didcot, said: “It is nonsense to stop with what they get in January. I totally dismiss any other form of measuring what they achieve. Our students are here for five years and this is about what they can do in those five years.

“So much work is put in and there is always this background noise of absolute turmoil. All we can do is put our heads down and do the best we can.”

Many of the schools that chose to release both sets of data had the same results in each because they had not had any resits.

The changes are part of a Government crackdown on early entries to GCSEs, which it has branded as schools attempting to cheat their way into a higher league table position.

It says schools enter their pupils into exams too early, giving them time to resit them, but the Government says these children often perform worse overall.

Tim Hands, Master of Magdalen College School in Oxford and chairman of the Headmasters’ & Headmistresses’ Conference, said the Government was moving the goalposts too often. He said: “Today is a day that ought to be one of celebration but it has been a week of uncertainty.”

But Sami Cohen, principal of D’Overbroecks College in Oxford, said: “I’m very pleased that these changes have been brought in, I don’t think modular GCSEs makes sense nor do I believe in students sitting GCSEs early when they are not ready and having to resit them lots of times, which seems to me to be a rather silly strategy.

“We don’t do those kinds of things so we haven’t really noticed these changes ourselves.”

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Comments (1)

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10:01am Fri 22 Aug 14

Myron Blatz says...

Michael Gove - where are you when the poo hits fan? Hopefully, now very far from ruining the lives of cointless school kids. This current government won't stay in power next year - but schools and children have already suffered from four years of box-ticking petty officialdom, apparently hell-bent on developing their own careers, whilst schools and school kids just become yet more meaningless data and statistics to file-away.
Michael Gove - where are you when the poo hits fan? Hopefully, now very far from ruining the lives of cointless school kids. This current government won't stay in power next year - but schools and children have already suffered from four years of box-ticking petty officialdom, apparently hell-bent on developing their own careers, whilst schools and school kids just become yet more meaningless data and statistics to file-away. Myron Blatz
  • Score: -3

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