Wednesday 4 January 2017

Brent primary academies perform less well than the best maintained primary schools

Regular readers of this post will know that I am extremely sceptical of the value of the SATs, especially the Year 6 tests, and even more so after last year's fiasco.

Because it is a new system with new expectations the 2016 results cannot be compared with previous years and comparison between schools is unreliable given that some schools may have been panicked into 'teaching to the test' and abandoned much of the rest of the curriculum.  The changes in the curriculum and testing resulted in much press coverage of distraught children and we saw the launch of several national parent campaigns against the tests.  Teachers felt that the new 'expected standards' were far too high and unattainable for many children.

Nevertheless readers may be interested in the results for Brent as announced by Brent Council:
The headline measure for Brent of the proportion of pupils attaining the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics is 55 per cent compared to the national average of 53 per cent and the London average of 59 per cent. The proportion of Brent disadvantaged pupils attaining the expected standard is 48 per cent, well above the  national average of 39 per cent and just below the London average of 49 per cent.

This is the first set of test results following the introduction of the new national curriculum and cannot be compared to the results of previous years. 

The new measures of the progress that pupils made during Key Stage 2 show that the average progress scores for Brent pupils are above the national averages for reading, writing and mathematics. Brent is below the London average for reading and writing but well above London for mathematics:

An ongoing issue is of course the merits, or not, of academies versus local authority schools, faith schools and 'all-through' schools (catering for 4-19 year olds). Independent schools do not have to take SATs so no comparative data is available for them.

SAT results are a very limited measure and I would argue that there are more important aspects of schools that should be taken into account.

Bearing in mind these caveats it is possible to review those issues in the data published by the DfE which can be found HERE along with much more background information about schools.

Using the rather crude measure of the percentage of Year 6 children reaching the new 'expected standards' the figures are:

National: All Schools 53%
                All state funded schools 55%
London Average: 59%
Brent Average: 55%

The highest faith school in Brent was Our Lady of Grace (Catholic) at 93% an exceptional result compared with other Brent schools. The highest other faith groups were:  NW London Jewish Day School 76%.  Islamia Primary 67%. St Mary's CofE Primary 56%.

The highest local authority school in Brent was Wykeham at 80%

The highest academy was Oakington Manor which has only recently converted to academy status  from foundation status at 75%

Other academies:

Ark Franklin 57%

Sudbury Primary 56%

Ark Academy (all through) 53%

St Andrews & St Francis Academy 47%

Preston Manor Academy (all through) 31%

It doesn't appear that all-through schools can claim any superiority on this measure and other academies are mixed.  Although Our Lady of Grace has a stand out result other faith schools  are lower than the best local authority maintained school.

From this very limited survey I cannot see any clinching argument for mass conversion to academy status.


If you have a child born between 1 Sept 2012 and 31 Aug 2013 you need to apply for a Reception place before Sunday Jan 15th

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