Talking Heads: Wetherby area schools react to government league tables

Wetherby News, 10/02/15, the number of secondary schools considered to be under-performing has doubled, government figures show. However, the district’s headteachers are hitting back at the Department for Education’s (DfE) league tables and say the decline is due to a major overhaul of how success is now measured. HMC member Mike Gibbons, Principal of the Grammar School at Leeds is quoted.

Grammar School at Leeds Head Mike Gibbons said: “The iGCSE is an exam used by many leading independent schools. We choose iGCSE at the Grammar School where we think it best suits the needs of our pupils in studying that particular subject, for example we feel that in the sciences and maths the iGCSE is better preparation for A-level.

“Given that virtually all our students move onto A-level and to leading universities, and we have studied iGCSE for a number of years now, that decision would appear to be vindicated.

“In 2014 our candidates achieved a 99.6 per cent pass rate in maths and 96 per cent in science, but as they sat iGCSE their success is not recorded in the league tables, impacting on three important performance indicators.

“This is one of a number of flaws in the construction of the tables, for example they don’t reflect the baseline abilities of pupils, the progress that they make or the pathway of study that best suits them.

“While league tables remain a useful source of information for parents, these issues make accurate comparisons impossible. We always recommend looking beyond the league tables by visiting schools, meeting staff and pupils and talking to other parents, in order to fully understand the environment where your child is most likely to flourish.”

Read the full article © Wetherby News