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Secondary school performance data still has too many flaws to be useful, says NAHT

The DfE has today published provisional data on A level and other 16-18 results, and GCSE and equivalent results for 2017 to 2018, as well as pupil destination data for 2017. Secondary school performance tables in England have also been published today.

Nick Brook, deputy general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “This data shows that schools are continuing to enter pupils into qualifications that count towards the new headline measures. The concern is that whilst this might make for favourable reading in a league table, it may not be the right approach for each individual student.

“As our recently published Accountability Commission report states, we must move towards a better measure of school performance, which recognises that test and exam data are only part of the picture when judging a school’s effectiveness or a pupil’s success.

“We must get to a point where what is right for the school is also right for the pupil. Unfortunately, we are not there yet. As a result, the performance data available to parents, to help them choose the right secondary school for their child, still has too many flaws to be useful.”

Mr Brook continued: “The narrowing of options at A level is a real cause for concern. A core group of rigorous subjects is important, but we need to make sure there is a wider variety and choice beyond them. Young people are individuals and the same choices will not work for all.

“But schools and colleges are finding it harder than ever to prepare young people for the future. Sixth form funding has fallen sharply since 2010 whilst government expectation that students follow a more academic core of subjects has risen.

“Currently schools are compelled to focus on test and exam results to prove their effectiveness. A school which puts students’ needs ahead of data could find itself near the bottom of a league table.  

“School leaders should not have to be brave to do what is right for their students.”

Press and Media contacts:

Steven George
NAHT Head of Press and Media
01444 472886
07970 907730

Rose Tremlett 
Senior Press Officer 
07545 354363

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