The DFE now releases unchecked Key Stage 4 data in October in order to try and help parents judge the performance of schools based on its Progress 8 measure. How a school does on this measure is not always dependent on the results of individual students across their subjects but often on how well they match a set of certain requirements for their subject choices.
This year here at WHS we achieved some excellent and very pleasing results. We are naturally disappointed that the data released early detracts from this as it is unreflective of those areas of success. The unchecked data includes errors and omissions in results (including a whole course where an exam board has submitted the wrong data to the DFE), none of the dozens of remarks that we have secured and a large distortion caused by 7 students who did not complete all their exams. Being held to account as a school, for instance, for the performance of 2 students who were medically unable to attend school for over 12 months and are still under medical care is lamentable, or indeed for the student who was in school for only 5 months in Year 10 and was not on roll in Year 11 to sit GCSEs. Similarly securing results for students facing individual challenges where we showed flexibility and inventiveness allowing them to move onto college courses, but who did not sit a full suite of exams, rather than artificially removing them from the school roll is unrecognised.
We certainly acknowledge the need for schools to be held accountable for their performance but we find it unhelpful that incomplete data sets that have not been fully checked and corrections made are published. Like all schools we have areas or performance to celebrate but also those where we need to improve and we can describe that in much greater detail than one all-encompassing statistic ever can. We would encourage parents to look much deeper into the performance of any school than one number and know that for most parents that they judge our schools on a much broader basis.