Havering’s Children and Learning Overview and Scrutiny Committee, 30th September, 2021

This is an appalling committee. Judith Holt, the chair, is hapless. Her fellow councillors drift along, sleepily ignorant of what scrutiny might mean. Item 7 Schools Quality Assurance demanded intellectual curiosity.1 Officers didn’t do much ducking-and-diving to escape embarrassment as the committee didn’t lay a finger on them.

Havering’s primary sector is good, unlike the secondary academies but councillors weren’t interested. The chair didn’t provide a steer to officers about expectations and so that’s what they got. No discussion about the fragile academy sector which is systematically under-achieving. A feeble protest from the chair was brushed aside.

Four academies are failing,2 but the officers won’t name names. A lay member asked about St Edwards and was fobbed off.

Academies are unaccountable, arrogant businesses.3

Hall Mead is a high achieving academy. Examining their statistics shows Pupil Premium student outcomes are weak.4 They receive £166,000 for vulnerable students, which doesn’t level-up achievement. Hall Mead fails these students in exactly the way that the other 17 academies do. Draconian discipline codes and an obsession on school uniform is a failed strategy. Perhaps they should try something else?

Because this committee is pathetic, crucial issues like Item 7 escape scrutiny. It’s obvious the council’s policy is to avoid damaging the reputations of academies. Or, to put it another way, they prefer that children receive an inferior education. In secret.

Notes

1 From 1 hour 5 minutes to the end. The presentation lasts until 1:16. Councillors Misir, Lawal, Carol Smith, Durdin and Whitney. Gillian Ford bogs herself down in petty detail. The committee relies entirely on lay members for scrutiny.

2 See Havering’s Academies’ GCSE Results, 2021 – Politics in Havering

3 The Loxford Trust runs Abbs Cross Academy amongst others. The CEO gets £260,000 p.a. Loxford 2020ACCSWIZ.cvw (loxfordtrust.s3.amazonaws.com) p70 The Harris Trust has many schools with one in Rainham. It has four staff earning between £200,000 and £460,000. 1222_H0147_Signed accounts 2020_Buzz.pdf (harrisfederation.s3.amazonaws.com) p49

4 Hall Mead School – GOV.UK – Find and compare schools in England (compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk) The statistics are buried in the summary but can be found at Disadvantaged children.

Havering’s Academies’ GCSE Results, 2021

The government…announced that it would not publish school or college level results data on Compare school and college performance (also commonly referred to as school and college performance tables) in autumn 2020 or autumn 2021, and that this data would not be used to hold schools and colleges to account (my emphasis)1

 

Havering’s academies awarded GCSEs in 2020 and 2021 through teacher assessment. Most of them interpreted the government’s position to mean they shouldn’t publish detailed GCSE results. As a consequence there’s no celebration of achievement or any accountability to students, parents and the people of Havering.

Abbs Cross: their most recent data for 2021 is devoid of content. The summary statement for 2021 is an obfuscation. What does “9-4 English and Maths 78%” mean? This entirely undifferentiated statement is meaningless. Likewise, “9-4 Best English.”2 They do say Pupil Premium students achieve significantly less well than the rest.

Marshalls Park: their most recent data is from 2019.3 They’ve published a subject list and grades without saying how many students sat each subject. This makes the data ambiguous. Bizarrely the Romford Recorder published a report on Marshall Park’s 2021 results even though the academy didn’t. The most successful students were female in a ratio of 9:4.

Coopers Coburn: is Havering’s Gold Standard for transparency in publishing their 2021 GCSE results.4 Their data is intelligible and unambiguous. Each subject is listed with the numbers of students and the outcome grade-by-grade.

Coopers Coburn demonstrate how the 2021 exam results should be published. They are the template and inspiration for the other 17 academies.

Conclusion

Havering’s Academiescoast’ by dodging scrutiny.5 They specialise in misinformation and fluffy generalisations. Positive and negative feedback is avoided by concealing GCSE results. Havering’s academies are excellent at bombastic drivel. Harris Academy Rainham said this 2020,We are….immensely proud of our students for the results they achieved and wish them well with the next stage of their education.”6 Needless to relate there wasn’t any data supporting this statement.

Havering’s academies are doomed to repeat the same failed teaching strategies each year as they don’t engage with the actuality of their performance. Public accountability is an essential part of the learning process that all organisations must undertake as part of constant improvement.

 

Addendum: research note

Research for this blog was done on October 10th 2021. Eleven Academy websites were reviewed and there was a consistent theme of shifty evasion about GCSE results.

Notes

1 Coronavirus (COVID-19): school and college accountability 2021/22 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

2 Achievement and Performance | Abbs Cross The academy costs £5.14 million per year Abbs Cross Academy and Arts College – Schools Financial Benchmarking – GOV.UK (schools-financial-benchmarking.service.gov.uk)

3 Subject-breakdown.pdf (marshallspark.org.uk) Surprisingly there was a press release which sort-of summarised the 2021 results GCSE Results 2021: Romford school shares students results | Romford Recorder The academy costs £6.24 million per year Marshalls Park Academy – Schools Financial Benchmarking – GOV.UK (schools-financial-benchmarking.service.gov.uk)

4 GCSE-Results-2021.pdf (cooperscoborn.org.uk) The academy costs £9.39 million per year The Coopers’ Company and Coborn School – Schools Financial Benchmarking – GOV.UK (schools-financial-benchmarking.service.gov.uk)

5 Havering and Redbridge: A Tale of Two Boroughs – Politics in Havering

6 Examinations Results (Not Current) – Harris Academy Rainham (harrisrainham.org.uk) The academy costs £6.16 million per year Harris Academy Rainham – Schools Financial Benchmarking – GOV.UK (schools-financial-benchmarking.service.gov.uk)

Seven Questions: Any Answers?

The powers of Overview and Scrutiny Committee1

In particular, regulations give enhanced powers to a scrutiny member to access exempt or confidential information. This is in addition to existing rights for councillors to have access to information to perform their duties, including common law rights to request information and rights to request information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. Annotated advice para 38 (my emphasis)

Discussion

Councillors must exercise their powers to fulfil their statutory obligations. For this huge responsibility they’re well paid.2 Most committees only met once in the first six months of 2021. This is an outrage. Committee chairs sabotage the powers the government has given them.

Havering’s Overview and Scrutiny Committees are listed below, along with suggested questions.

Children & Learning Overview & Scrutiny Sub-Committee

1 How was Marshalls Park Academy selected for £6.8 million pounds of capital works as opposed to the Council’s own Junior Schools?

Crime & Disorder Sub- Committee

2 What discussions have taken place about Knife Crime since Jodie Chesney was tragically murdered nearly two years ago? And what positive action has taken place?

Environment Overview & Scrutiny Sub-Committee

3 When will a Task Force be established to discuss flooding measures? This critical problem needs well thought out strategies.

Health Overview & Scrutiny Sub-Committee

4 How is the Digital Divide being tackled for Havering’s elderly population access to GP services?

Individuals Overview & Scrutiny Sub-Committee

5 The recent report on N.E.London’s Health Service highlighted the distressing experiences of some disabled residents. What has been the Council’s dialogue with partners?

Overview & Scrutiny Board

6 The 2019 purchase of the Marks and Spencer site costs half a million pounds a year in interest payments. Damian White said this would be paid for with rent. How much rent has actually been paid since the purchase?

Towns & Communities Overview & Scrutiny Sub- Committee

7 What was the impact of the loss of business rates when Debenhams store closed?

Damian White’s Councillors are incapable of fulfilling their responsibilities and should be thrown out next year.

Notes

1 Overview and scrutiny: statutory guidance for councils and combined authorities – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

2 2020 Members Allowances final.pdf (havering.gov.uk)

Gaynes School, the Pupil Premium and Accountability

It is for schools to decide how the Pupil Premium, allocated to schools per FSM* student, is spent… for the individual pupils within their responsibility.” Government statement (my emphasis)

The challenge to establish a clear link between educational expenditure and pupils’ learning is harder than one would imagine. It may seem obvious that more money offers the possibilities for a better or higher quality educational experience, but the evidence suggests that it is not simply a question of spending more to get better results.”* Gaynes statement (my emphasis)

Gaynes School received £69,190 of Pupil Premium (PP) funding in 2020-21. PP funding demands acceptance of the government’s criteria of accountability. The government’s criteria are clear, unequivocal and entirely reasonable (Addendum one). Gaynes fails to be clear or precise in this important duty.

Gaynes response to disadvantaged children is providing,

Additional Educational Resources for Looked After Children – allocated £1,800

Strategy: For 2019-20, each looked after child has a Personalised Educational Plan drawn up by our specialist worker in conjunction with the local authority to ensure that each student receives resources and support which would be appropriate for them as an individual.”

£1,800 is about £29 per disadvantaged child (2.6% of PP funding). The other £67,390 is invisible. (Addendum two) Gaynes says money doesn’t guarantee ‘better results’. Nonetheless PP funding should be analysed for effectiveness. PP funding is targeted and schools, are best placed to assess what additional provision should be made for…individual pupils…” (my emphasis). With freedom comes responsibility.

Accountability isn’t a threat, it’s a diagnostic tool identifying successes and failures. PP funding is for the most vulnerable children in the country and the government is entitled to know that its ambitions are being fulfilled. Why doesn’t Gaynes meet its obligations?

Addendum one: Government guidance for publicising the Pupil Premium on school websites says it should include –

1) a summary of the main barriers to educational achievement faced by eligible pupils of the school

2) how the pupil premium allocation is to be spent to address those barriers and the reasons for that approach

3) how the school is to measure the impact and effect of its expenditure of the pupil premium allocation. What academies, free schools and colleges should publish online – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Addendum two: Statement of accounts for Pupil Premium

The Regional Schools Commission tell me that there is a full statement from Gaynes School. It’s in a side bar and is labelled ‘draft’. As a consequence I ignored it thinking that it wasn’t substantive. The link that I was provided with is this, Pupil-Premium-Reports-and-Strategy.pdf (gaynesschool.net)

Quite why the statement of accounts for Pupil Premium is separated into two sections with one labelled ‘draft’ is beyond me but nonetheless that’s as it is.

Notes

* Pupil Premium | Gaynes School All quotes are from this document.

** See Young carers (youngminds.org.uk)

Sources

Gaynes school PP statement Pupil Premium | Gaynes School

Loxford school PP statement Pupil Premium | Loxford

Havering Sixth Form College

Havering Sixth Form College is focused entirely on Advanced (A) level studies. It has over 2,000 students and is the principal route to ‘A’ levels in Havering. There are six school sixth forms with outcomes below the national and London average.1 But how does the Sixth Form College do?

Havering Sixth Form College doesn’t make a full presentation of examination results.2 The College’s sole function is teaching ‘A’ level and yet the principal stakeholders are denied critical information.

What is that critical information? If you look at the Addendum you’ll see that the Principal has specifically identified certain subject areas as being especially strong in terms of ‘A’ level outcomes.

What he doesn’t do is specifically identify those subjects which have poor or mediocre examination results. Yet that’s information which prospective students absolutely need if they’re to make informed choices.

Although most students on A-level courses make the progress expected of them, the variation between different subjects is too great. Leaders and managers recognise the areas of weaker performance and are taking appropriate action to remedy them.”3 (my emphasis)

Avoiding scrutiny of examination results means prospective students are deliberately misled. They deserve better. Six schools provide ‘A’ levels and students who chose the College need to know that it’s superior to their school. This is impossible as there’s no relevant data readily accessible to the students. The transformative significance of choosing an ‘A’ level course means that students should have transparent information. The PR approach to the presentation of examination results by the College is almost criminal.

Addendum: ‘A’ level examination results

“I am delighted to announce fantastic outcomes for our students at Havering Sixth Form in 2019. The A Level pass rate, passes at A* and A, high grades A*-B and grades A-C are all excellent.

  • 95% overall pass rate
  • 117 students achieved A*-A
  • 419 students achieved A*-B
  • 876 students achieved A*-C

In addition, 100% pass rates were achieved in many courses with almost all attaining pass rates in excess of 93%.

Students achieved fantastic results on many courses, including facilitating subjects favoured by the Russell Group Universities: Chemistry, Computer Science, English Literature, Spanish, and the arts – Textiles, Photography, Graphics, Architecture & Interior Design and Fine Art.” (my emphasis – is ‘fantastic’ really appropriate in the presentation of examination results remembering it has two meanings?)

Paul Wakeling, Principal

See Results – Havering Colleges

Notes

1 See (Public Pack)Agenda Document for Children & Learning Overview & Scrutiny Sub-Committee, 04/03/2021 19:00 (havering.gov.uk) especially p23, Table 10a The chair of the Children’s committee, Judith Holt, was shocked to find out that school sixth forms are mediocre. She’s been chair for three years. What’s she been doing apart from picking up £44,000 in allowances?

2 Only three out of eighteen academy secondary schools publish their GCSE results in full

3 See OFSTED Report Ofsted_2018.200747139 (6).PDF p8

Hornchurch High School, the Pupil Premium and Accountability

Government guidance for publicising the Pupil Premium on school websites says it should include –

1) a summary of the main barriers to educational achievement faced by eligible pupils of the school

2) how the pupil premium allocation is to be spent to address those barriers and the reasons for that approach

3) how the school is to measure the impact and effect of its expenditure of the pupil premium allocation.*

Hornchurch High received £367,218 Pupil Premium funding (PP), 2020-21, which it spent as it chose. The government does however stipulate accountability procedures. (see above)Hornchurch High’s accountability is a travesty.

Hornchurch High allocates 33% of PP funding to Child Protection. Let’s imagine they’ve identified Child Protection as the main method of overcoming “barriers to educational achievement,” and PP finance is “…spent to address those barriers…” Why wouldn’t they publicise the ”…impact and effect of its expenditure…”? When a third of the PP budget is allocated to a single activity, there should be a compelling reason to justify it. The explanation for the expenditure of the PP funding which remains is equally opaque.**

The attainment gap of disadvantaged children is a scandal which PP funding is intended to close. It’s impossible to know if Hornchurch High is fulfilling its obligations. Another Havering school, Drapers Academy (£384,640 PP), is a model of clarity. Why not use it as a template? Accountability isn’t rocket science.

Addendum: The Partnership Learning trust

They’re part of Partnership Learning academy trust which includes Sydney Russell school, Dagenham (£647,882 pa PP). The two schools have a million+ pounds PP funding of potential synergies. Two schools in the same academy trust and facing the similar issues ought to generate significant expertise.

Notes

* What academies, free schools and colleges should publish online – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

** £26,028 for additional English support and £6,000 for additional teaching hours are self explanatory.

Sources

For Hornchurch High school PP see Hornchurch High School » PUPIL PREMIUM

For Sydney Russell school’s PP see Welcome to Sydney Russell School. (follow links for PP)

For Drapers Academy PP statement see Pupil-Premium-Report-2017-2018-v20.pdf (drapersacademy.com)

R. J. Mitchell Primary School: Celebrating Local History

Introduction

R. J. Mitchell didn’t have a direct personal connexion with Hornchurch but in an imaginative gesture his genius is acknowledged by the school named after him. The incredibly courageous RAF pilots who flew out of Hornchurch flew in Supermarine Spitfires, which Mitchell designed. The Spitfire was so advanced and capable as a fighter plane it made victory over the Luftwaffe possible.Mitchell’s Spitfire designs were a crucial contribution to victory by ‘The Few’.Hornchurch is indelibly identified with the battle of Britain, the Spitfire and R. J. Mitchell.

Discussion

The school concludes their brief history of the period by saying,

We do not seek to glorify war, but to remember the sacrifice of brave people in extraordinary circumstances.”

The school reflects the community by honouring the RAF ‘aces’ of the Battle of Britain. This bonds the school with their community. Many of the school’s students come from streets named after fighter ‘aces’ in the immediate area. The school is located in a place which memorialises those fateful years.

Each passing year pushes those existential days further into the mists of history. So does it matter?

History does matter as it gives a sense of place and identity. The rich heritage that is celebrated by R. J. Mitchell School isn’t jingoistic. It’s measured, respectful and is to be applauded.

Sources

For a quick biography see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._J._Mitchell

For the excellent R J Mitchell School’s celebration of the history of the community see http://www.rjmitchellprimaryschool.com/havering/primary/rjmitchell/site/pages/welcome/historyofourschool

For R J Mitchell School in 2013 see https://www.teachprimary.com/learning_resources/view/outstanding-schools-rj-mitchell-primary

Marshalls Park Academy: a Critique

Introduction

Marshalls Park is an average academy in Havering,* which is why it was chosen for this critique. This is intended to be constructive criticism, contributing towards a reorientation from the merely peripheral to substantive educational issues.

Discussion

On the academy’s website, the Headteacher in his 18th September, 2020 blog remarks that, “….it’s that schools are under constantly [sic] scrutiny by the whole community and that just magnifies the pressure.”** It isn’t “community….pressure” calling for transparency about GCSE results, it’s a perfectly normal expectation. The presentation of the 2019 GCSE results was opaque. Let’s take the top line:-

Subject ……………….9-4…………….9-5……………..9-7

English Language 68.26%……….52.10%……….7.19%

There’s no explanatory note explaining grade boundaries. Grade 9 is an outstanding result. Grade 4 is a bare ‘pass’ with a three grades beneath them: Grades 1-3. The results don’t show the 31.74% of the 2019 cohort sitting English Language who achieved grades 1-3. It’s as if a third of the school is invisible and unwelcome because they’ve failed the school. The students might say that they have been failed by the school of course.

The Headteacher sings from a different hymn sheet. His 2nd October, 2020 blog focuses on the new Barnes building. The site manager is warmly praised despite the building being delivered late. Astonishingly, the teaching staff’s unique role in 2020 is ignored, as is the implementation of a new system of teaching and learning. The staff’s stellar efforts maintaining progress through the lockdown is taken for granted.

A Headteacher’s blogs are an important mechanism for setting the tone of an academy. The priorities embedded within blogs guide the expectations of the reader. Both of this term’s blogs are unfortunate. They go a long way towards showing why there’s systemic weakness in Havering’s academies. Only sharply focused senior management teams, who aren’t in denial about their GCSE results, will break out of mediocrity. Parents and the wider community are entitled to know in detail the outcomes of GCSE results. They should not be concealed or underplayed on school websites.

Notes

* See https://havering.blog/2019/11/29/havering-and-redbridge-a-tale-of-two-boroughs/

** http://marshallspark.org.uk/2020/09/18/joy/

*** See my https://havering.blog/2020/07/04/haverings-2020-gcse-results-part-one/ The government changed their position on GCSE results when they fully appreciated that grades were being awarded on the historic outcomes of the school not the individual student. There were massive disparities between teacher assessments and the standardisation principles embedded in the original documents. See also https://havering.blog/2020/07/11/haverings-2020-gcse-results-part-two/

Source

The GCSE results for 2019 at Marshalls Park academy. As of 6th October 2020 these 2019 results were still being described as ‘provisional’ fourteen months after being announced.They missed the announced date of April 2020 by six months.http://marshallspark.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Subject-breakdown.pdf

For other key metrics 2017-8 see https://www.bing.com/search?q=marshalls+park+academy&form=ANNTH1&refig=db21274807a54e57bb9bfa2d7497fecf&sp=1&qs=HS&pq=ma&sk=PRES1&sc=8-2&cvid=db21274807a54e57bb9bfa2d7497fecf These statistics are the most recent published.

Havering’s 2020 GCSE Results: Part Two

Havering’s schools will be judged this August as never before. GCSE results are dependent on previous performance, regardless of current individual achievement. But do students know what the previous performance is? Three schools opt for a ‘warts and all’ approach. Two schools have a decent half-way house. The other thirteen schools’ results are presented in an opaque manner, or not at all in three cases. Examination Boards will adjust schools’ assessment if they appear too severe or too generous. Adjustments will bring results into line with previous outcomes.

Coopers’ Company and Coburn, Frances Bardsley and Sacred Heart of Mary schools publish GCSE results in full. The 2020 results won’t be a straight ‘read through’ from 2019 but will be used in decision making. Coopers’ 2019 cohort achieved 26 grade 9s in Religious Studies. At Sacred Heart English Language, Mathematics and History all achieved six grade 9s. The same three subjects, in that order, at Frances Bardsley led to 6 grade 9s, five grade 9s and 10 grade 9s. All three schools have less successful subjects, which aren’t hidden.

Gaynes School said, “22% of our students gained Grades 7-9 (equivalent to a Grades A** – A) in five or more subjects.” The statement continued, “a phenomenal personal achievement for our students and incredibly rewarding for us as a non-selective local community school.”* This rather begs the question as to what the other 78% achieved. It shields weaker subjects from scrutiny. But in the Havering context this counts as a transparent statement.

Marshalls Park school says, 2019 saw Marshalls Park Academy students achieving amazing results, some of the best the school has ever had.”*** Their headline statement is, “Grade 5 and above in English and Maths: 46% (2018 = 33%)”. They’ve published a list of subjects with outcomes, which again is welcome whilst not hitting the gold standard of the virtuous three. Redden Court offers a different tactic as they make selected comparisons with national outcomes. Opaque but interesting.

Concealing examination results is reprehensible but that’s Hornchurch High school’s tactic. The head teacher’s introductory video presentation says she wants grammar school status. Looking at the government’s performance comparison site, this is delusional. They aren’t alone. Emerson Park and Sanders school join Hornchurch High in not publishing GCSE results at all, not even in the truncated way Brittons school adopts, “9-4 English and Maths… 49%”.

GCSE results should be published so stakeholders can readily understand the information offered. Transparency is important as a tool for critical analysis. Publishing GCSE results in full is the least that can be reasonably expected in a publicly funded education system.

Addendum: Raphael Independent School

Raphael’s don’t publish meaningful GCSE examination results either. They remark, “In 2019 70% of students obtained 8+ GCSE’s with a 92% pass rate in both English and Maths.” Quite what “a 92% pass ratemeans depends on what’s meant by ‘pass’. GCSE grades run from 1-9. Most schools regard 1-3 as a fail even though it isn’t. GCSE’s measure achievement. Raphael’s don’t define ‘pass’ but the working assumption is ‘pass’ means grades 4-9.

Notes

* https://www.gaynesschool.net/gcse-results/

** https://www.cooperscoborn.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/GCSE-results-PUBLICATION2.pdf

*** http://marshallspark.org.uk/exam-results/#:~:text=2019%20saw%20Marshalls%20Park%20Academy,66%25%20(2018%20%3D%2059%25)

Sources

For Coopers’ Coburn 2019 results see https://www.cooperscoborn.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/GCSE-results-PUBLICATION2.pdf

For Frances Bardsley’s 2019 results see https://fbaok.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Parents-Exam-booklet-2019.pdf

For Sacred Heart’s 2019 GCSE results see https://sacredheartofmary.net/wp-content/uploads/Exresult2019-1.pdf

For Gaynes 2019 GCSE results see http://www.gaynesschool.net/gcse-results/

For Redden Court’s 2019 GCSE results see https://www.reddencourtcloud.co.uk/information-for-parents/examination-results

For Marshalls Park 2019 GCSE results see http://marshallspark.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Subject-breakdown.pdf

For Hornchurch High’s 2019 GCSE results see https://www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk/school/143946/hornchurch-high-school/secondary

For Emerson Park 2019 GCSE results see http://www.emersonparkacademy.org/page/?title=Results&pid=29

For Sanders school see https://www.sandersschool.org.uk/information-for-parents/examination-information

For Brittons 2019 GCSE results see https://www.brittons.havering.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Examination-Results-2019.pdf

Havering’s 2020 GCSE Results: Part One

The government’s Covid-19 education policy depends on Year Eleven teachers grading and ranking students to replace GCSE examinations. This task was completed on 12th June, 2020.

1) Teachers must produce an order of merit for their students

2) Teachers must ‘award’ GCSE grades based on that order of merit within each grade. Therefore every grade 9 student is ranked, likewise grade 8 students and so on.

Heads of Centre must sign a declaration confirming the centre assessment grades and rank order are a true representation of their students’ performance, before checking the data for accuracy, and submitting it to the exam board. p5*

The government is aware that teachers who support their students might subjectively slide into grade inflation, so grades are subject to statistical analysis.

So that the final grades awarded are as fair as possible, exam boards will standardise the judgements for each subject across different centres once they have been submitted, using a statistical methodology developed in conjunction with Ofqual. p4**

The government’s statisticians understand bias and its dangers. This is discussed on pages p10-11*. The ranking order won’t be altered but grades might be,

However, if grading judgements in a subject in some schools and colleges appear to be more severe or generous than others, exam boards will adjust the grades of some or all of those students upwards or downwards accordingly. This means that the centre assessment grades submitted by schools and colleges and the final grade that students receive could be different. It also means that adjustments to centre assessment grades might be different in different subjects. P9*

Using the 2019 GCSE results of Sacred Heart of Mary for example, a prediction that 19 students of Religious Studies should be awarded grade 9, will probably be agreed. Alternatively predicting 19 grade 9 successes in Mathematics would probably be downgraded. This is due to a significant differential between the subject outcomes in previous years.

The government’s advice is this,

If, when compared to the evidence… your judgements in a subject are more generous than would be expected, then the final grades for some or all of your students will be adjusted down. P11**

Teachers, parents and students at Sacred Heart are at a significant advantage to 15 Havering schools, as they publish results subject by subject. It’s the school that’s being graded. Individual students aren’t graded at Examination Board level.

Ofqual…. shows that for the vast majority of schools and colleges any year-on year variation in results for a given subject is quite small. In 2015 and 2016, 90% of centres were classed as having stable outcomes and 8.5% of centres were classed as having ‘unstable results’. Only 0.8% of centres had results that increased by more than the national average change in both 2015 and 2016 and only 0.5% of centres had results that decreased more than the national average change in both 2015 and 2016. p10*

Covid-19 has turned traditional examinations upside down. The historic performance of schools is now all important.*** Teachers have had a heavy burden placed on their shoulders as they adjudicate the GCSE grades of their students during this emergency.

Notes

Sacred Heart’s 2019 GCSE results in detail https://sacredheartofmary.net/wp-content/uploads/Exresult2019-1.pdf

* https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/890811/Summer_2020_grades_for_GCSE_AS_A_level_guidance_for_teachers_students_parents_09062020.pdf When there is quotation from this document there will be page reference and *

** https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/887018/Summer_2020_Awarding_GCSEs_A_levels_-_Info_for_Heads_of_Centre_22MAY2020.pdf When there is quotation from this there will be page reference and **

*** In a fast moving situation this has been modified https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/coronavirus/gcse-and-a-level-pupils-can-sit-exams-if-they-don-t-like-coursework-grade/ar-BB169yfX?ocid=msedgntp accessed 30th June 2020

Sources

For the worst performing school in England see https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/breaking-englands-worst-schools-revealed-13899939 The list is, …. based on how teenagers at each of the country’s secondary schools performed in their GCSE exams in 2018, taking into account progress not attainment.Drapers & Brittons feature from Havering.

For the general advice the government is offering see https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/890811/Summer_2020_grades_for_GCSE_AS_A_level_guidance_for_teachers_students_parents_09062020.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/awarding-qualifications-in-summer-2020

For the government’s specific advice to schools see https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/887018/Summer_2020_Awarding_GCSEs_A_levels_-_Info_for_Heads_of_Centre_22MAY2020.pdf