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.


* 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.


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


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


* 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/


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.


* 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)


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.


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


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


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

Is Havering’s Academy System an Expensive Failure?

There are eighteen secondary schools in Havering, none of which are administered by the council. They are grouped into six categories of governance, costing huge amounts of public money. Apart from OFSTED inspections, they are broadly unaccountable. Only when the annual examination season reports in August are they reported as Havering schools.* Then the borough takes responsibility when they excel or fail. Why aren’t the trusts which administer them held directly accountable?

Let us take the case of the Loxford School Trust. This Trust is responsible for six secondary schools** in Barking and Dagenham, Essex, Havering, Redbridge and Southend. Perhaps the question should be: how well did the Loxford School Trust do? Their flagship school, Loxford in Redbridge, was deemed below average in 2018.*** Warren School in Barking and Dagenham was average,**** Tabor school in Essex was below average.***** Two Havering schools, Abbs Cross and Gaynes, are respectively below average and average.^ Finally we have Cecil Jones school in Southend. Well this school closed in March 2019. I wonder why?

Loxford School Trust is meant to be an improvement on the, now extinct, Havering LEA. It clearly isn’t. They’re grimly mediocre. Their pinnacle is average. And the educational reputation of Havering has been out-sourced into their hands. Loxford Trust isn’t a bargain basement option. Their CEO is paid £255,000 pa for underwhelming outcomes.^^

Let us consider Empower Learning Academy Trust. They are an entrepreneurial off-shoot of Hall Mead school. They run Bower Park, Brittons Academy and Hall Mead. The leadership of Hall Mead was dazzled by their success in making their school OFSTED rated outstanding in 2013. In truth this is a brilliant result but has it induced hubris? The business plan is: we transplant Hall Mead to Bower Park and Brittons Academy and then they too will be outstanding. So how has it worked out?

In terms of examination results Hall Mead is now average and it appears that they have destroyed value in the period since 2013. Bower Park is below average and Brittons Academy well below average. Achievement in the academy system is illusionary.

British politics is wedded to quick fix solutions. Tony Blair’s government, 1997-2007, prioritised education but his timescale wasn’t decades, it was yesterday. The pre-eminence of private education in Britain meant that was the favoured model. The school system has, allegedly, benefited from shedding the ‘shackles’ of local government. This PR ‘solution’ has been embraced by Michael Gove who claimed, without evidence, Free Schools were even better. His Free School system is an expensive failure,^^^ playing politics with children’s futures.^^^^ The result is administrative chaos. There is confusion as to where accountability lies. The principal achievement of the academy system has been to create a new breed of fat cats at the expense of children’s educational opportunity.

Addendum: Havering schools in 2018
Basic statistics tell us everything can’t be above average. In Havering there are 18 secondary schools. The optimum outcome would be 6:6:6 shared between above average, average and below average. The actuality is 5:6:7, which is well within the tolerances of acceptability. (Quick fix politicians want every school to be above average.) Breaking up Havering’s LEA has smashed financial restraint for the senior managements of academy trusts. The Harris Trust leads the way with £500,000 pa for their CEO. Even the small Partnership Learning Trust (Hornchurch High School) pays their CEO £220,000.^^^^ These figures dwarf Council salaries.

* For 2018 see https://www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk/schools-by-type?step=default&table=schools&region=311&la-name=havering&geographic=la&for=secondary&basedon=Overall%20performance&show=All%20pupils
** Plus one primary school in Redbridge.
*** https://www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk/schools-by-type?step=default&table=schools&region=317&la-name=redbridge&geographic=la&for=16to18
**** https://www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk/schools-by-type?step=default&table=schools&region=317&la-name=redbridge&geographic=la&for=16to18
***** https://www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk/schools-by-type?step=default&table=schools&region=881&la-name=essex&geographic=la&for=secondary&page=2
^ https://www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk/schools-by-type?step=default&table=schools&region=311&la-name=havering&geographic=la&for=secondary
^^ See http://www.loxfordschooltrust.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/126527-Loxford-School-Trust-1718-FinStat.pdf p58 By way of comparison Havering’s Chief Executive is paid £170,000
^^^ https://www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk/schools-by-type?step=default&table=schools&region=311&la-name=havering&geographic=la&for=secondary For Hall Mead in 2013 see https://www.romfordrecorder.co.uk/news/education/gcse-exam-results/gcses-hall-mead-school-pupils-celebrate-exceptional-results-1-2348681
^^^^ See https://schoolsweek.co.uk/revealed-the-hidden-cost-of-free-schools/
^^^^^In Havering there are also:
(a) Academy Converters Sacred Heart, Campion School, Marshalls Park, Redden Court and Royal Liberty
(b) Foundation schools Coopers Company and Coborn, and Sanders
(c) Various free standing academy’s St Edwards, Emerson Park and Francis Bardsley
(d) Draper’s Multi-Academy Trust Draper’s School. Once again there is an untested belief in transferable skills, from Queen Mary’s College, London. Draper’s school is rated well below average.
(e) Harris Academy Harris school, Rainham, rated above average. Harris CEO is on £500,000.
^* http://www.partnershiplearning.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Accounts-for-website-v2.pdf p34

Havering Education: Abbs Cross School Behaviour Policy 2017-9

Abbs Cross school behaviour policy is defensive. What’s demonstrated is a tragic wasted opportunity for having a positive rewards policy embedded within its behaviour policy. This would be alongside and carrying equal weight to the rule directed policy presently existing. Abbs Cross has had a good Ofsted (see addendum two), which provides a platform to build on now that they’ve put their ‘inadequate’ status behind them.

The Behaviour Policy of Abbs Cross school runs to eight pages.1

The Aims (p2) include:

To promote Student Voice in regard to Behaviour for Learning expectations and Rewards (bullet point 6: my emphasis).

The Statement of General Principles (pp2-3) has 20 statements only one of which is a token nod at rewards-
Will support, praise and as appropriate reward students’ behaviour.
There’s lavish detail on control but the positive side of motivation is absent. This is counter-intuitive as students react well to rewards whereas punishment can create resentment and further disruptive behaviour.

The negative tone extends to parents/carers. Student and parental misconduct is highlighted (pp2-3) along with indicated draconian action.2 Later (p6) parents/carers who bring drugs, alcohol and weapons are reminded that this is against school rules. School rules aren’t being broken: laws are being broken.

Under the heading General Expectations(p6) there are 17 descriptive statements (addendum one). At first glance they wouldn’t be out of place in a Victorian factory or prison. They’re prescriptive and, in many respects, petty. They can also be repetitive – compare point 2 in ‘General Expectations’ and point 5 in ‘Students are expected.’

The Ofsted Report, September 2017, (see addendum two) is quite clear that the school is doing well in regard to behaviour. Doubtless the ‘Inadequate’ status was bruising but it’s time for the school to move on. The Behaviour Policy should be reviewed making it more effective so that the elusive ‘outstanding’ status is achieved.

Addendum one: General Expectations

Be punctual to school and to all lessons
Be smart in appearance and in full correct uniform
Be prepared and fully equipped for all lessons including bringing PE kit when needed
Be responsible for the school environment
Be safe
Be kind, polite and careful
Be motivated to learn
Be respectful

Students are expected:

To arrive at school by on time with the correct books and equipment for the day
To respect others and their property
To respect the building and grounds
To follow directions
To wear correct school uniform as outlined in the schools Uniform policy
To move around the school on the left in an orderly manner
To carry their diary with them and to use it appropriately
To complete homework and hand it in on time
To stay healthy

Addendum two: Ofsted Report3


The behaviour of pupils is good.

Leaders have done much to improve behaviour and their hard work has paid off. Pupils’ behaviour in lessons and around the school is consistently good. Behaviour is especially strong when pupils move between lessons where they walk calmly from one classroom to another. Similarly, pupils behave well during break and lunchtimes. As a result, there is very little disruption around the school and pupils get to their lessons on time. Pupils are polite and courteous and relationships between pupils and staff are respectful. This ensures that there is a positive climate right across the school that encourages learning.

Pupils are clear that bullying is rare and that it hardly ever happens. They confirm that behaviour has improved in the last few years and that bullying is no longer a problem. However, pupils are confident that if there was any bullying it would be dealt with effectively by teachers and leaders.

Procedures to check pupils’ attendance and follow up absence are secure. The reorganisation of the pastoral care system has helped to ensure that these procedures work effectively. As a result, attendance has improved and is in line with other schools in England.

1 http://www.abbscross.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Behaviour-Policy-DUE-SPRING-2019.pdf

2 http://www.loxfordschooltrust.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Exclusions-Statement-March-2019.pdf

3 https://files.api.ofsted.gov.uk/v1/file/2730969