Havering’s Individuals Overview and Scrutiny Sub-Committee – 13th April, 2021

This meeting1 discussed findings from Healthwatch Havering. Their report was released as part of a NHS survey: Experiences of disabled North East London residents in the Covid-19 pandemic.2

The questionnaire was too long. For example Q2 was sub-divided into six parts whilst Q12 was sub-divided into eleven parts. The document was formidably long at 26 pages. The additional questionnaire for carers was 25 pages long. Ian Buckmaster faced an impossible task summarising the findings accurately. (4-32 mins)

GP services were challenging for disabled residents (13-16). Harrowing anecdotes were told of lengthy delays hanging on the phone. GP websites were problematic and Ian Buckmaster said they could be in breach of NHS contracts.

The chair Christine Smith guided the meeting successfully. The only bleak spot was David Durant (see especially 47-9) who holds his prejudices uncritically. Trivialities like plausible information doesn’t deflect him. The chair used personal knowledge to rebut him. It didn’t make any difference. Too many councillors were silent apart from Jan Sargent and John Tyler.

The report was noted. Recommendations to the cabinet member Jason Frost should have been made. GP services impacts everybody as John Tyler hinted. Havering Council could, perhaps, broker a deal with the NHS and GP services in this critical area.

Notes

1 Annotator Player (sonicfoundry.com) All timings refer to this webinar

2 (Public Pack)Agenda Document for Individuals Overview & Scrutiny Sub-Committee, 13/04/2021 19:00 (havering.gov.uk)

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