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)

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.