MATRAVERS has seen improvements in its GCSE results, and although headteacher Chris Dark says there is still a way to go, he believes the school is moving in the right direction.
The performance tables for secondary schools in the country were published last week by the Department for Education, and compare results at GCSE, AS, and A- level.
The tables show that 42% of pupils at Matravers School achieved 5 or more A*-C (or equivalent) grades, including English and maths, at GCSE level last year. This compares to a national average of 53.5%, and a Wiltshire average of 55.8%.
Headteacher Chris Dark said, “For us overall it was an improvement but we’ve still got a long way to go.”
Matravers had set itself a target of 44%, falling short with a result of 42.6%. Chris Dark continued, “It’s up on previous years, but not up as much as we want or should be. If we managed to sustain another 5% next year it would be a continuing trend we’d be pleased with and so that’s what we’re focusing on.
“We were pleased last summer because we got lots and lots with high individual scores.
“Our maths results last summer were the best ever in the school’s history, so the bar has been raised and the pressure is there.”
Chris Dark added that many of their students missed out on achieving the 5A*-C benchmark by a small margin. “It’s a matter of just cracking the final part of the equation which is making sure that each person is not missing out in one grade in one subject.” he said. “Each one hits you as half a percent.”
At A-level, Matravers School achieved an average point score per student of 650.1% compared to a Wiltshire average of 774.2% and national average of 744.8%. Chris Dark commented, “They were very good at A2, not so at AS but that’s always been the case because people have always been entered regardless. Teachers have been prepared to give students the benefit of the doubt and have a go. If we’d wanted to be ruthless we’d have done better in the tables.”
The English baccalaureate is a new measure introduced by the government this year, which indicates how many pupils achieved 5 A*-C grades in English, maths, one science, one modern foreign language and a humanities subject (either geography or history). The English Baccalaureate has been introduced retrospectively, with schools learning only a few weeks ago that it was to form part of the performance tables.
Just 5% of Matravers students achieved the new English baccalaureate, compared to a national average of 15.6% and a Wiltshire average of 18.8%. However, Chris Dark says this is easily explained, pointing out that only a small number of Matravers students choose to take a foreign language, which is required to achieve the baccalaureate.
“The English baccalaureate was retrospectively enforced,” he explained. “Actually our science and humanities score was very good – we had a very good science outcome. But the English baccalaureate is only as good as the number of students who take modern languages – we’re an arts college so very few take modern languages.”