THE secondary school performance tables were released last week, and whilst Matravers headteacher Chris Dark recognises that there is still work to be done, he says the school is following a steep upward trend.
The performance tables, published by the Department for Education, compare results at GCSE and A-level for secondary schools throughout England.
The tables show that 47% of pupils at Matravers obtained 5 or more A*-C grade GCSEs, including English and maths, in 2011. This compares to a national average of 58.9% and a Wiltshire average of 60.5%.
The overall results show a steady improvement for the school, rising from 39% in 2009, 42% in 2010, and now 47% in 2011. This year, the school is aiming to reach a target of 55-60%.
Headteacher Chris Dark says breaking down the results demonstrates good results for low and high attainers, but shows a need to focus on the middle attainers.
A measure of pupil progress shows how many levels a child improves between year 7 and year 11, with an expectation that three levels of progress is made. Chris Dark explained, “Maths and English show very good progress for low and high attainers, we’ve got to turn our guns to the middle attainers.
“We have a high percentage of young people who are disadvantaged, and that’s an area we’ve got to focus on.
“We had an Ofsted in July and the indication is we’re making good progress, and we’ve a good capacity to improve. Overall I would say there’s some good things in there, we’re playing catch up but the projectory is steep and rising.”
At A-level, the figures show an average point score of 562.7, compared to a national average of 745.9. However, Chris Dark explains that as pupils can choose to only take two A-levels, this reduces the score. The figures show that whereas 60% students gained 3 or more A-levels at Matravers School, 91% obtained 2 or more A-levels.
Carrying success at primary school into secondary school.
Figures in the Westbury Community Area’s Joint Strategic Assessment (JSA) label Westbury as having the worst performance at GCSE in the county. In contrast, the JSA shows good performance at primary school level, leading people to question why this is not continued at secondary level.
Chris Dark explained firstly that the JSA is based on 2010 figures, not the improved 2011 results, and also that the figures take a snapshot in time and therefore compare two different intakes of students.
“The percentage of pupils getting level 2 in English and maths is particularly good, and that’s a real credit to the primary schools,” he said. “Those pupils are now in year 8, and will be taking their exams in 2015. They would be looking like they should achieve 67-68%. If you take your graph of performance, that puts them in the same place in the Wiltshire secondary tables as the Wiltshire primary tables.”