21 Aug '14

News GCSEs only matter if the kids have what they need to follow their dreams

As pupils plan their futures, this year's changes to performance tables aren't perfect, but a big step in the right direction, says the head of Educating Yorkshire's Thornhill academyThe publication of GCSE results is perhaps the only time when I genuinely lose sleep, and with good cause, this year especially. The exams regulator, Ofqual, told schools to prepare for "volatile" results a frightening prospect given that these figures can build, strengthen or bulldoze a school's reputation.School leaders used to focus on their own results and then see how they fared against their nearest competitor schools, so as to claim local bragging rights. The drive towards improving school standards has made this more or less redundant. Now, every school is judged by national standards and schools are grouped off into "similar schools", which have similar intakes, similar deprivation indicators or levels of special educational needs, and then comparisons are made, sometimes to the chagrin of school leaders, but all with admirable intentions. It is a doffed cap at making sure schools which are lagging behind eventually pull their socks up to keep pace with better performing schools. Continue reading...

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