Secondary school performance tables are inherently flawed

24 January 2019

Commenting on the publication today of the secondary school performance tables, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“Performance tables can never tell the full story of a school and we urge parents and governors not to place too much weight on them.

“The secondary school performance tables are inherently flawed in that the headline measure of Progress 8 which is used to judge the performance of schools effectively penalises schools which have a high proportion of disadvantaged children. The effect of this is to stigmatise these schools, making it more difficult to recruit headteachers and teachers and demoralising pupils, parents and communities.

“In particular, we would urge the media and the public to beware of the so-called ‘floor’ and ‘coasting’ standards which are applied to schools in the performance tables. These are complex measures which Education Secretary Damian Hinds has acknowledged are confusing and intends to replace with a single measure from September 2019 which will trigger support for schools. Any changes will need careful thought and must not be rushed in.

“Current performance tables are long past their sell-by date. We urgently need fairer performance measures which better recognise the achievements of schools that teach the most vulnerable pupils.”