I am pleased to report that this year, the National School Performance have been changed to make it much clearer that Progress 8 and EBacc, the usual measure of GCSE performance, are not appropriate for judging the performance of UTCs.
Progress 8 doesn’t tell the true story of a student’s progress at a UTC, with 60% of what counts in the performance measure having taken place elsewhere. That can have a very large impact, especially in the cases where parents have moved their child to us from a school with which they are less than satisfied.
Now, Ofsted and the Department for Education have agreed that Progress 8 is not appropriate, and so the colour coding and words related to “average” have been removed from the national tables.
We conduct externally assessed baseline testing at the UTC when students join us, and compare that to their GCSE performance. From that we can see that on average our students make more progress than would be expected in the two years they are educated at Silverstone UTC. Well over half our students make more than expected progress in key subjects, with the average progress made in our specialisms being nearly 2.5 grades.
When it comes to 6th form performance, our specialism results were among the highest in the country, with average grades of Distinction or higher, and 40% got the equivalent of 3 As at A Level (when converted from UCAS points). Again, the Performance Tables are set up assuming a single mode of study – that is mostly just A Levels. Our students are different. The minority that take just A Levels gain an average grade of C – matching the national average and other local schools. Those that study A Levels alongside vocational qualifications don’t do quite as well, but individually they leave us with good results, ready for work or university, and go on to great things.
Destinations are excellent, with our students gaining good university places or being selected for apprenticeships with at prestigious companies. Our student destinations match up with national figures, and a larger proportion than normal stay with us for 6th form, indicating a high level of satisfaction after the GCSE years. Self-reported data is outstanding.
I’ve said it many times before, but I think that a school’s performance should be measured by student wellbeing and destination. The Department for Education are now looking for better ways to represent the quality of a UTC, and I welcome this fresh approach.
5 November 2018