Friday 8 July 2011

Government targets Primaries in poorest communities

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The government recently announced that Primary schools that are ‘underperforming’ face being converted into Academies.

An analysis of the information about the schools, and a comparison with the highest performing primary schools, shows clearly what Michael Gove is doing.

Many of the schools he has targeted are in our poorest communities, with high numbers of pupils eligible for Free School Meals, high levels of Special Educational need, and higher levels of English as a second language.

Gove says that these schools should become Academies, and be run by a successful school.

Since these schools have pupils requiring extra support, wouldn’t it be better to work with the Local Authority to help increase the support that the school receives?

As Tony Draper from the National Association of Head Teachers stated recently:

“A school has got to be judged on broad measures of progress and not just crude statistics on attainment.

“We’re looking at schools that are improving and are improving in many ways, making progress for the children throughout their school lives.

“If the school is making great progress with pupils from a low starting point then that should be celebrated, not condemned and the schools automatically made into academies.

“But what we found in our school is that with good support from the local authority and working on the culture, teaching and learning, you can make a difference.

“Let’s not forget that children come from very different backgrounds and they have very different starting points in education. There are many schools where they don’t achieve the floor standards but they are making good progress throughout their school lives.”

Michael Gove claims that Academies worked for ‘underperforming’ secondary schools. In fact the evidence does not back him up. Of the Academies which entered pupils for GCSE’s in 2008 and 2009, and therefore progress can be measured, 1/3 improved, 1/3 stayed the same, 1/3 saw their results fall. This is a far worse proportion than for state schools.

Academies are not a silver bullet. They do not guarantee improvement. They DO guarantee the break-up of a democratic local education system.

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We have analysed the available government data below. We include links to the original data.

We have analysed the DfE performance data which is available for 2010. It only reaches back to 2008. This means we do not have access to data more than 3 years old, and cannot compare exactly with the government figures.

We have found 425 schools where less than 60% of children reached the ‘minimum floor standard’ for 3 years. We have compared their results with the 500 top performing primary schools.

We have used government performance tables for 2010

http://www.education.gov.uk/performancetables/primary_10/england.shtml

and the schools census for 2010

http://www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000925/sfr09-2010ud.zip

 

DfE statement on ‘underperforming’ schools.

 “There are around 1,400 primary schools below the primary ‘minimum floor standard’ (less than 60 per cent of the children reaching a basic level in English and Maths at 11, and where children make below average progress between seven and 11) based on 2010 results. Of these, about 500 have been below the floor for two or three of the last four years. A further 200 have been below the floor for the last five years (120 of these roughly 200 have been below the floor for more than a decade).”

http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/inthenews/a0077837/michael-gove-face-reality-reform-urgently

The Department for Education has access to the data over the last 10 years, and the staff numbers to analyse them.

What Michael Gove does not tell you is this:

 

Schools are improving

270 of the 425, 64%, of these schools saw their results improve from 2009 to 2010

 

Special Educational Needs

Of the 425 schools with less that 60%

Only 76 schools, 18%, have less than 10% of their pupils with SEN support

133 schools, 31%, have more than 20% of their pupils with SEN support

4 of the schools have over 40% of their pupils with SEN support

 

Compare this with the 500 schools with the highest results in 2010:

329 school, 65%, have less than 10% of their pupils with SEN support

Only 19 schools, 4%, have more than 20% of their pupils with SEN support

 

Free School Meals

Of the 425 schools with less that 60%

Only 4 schools have less than 10% of pupils eligible for Free School Meals

389 schools, 92%, have more than 20% of pupils eligible for Free School Meals

 

Of the 500 schools with the highest results in 2010

386 schools, 77%, have less than 10% of pupils eligible for Free School Meals

Only 39 schools, 8%, have more than 20% of pupils eligible for Free School Meals

 

First Language is not English

Of the 425 schools with less than 60%

143 schools, 34%, have more that 20% of pupils whose first language is not English

210 schools, 49%, have less than 10% of pupils whose first language is not English

 

Of the 500 schools with the highest results in 2010

49 schools, 10%, have more than 20% of pupils whose first language is not English

401 schools, 80% have less than 10% of pupils whose first language is not English

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