National secretary’s blog


Tuesday 13 September 2011

Mossbourne Academy under the spotlight

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I received this from my colleague Ken Muller:

I’ve just had a very quick go at the new DfE tool for comparing schools.

One statistic which at first sight stood out was that 69.3 % of Mossbourne pupils have English as a first language. Living close to Mossbourne, this figure is surprisingly high to me, so I compared it with other local secondary schools.

Petchey Academy is even higher (71.8%). Stoke Newington School, however, is 40.3%, Haggerston 39.9%, Highbury Grove (in neighbouring Islington) 45.8% and Lamas (in neighbouring Waltham Forest) 38.7%.

Now, I have not researched the correlation between E2L and pupil performance – nor into whether there is any correlation at all between academy status and the proportion of E2L speaking pupils at a school. But the disparity between Mossbourne and other local community schools in this respect is striking. Could it go some way to explaining the high test and exam performance of its pupils?

Common sense, at least, (and personal, experience as a teacher) suggest to me that pupils having as their first language the language they are being taught in would give them some advantage.

I’d be interested in hearing what others think about this.

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3 comments

  1. Roger said:

    E2l students that have fair level of prior education can do very well at school. Some schools will claim to oversubscribed but will make space available for Far East and European students. Perhaps you could find out, via the FOI act, the languages that the 30% e2l speak and considering the events of august the number of students from the Pembury estate enrolled at the school.

    25 September 2011 at 10:30pm
  2. Ian McPhail said:

    The issue is not that some can do very well. I taught a young man who came to the UK from Pakistan and spoke very little English. He arrived in year 9 and by year 13 he got a place at a medical school and became a doctor. I expect Stephen Hawking is a bit of a surprise to our prejudices about disability. Most didn’t get anywhere near this. Jim Cumin from Canada did the best research on catch up time in the 80s. He reckoned it took a second language learner starting from scratch about seven years to become fully academically competent. Three to become socially competent. (The latter which I believe confuses perception of competence). There has as far as I know been no serious challenge to this. It is just that it is politically unacceptable to to accept the facts and put in the resources to support accelerated progress.

    16 April 2012 at 8:08pm
  3. cornelius@ofstedwatch said:

    The DfE tab for comparing schools appears to have disappeared again, to be replaced by ‘tools and initiatives’. Am I looking in the wrong place or doesn’t the DfE want people to compare schools and academies anymore?

    25 May 2012 at 11:05pm