Government League Table Nonsense

The government has released its school performance tables again this week and some of the country’s leading schools, including Yarm, have figures recorded that, at first glance and without contextual understanding, would seem very odd – for example that an absurd 0% of our pupils enter three single sciences, when in fact the vast majority of them do so and get extremely strong grades! The government data lists that only 21% of our pupils achieved “a good pass in both English and Mathematics”, which is very wide of the mark – their figure is based on the fact that the government does not count the IGCSE Mathematics qualification taken by all our pupils, but has counted the Level 2 Further Mathematics certificate by the pupils in our top set, hence the bafflingly low 21% figure rather than 0%. In actual fact, over 60% of our pupils achieved an A*/A in IGCSE Mathematics and over 65% achieved an A*/A in IGCSE English Language. 

The reason for some misleading figures is that the government does not include most IGCSE qualifications in their tables. Like many of the country’s top-performing schools, Yarm School offers a range of IGCSEs as more stretching and substantial alternatives to the regular GCSE examination in those subject areas. IGCSEs are widely seen as a better way to prepare students for the step up to A level and university education and are used in many countries throughout the world. 
Yarm School Headmaster Mr Dunn said: “Despite being one of the best performing schools in the country, we find ourselves perversely at the bottom end of the government league tables that decline to incorporate IGCSEs. This is an insult to both our pupils, who work incredibly hard to achieve fantastic results, and our talented staff, who work just as hard to support them. The only consolation is that we are in good company at the bottom of this league table, alongside other top-performing schools, including some very famous leading schools. Even the quickest glance at the tables reveals they are an absolute nonsense.” 

We would like to draw to parents’ attention the full strength of our 2016 GCSE results as outlined in the table below:

  Yarm School North East National Average
Percentage of A* Grades 37% 4.9% 6.5%
Percentage of A* - A Grades 66.1% 17.3% 20.5%
Percentage of A* - B Grades 85% 38.5% 41.9%

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