I’ve started to work on the data that’s available for schools to help us come up with a wishlist for the toddler’s school applications next year. I came across some quite interesting stuff.
The main data there is for primary schools at the individual school level is average scaled scores for Key Stage 2 exams at the end of Year 6. There is a score for reading, GPS (grammar, punctuation and spelling) and maths, and these are given as an overall score and broken down by a few different characteristics:
- social class (disadvantaged or non-disadvantaged)
- previous attainment group (how pupils performed now as compared to previous assessment – this tries to be a measure of how well the school is able to help pupils improve, I think, though it’s a bit convoluted)
- language (whether the pupils speak English as an additional language or their main one)
- social mobility
This is quite useful because it allows you to look at schools through a lens – for example, some schools may be average overall but rather good if you just look at girls’ performance, which could suggest that it’s a good choice if you’re the parent of a girl but less good if you’ve got a boy. My first question was: is this the case? Are there actually meaningful differences between pupils with different characteristics?
The answer is yes:
The good news – a score of 100 and above means the pupil is achieving the expected standard. Most Southwark schools – there are only two exceptions out of about eighty – can get children to at least the minimum acceptable level of skill. The bad news from my perspective as the parent of a non-disadvantaged boy is that it’s harder on the whole for boys to do well. It looks like it is definitely a good idea to try to find schools where boys specifically do well.