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A message from Matt Dunkley CBE:

2 February 2018 weekly update

2 February 2018

This week, Matt compares our GCSE and KS5 results for 2017 with the recently published national validated GCSE results; and introduces the OECD working paper on student resilience.

Dear Colleagues

Published GCSE Results for 2017

On Thursday 25 January 2018 the DfE published the national validated GCSE results

Outcomes at Key Stage 4 indicate Kent performed in line with the national average attainment measures, but fell below in progress. Kent state funded schools achieved a Progress 8 score of -0.11 in 2017, which is below the national average of -0.03. In the headline Basics measure, the proportion of pupils in Kent schools achieving a standard pass (Grade 9-4) in English and mathematics is 61.9%, compared to a national average of 64.6%. This is a decline compared with the performance in 2016, but in line with the national decline which, in part, could be attributed to the changes to the assessment methodology and the new grading system. For the new basics measure, the proportion achieving a strong pass (Grade 9-5) in English and mathematics is in line with national at 42.3%.

Performance in the English Baccalaureate measure continues to be strong. In 2017, the percentage achieving a standard pass in the English Baccalaureate (grade 4 or above in English/maths and grade C or above in unreformed subjects) is 27%, compared to a national figure of 23.9%.

The Department for Education (DfE) has recently published the 2018 Secondary Accountability Measures which includes changes made to the calculation of the progress measure for pupils with extremely negative progress scores. It is important that schools are held to account for the performance of all pupils within a cohort. However, when calculating any average, one value that is a substantial distance from the majority of the others, may have a larger impact on the overall figure. The DfE has listened to this feedback from schools and has refined the methodology for 2018 in order to reduce the disproportionate impact of the most extreme pupil level progress scores.

Published KS5 Results for 2017

Many schools have improved Average Point Score (APS) per entry in A level, Academic and Applied General qualifications. The APS per entry for Applied General has improved from 37.0 in 2016 to 39.3, for Tech Levels from 36.7 to 37.6 and from 30.9 to 31.0.

It has been another strong year for the International Baccalaureate(IB) in Kent. Three Kent schools offer the IB programme and have achieved outcomes ranging APS 34-37, compared to a global average, which is below 30. The IB Career-related Programme (CP) is a framework of international education that incorporates the values of the IB into a unique programme addressing the needs of students engaged in career-related education, leading to further/higher education, apprenticeships or employment. 91.5% of all young people entered for this award in 2017 were successful.

Disadvantaged Pupils

Many governments are trying to follow policies that help those from disadvantaged backgrounds and they are helped by the OECD which on Monday published a working paper on student resilience. Academic Resilience: What schools and countries do to help disadvantaged students succeed in PISA, by Tommaso Agasisti and colleagues. The paper looked at ways in which policy makers could help students from disadvantaged backgrounds overcome their disadvantages by building resilience. The working paper acknowledged that some of the factors that help students to be resilient are personal, while others will be a reflection on their home environment. What this working paper looks at is the contribution that education systems and individual schools can make to help disadvantaged students succeed.

An analysis of the OECD’s massive PISA data revealed that the chances of disadvantaged students being academically resilient varies greatly within each education system. The variation is related to the school such students attend. It is the school environment that plays a key role in mitigating the risk of low achievement for disadvantaged students.

Britain does not do that well when it comes to resilience, with a below OECD average performance. However, an example of London, once an area that combined widespread disadvantage with poor performance, now continues to perform well despite the disadvantage. This follows a consistent programme of successful interventions in the capital that over the years have paid off – however it is noted that they have had more funding. Helping to increase the academic resilience among students from deprived backgrounds is a practical way of achieving the aim of helping the disadvantaged.

Matt Dunkley CBE
Corporate Director
Children, Young People and Education