Kidderminster’s high schools are failing to achieve average standards in crucial academic subjects, according to new data published today.
Across a range of measures, some of the town’s schools are falling short when it comes to academic achievement of pupils in key subjects including Maths and English.
The data is included in the national performance figures published today by the Department of Education, based on outcomes at Key Stage 4 (GCSEs) across the country.
The first table below shows the story of performance in Maths and English in schools most popular with pupils from Wyre Forest.
Last summer, teenagers sat new, tougher GCSEs in these subjects, which were graded 9 to 1 (with 9 being the top grade). All other GCSEs are graded under the old-style alphabetical system, with a grade C viewed as a ‘pass’.
Pupils are considered to have passed the new exams if they achieved a grade 4 or above but today’s performance tables judge schools on those achieving a grade 5 or above.
In Kidderminster the picture looks the least positive – fewer than 40% of pupils at Wolverley (37), King Charles I (38) and Baxter (22) achieved the new Grade 5 (the equivalent of a high Grade C) in the core subjects of Maths and English.
At Baxter College, the percentage achieving Grade 5 or above in both subjects was a lowly 22% – the joint lowest score in Worcestershire. The national average was 42.6%.
Within Wyre Forest, the best performing school in these subjects was Holy Trinity in Kidderminster (60%), followed by Stourport (42%) and Bewdley (40%). Nearby schools attended by some pupils from the district performed significantly better, including The Chantry, Haybridge High and Hagley RC School.
Another key measure used by the Government to assess school performance is how each one fares against what is called “Progress 8”. The GCSE results of each pupil in eight core academic subjects, including Maths, English, Science and a foreign language, are combined to give an overall score, which is averaged out with all other pupils in the school to give a final school rating.
The national average is 46.3; in Wyre Forest, all high schools were at or close to this average mark except Baxter College (39.6) and high flying Holy Trinity (53.2).
Each school also receives a progress score – this signals how well the school has done in helping a pupil meet or exceed expectations during their high school years. If progress is ‘as expected’ there will be a zero score; if it is below expectation, it will be a minus score; and above expectation is a plus score.
Against these measures, only King Charles I School in Kidderminster receives a plus score (0.26); worst performers are Holy Trinity (-0.57), Baxter (-0.41) and Bewdley (-0.39).
The schools with the biggest drop in results, once grade 5 was used to measure standards, tend to have much higher proportions of disadvantaged children. In fact the bottom 10% of schools had an average of 38.4% disadvantaged students.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the tables revealed only a limited amount about the true quality of a school in a system undergoing significant change.