SO Mum’s guide to the secondary school league tables in Southampton, Eastleigh, Winchester

The secondary school league tables are out, but what do the scores mean and are they really that important?

The Department for Education released the latest secondary school league tables this week and, as usual, the results have been widely discussed across the media, with the so-called “best schools” and “worst schools” labelled according to their places in the chart.

How are schools scored in the league tables?

The main measurement for the school league tables these days is called Progress 8. In very simple terms, it measures pupils’ progress across 8 GCSE subjects, comparing their expected results with their actual results. The actual formula is a little more complex, but that’s the main idea and it does tend to give more worthwhile statistics than the old-style tables reporting only on actual results.

How important are school league tables?

It is of course very useful to see how schools are doing in terms of GCSE results and to see in which schools pupils make the best progression throughout their studies.

As parents, naturally we all want our children to be successful, but we also want them to be happy. So, does it really matter if the catchment school isn’t top of the leaderboard, as long as the kids there seem content?

Personally, I think it’s all about balance. Yes, high scores are great, a good standard of teaching is essential and a positive atmosphere is also important. When deciding on a school, it’s good to get real-life opinions from pupils and parents, and also check out the atmosphere at the school, rather than basing your decision solely on a school’s place within the league tables.

I love a good comparison chart, but I was also interested to see how the league table scoring compared to parent opinions on the local schools.

For example, The Westgate School in Winchester scored the highest within Hampshire County Council schools, with a “well above average” Progress 8 score of 0.78. The school’s last Ofsted report was “good” and according to Ofsted’s Parent View survey, 95% of parents would recommend this school. In the same survey, over 70% of parents felt their children were happy at The Westgate School.

Nearby, Kings’ School in Winchester was also “above average” with a Progress 8 score of 0.29. The Parent View survey revealed similar figures to The Westgate, with 93% of parents recommending the school. Kings’ School continues to be an “outstanding” school according to Ofsted.

At the other end of the table, Crestwood Community School in Eastleigh was “well below average” with their Progress 8 score of -0.65. It is, however, a “good” school in the eyes of Ofsted, and 85% of parents would recommend it.

Schools doing well within Southampton include Regents Park Community College and Upper Shirley High School. Both received an “above average” Progress 8 score, with “good” Ofsted scores too. The Parent View survey for Regents Park Community College is particularly impressive, with 100% of parents saying they would recommend the school.

Further down the Southampton chart, Woodlands Community College’s Progress 8 score was -1.08, “well below average”. The school “requires improvement” according to Ofsted, yet interestingly, 78% of respondents to the Parent View survey said they’d recommend the school. Redbridge Community School’s “well below average” Progress 8 score of -0.58 is also in contrast with the Parent View responses where 74% believed their children were happy at the “good” Ofsted-rated school.

Hampshire schools where pupils are making the most progress

The secondary schools in and around Southampton which are “above average” in terms of Progress 8 include;

The Westgate School, Winchester
St Anne’s Catholic School, Southampton
Saint George Catholic Voluntary Aided College, Southampton
Hounsdown School, Southampton
Regents Park Community College, Southampton
Upper Shirley High School
Kings’ School, Winchester
Thornden School, Eastleigh
The Mountbatten School, Romsey
Brookfield Community School, Southampton
Priestlands School, Lymington
Henry Beaufort School, Winchester

The local schools with over 60% of pupils achieving grade 5 or above in English and maths include;

Thornden School, Eastleigh
The Westgate School, Winchester
Kings’ School, Winchester
Henry Beaufort School, Winchester
Saint George Catholic Voluntary Aided College, Southampton

If you’d like to compare the local schools further, you can find the full details at https://www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk/

Image source: Pixabay

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