The results used in the published league tables are for pupils aged 15 rather than those for the GCSE year group. It is not unusual in academic schools to have a number of children who are a year young for their year group, and it is also not uncommon to have a small number of pupils, especially ones from overseas, who are old for their year group. Such pupils who have taken one or two GCSEs as fourth-formers, and who will take the rest of their subjects next year, have been counted as pupils who failed to gain five A-C passes.
I might also add that the UCAS (A-level) point scores are distorted. Many schools enter pupils for four A-levels, but at Oundle we operate a strict three A-level rule, insisting that sixth-formers follow a curriculum that includes non-examined, non-specialist courses giving the breadth lacking from the education of the majority of sixth-formers in this country. The penalty that we pay for providing this fuller education is to have our published scores reduced by up to 25 per cent.
I have no fundamental objection to the publication of league tables, but I do hope that it is clearly understood that distortions are inevitable and, consequently, any interpretation must be taken with a pinch of salt. In schools, we must all resist the temptation to allow consideration of league positions to have a negative influence on educational decisions.
Director of Studies
17 NovemberReuse content