So how did Croydon’s pupils do in their GCSEs this year? Our education correspondent GENE BRODIE gives Croydon Council an “F” for its efforts in failing to release full results for local schools, when Sutton and other boroughs provided that information immediately
This year’s GCSE results were handed out to pupils at schools across the country last Thursday, including pupils in Croydon, and headline statistics were announced to the world. Here in Croydon, we witnessed a schools equivalent of Young Mr Grace from the old sit-com Are You Being Served, having no real idea what is going on, but nevertheless reassuringly announcing, “You’re all doing very well.”
Except instead of Young Mr Grace, Croydon has Tim Pollard, the deputy leader of the Conservative group which controls the Town Hall.
For while boroughs all around Croydon were releasing real and detailed figures for how their local schools had fared with their latest generation of 16+ pupils, here last week, as the pliant local newspaper dutifully hailed Croydon schools’ “success” with “remarkable” results, Pollard, the Tory cabinet member for children and learning, was suggesting that Croydon was “bucking” national trends and that we only had to wait another 24 hours before all the results were in… That was last Thursday. If you held your breath you are probably dead by now.
By the time that the Bank Holiday weekend arrived, there had been no release of overall figures for Croydon from that mighty educational powerhouse at Taberner House. Just silence.
If you want to know Sutton’s schools’ results, that is easy. They were made available immediately last Thursday. They are: 83.9 per cent of students got five or more A* to C grades in subjects including maths and English. Individually, the schools have reported:
- Stanley Park High School – 55 per cent five or more A* to C grades in subjects including maths and English (compared with 35 per cent in 2012)
- Overton Grange – 71 per cent five or more A* to C grades in subjects including maths and English (66 per cent 2012)
- Greenshaw – 76 per cent five or more A* to C grades in subjects including maths and English (76 per cent 2012)
- Wallington High School for Girls – 100 per cent got five or more A* to C grades; 83 per cent got A* and A grades ( 100 per cent 2012)
- Nonsuch High School for Girls – 100 per cent five or more A* to C grades in subjects including maths and English; 79 per cent got A* and A grades (99 per cent 2012)
- Cheam High School – 75 per cent got five or more A* to C grades in subjects including maths and English (72 per cent 2012)
- Sutton High School – 96 per cent five or more A* to C grades in subjects including maths and English; 65 per cent got A* to A grades (100 per cent 2012)
- Wallington County Grammar School – 100 per cent five or more A* to C grades in subjects including maths and English; 71 per cent got A* and A grades (99 per cent 2012)
- John Fisher School – 87 per cent five or more A* to C grades in subjects including maths and English (80 per cent 2012)
- Carshalton Boys Sports College – 58 per cent five or more A* to C grades in subjects including maths and English (46 per cent 2012)
- Wilson’s School 100 per cent five or more A* to C grades with 50 per cent getting A*; 93.79 per cent got five or more A* to A grades
- St Philomena’s Catholic High School for Girls – 91.6 per cent five or more A* to C grades including maths and English ( 84 per cent 2012)
- Carshalton Girls – 57 per cent five or more A* to C grades in subjects including maths and English and 83 per cent got five or more A* to C grades in all subjects (60 per cent 2012)
- Glenthorne High School – 76 per cent A* to C grades in five or more subjects including Maths and English (83 per cent 2012)
Such detailed results from Croydon for 2013 remain something of a mystery.
By the weekend, individual Croydon school results were nowhere near complete.
There is a lot of vagueness around the whole business of exactly how well our schools, including several notable academies sponsored by the likes of the Harris Federation, have performed. Sutton schools transparently reported the widely recognised measure of pupils attaining five A* to C GCSE’s including maths and English, which makes it easy for parents to compare schools.
Before the weekend, some Croydon schools had not released any figure for results at all. Some that did release figures did so somewhat selectively, avoiding providing the percentage attaining the 5A* to C measure; instead, they just released the results for those getting five A* to C GCSE’s .
So, loyal reader, here’s your homework task for the coming week.
Your worksheet is in a pdf form, just click on the link below and print it out.
What you must do is take the figures for Croydon schools’ GCSE performance and fill in the blank spaces to provide a comparison between the 2012 and 2013 results, school by school.
It is risky for schools to fall below the government’s target of 40 per cent of pupils getting five A* to C grades including maths and English. Falling below the target triggers the threat of re-inspection and school closures. The Education secretary, Michael Gove, who has his bags carried for him by Croydon Central’s MP, has been particularly keen to trigger such inspections on what he often refers to as “failing schools”.
In our table, we have included the 2012 data for the percentage of pupils in each year group that have special educational needs, and the percentage who have English as their second language. This should help to make better sense of the data in terms of giving an indication of how big a challenge each school faces. These figures for the private schools have been estimated, based on inspection reports.
Given the Sutton average was 83.9 per cent achieving five A* to C GCSE passes for each school, it is worth noting that few Croydon schools have managed to achieve that level of performance. None of the Harris Academy group, schools run by Michael Gove’s department’s favoured private academy operators, have achieved the Sutton average.
The flagship Harris Academy at Crystal Palace ought to have results comparable with Sutton’s selective grammar schools, given how few students they have with special educational needs or English as a second language, and how good their students are on entry at 11 years old. You’d almost think that Harris Crystal Palace is somehow allowed to hand-pick the pupils it wants to attend; but that would suggest some sort of selection going on, and that obviously cannot be the case.
Your completed work sheets need to be handed in by last period on Thursday. Leave them, with your name at the top of the sheet, in our email pigeon hole. Anyone getting less than 40 per cent will be asked to report to Mr Gove’s office, where they will be expected to recite the top 10 hits of pop star Gary Barwell.
- Inside Croydon: For comment and analysis about Croydon, from inside Croydon
- Post your comments on this article below. If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or local event, please email us with full details at firstname.lastname@example.org
- GCSE results: ‘perverse’ league tables damaging pupils (telegraph.co.uk)
- Pupils entered for GCSE exams a year early are likely to get lower grades, Ofqual chief warns (independent.co.uk)
- ‘Toughened up’ GCSEs suffer biggest fall in grades for 25 years (standard.co.uk)
I contacted the Education Dept at Croydon Council on Thursday to ask for the percentage results for all the Croydon schools and the lady to whom I spoke seemed completely baffled by my request. I’m not sure that she quite believed that I wasn’t calling from ‘an organisation’ but am the parent of a child in the process of trekking around the various secondary schools with my daughter who will move up next September.
She discussed the matter with colleagues in the Admissions Section, even though I explained that the question didn’t relate to admissions but to GCSE results from two weeks ago. They of course didn’t have the answers, this not being a question about admissions …. She then directed me to the website. I pointed out that the top entry related to 2011 and the next one was for 2012 but that I was really sorry I couldn’t find the one with results for 2013 and could she please help me. Silence.
I gave up after 15 minutes and requested a response via email, which of course never arrived.
Perhaps there is some policy not to release results until a specific date due to any queries arising but if so, why was I not told this? I’d be very interested to know if you have any further information.
The article entirely misses the point. When comparing Croydon and Sutton schools we have to take into consideration the difference in long standing educational policies, how parents have reacted to those and what the impact upon Croydon’s schools has been.
The presence of the Whitgift Foundation and the Sutton grammar schools strips the high achieving Croydon Primary School leavers from the pool of pupils that will attend Croydon state schools. Thus the intake into any of the Croydon secondary state schools is inherently unbalanced. Until recently Croydon had every year empty state school places that were filled with the under-achievers and rejects from the neighbouring boroughs, that in turn dragged Croydon schools further downward.
Croydon’s long standing education policy that failed to develop what must have been the old secondary moderns into comprehensives (largely one suspects due to the lack of the upper echolons) and the failure to develop sixth forms until recently had an inherently damaging impact on Croydon schools.
Things are changing but it is inherently a slow process. Only when middle class parents send their children to the local state schools will it really change. So long as there are major private sector providers and elitist grammar schools very nearly then it will take decades.
Politically there is no one to blame but the Conservative Party as it has controlled Croydon Council for a century, with the exception of two desultory terms from the mid-90’s. It perhaps reflects that so long as their middle class children could attend one of the grammar schools or the Whitgift Foundation schools then they were much interested in what happened to the rest of the community.
Also manipulating the results by expelling pupils or persuading parents to withdraw struggling pupils is not the way forward and there have long been rumours that this practice has been widespread.
What we need from the council is vision and leadership if the state schools are to succeed and be valued. But one suspects that they really don’t care much.
You make several good points which, contradicting your opening statement, only reinforces the points made in this article, and others we have published on this theme.
As we have observed previously, Harris Crystal Palace has the benefits of a near-grammar school-style selective intake, yet they have still not produced the goods in terms of delivering grammar school-style GCSE results. All available statistics indicate that even at selective, private Whitgift, the E-Bacc results are poor.
This is why the article tries to focus on the notion of “value added”,among schools in the borough which have vastly different resources available to them, and which are subject to have very different Year 7 intakes.
Despite the fact that Croydon has one of the wealthiest educational foundations in the country, in the Whitgift Foundation, we see little evidence of original educational thinking and leadership, as can be witnessed from other independents, such as Dulwich College, which hosted Research Ed 2013 last month; or from Wellington College’s head Anthony Selsdon. Instead, what we see from the Whitgift Foundation’s schools is an obsession with sport, and the handing out of scholarships to talented athletes; a new boarding house built to secure the fees of rich (Middle Eastern?) families; the domination of local music provision with their links to the London Mozart Players and Croydon Minster … What we have in the borough is an educational charity that sucks in resources, rather than gives out….
As we have also reported before, the Whitgift Foundation has strong links within the local Croydon Establishment with leading members of the Conservative Party, including one MP and a couple of leading Tory councillors. The Conservatives have looked after their own and failed to provide for the rest of the borough.