GENE BRODIE reports that 2014’s GCSE results demonstrate that academisation isn’t working – with 3 in every 4 Croydon school leavers still lacking the basic five exam passes
According to Croydon’s new Opportunity and Fairness Commission, the borough’s schools are among the top 20 per cent in the country. Yet according to the latest Department for Education tables, based on 2014 GCSE results, Croydon’s schools are not even among the top 28 London boroughs.
The PR spin about the performance of Croydon’s increasingly academised schools extends well beyond (directly) council-funded bodies. A diminishing circulation “local” newspaper, which is actually based in Dorking, has in the past week reported, “After 10 years of consecutive improvement to GCSE results … things are looking up, especially in comparison to a decade ago, when hundreds of children left secondary school without five good GCSEs”.
“Things are looking up”?
Are they serious? According to the latest results, published last week, three out of four Croydon school leavers last summer did not manage to achieve that five good GCSEs benchmark of basic qualifications, the so-called “English baccalaureate”.
Croydon’s secondary schools are so poor that the local Tory MP opted to send his eldest son to a Sutton grammar school because there was nothing good enough for him closer to home (as Inside Croydon reported last September).
The performance at school of Croydon’s 16-year-olds mirrors that of the borough’s 10- and 11-year-olds, as we reported last month, with primary schools also performing markedly worse than most other London boroughs.
It has been difficult this year to draw detailed conclusions from the GCSE results, as the Government has made such far-reaching changes to the education league tables. But there is still a useful exercise to be had looking at GCSE results by London borough.
And lo! You can derive the attached table which shows Croydon firmly down in the relegation zone, with only three other boroughs – Lewisham, Newham and Waltham Forest – with lower scores for the percentage of pupils achieving grades A* to C in English and maths.
Things are definitely not getting better in Croydon.
Here are the latest facts in terms of Croydon school performances:
You can download a pdf of the tables here 2014 Croydon GCSE results compared to London
These results, it should be noted, come after eight years of a Conservative-run council, with much of the last five years under a ConDem Government with Michael Gove running the education department and overseeing a policy of forcible academisation. Croydon’s academies appear to be a long way short of the panacea that the academies’ friends in high places have been telling us.
Last week, the House of Commons education select committee published a report which was highly critical of the “exceptionally fast” transition of schools to academy status.
“Academisation is not always successful nor is it the only proven alternative for a struggling school,” the select committee, made up of MPs from both sides of the House, stated in their report.
The report also criticised academies for their lack of accountability and transparency. Although academies operate within the state education system, with state funding and using buildings and facilities paid for by the state, unlike state schools they are not subject to Freedom of Information requests.
The select committee report says there are widespread “conflicts of interest” in the private trusts that control academies, an observation which will be familiar to Croydon parents and residents.
- Labour council continues to charge children for reading lessons
- Croydon primary school performance among the worst in London
- Inside Croydon Events: for dates and links to what’s happening in and around Croydon, updated daily, click here
Inside Croydon: Named among best regional media campaigns, 2014.
- Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough: 729,297 page views in 2014.
- 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 email@example.com