GCSE results put Croydon in bottom four London boroughs

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.

Academy secondary school genericThe 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:

Schools tableSchools table 2

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.

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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3 Responses to GCSE results put Croydon in bottom four London boroughs

  1. It would have been interesting to get the average value added score for each Borough too.

    I suspect, although without looking at any stats I can’t be sure, that Croydon is probably also roughly the 4th poorest Borough in London. While obviously the link between poverty and poor school performance is undesirable, it does tend to be rather strong. By looking at value added scores we might find we have a rather good set or schools that are doing rather well despite an intake which is increasingly deprived. (Or of course we might find the opposite!)

  2. Reg Williams says:

    Yes but everyone’s results have gone down this year because of the new methods of calculating GCSE results. Even the likes of Harrow and Eton have found themselves at the bottom. Comparisons with Sutton, which does much better on its Baccalaureate score, are unfair beacuse it sucks in so many bright children from surrounding boroughs, yes including Croydon, to attend its selective schools.

    This may be a good club to bash the council with or to decry academies but it is not based on a fair view of the statistics.

    • That’s an F for applied statistics for you then, Reg.

      The change in the calculation of results renders comparison with previous years more difficult (as noted in the piece). But it does not mean that, by this government’s own measures, reasonable comparisons cannot be made between Croydon school performance and the performance of schools in the same year in other London boroughs. And by all measure, 28th of 32 is a long way from being top of the class.

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