I've corrected my national average SEN figure - but Gove's still muddled. "An insane amount of sugary cereal", perhaps?

Janet Downs's picture
My post on Gove's visits to phantom schools contained two errors.  My national averages for Special Needs Pupils in 2012 and 2011 included pupils who were on School Action.  As explained below, this inflated the figure.

The third paragraph in the post said 19.8% was the national average for SEN pupils in 2012. This included pupils that were on School Action. The Schools Performance Tables only give data for the proportion of pupils in a school who have a statement of Special Education Needs and who are on School Action Plus. The correct average for SEN statemented pupils and those on School Action Plus in primary schools in 2012 was 7.9%. The proportion of such pupils at Woodpecker Hall in 2012 was higher than 7.9% so my original statement that Woodpecker Hall did not have more than the national average was incorrect. I had compared the figure with the inflated 19.8%.

A DfE spokeswoman told Warwick Mansell, writing in the Guardian, that Michael Gove had confused Woodpecker Hall, where no pupil took Sats in 2012, with Cuckoo Hall, a school Gove has visited many times. It's unclear why he forgot its name. Cuckoo Hall had 18.8% of pupils with SEN statements or on School Action Plus in 2012. This is "more - many more" than the national average for primary schools, as Michael Gove said.  But his claim that "every child" achieved Level 5 was not correct - 36% of Cuckoo Hall pupils achieved Level 5 in 2012. 36%  is not "every child".

The spokeswoman said Gove was referring to Year 6 pupils and both Cuckoo Hall and Durand "have far more children than the national average registered as having SEN". But this is not correct. Only 8% of Year 6 pupils at Cuckoo Hall were SEN/School Action Plus (full set of school data CSV downloadable here). The national average was 7.9% - point one of a percent is not "far more". At Durand, 4% of Year 6 pupils were SEN/School Action Plus (full set of school data CSV downloadable here). It's rather stating the obvious to say that 4% is less than 7.9%.

It appears, then, that not only has Gove visited schools that don't appear to exist but he's forgotten the name of a school he's visited several times and hasn't quite got his finger on the statistics button. Perhaps it's because of all those "Giant multipacks of crisps; fizzy drinks; luxury coleslaw; an insane amount of sugary cereal" which he ordered during the summer break according to his wife, Sarah Vine, writing in the Daily Mail.

PS  Ms Vine also wrote, "I can go to the loo safe in the knowledge that  no one will have peed on the seat."   Maybe she'll reveal who was responsible in one of her future articles about life at the Gove's.

Paragraph 4 in the original post has also been changed - the reference to the SEN average for 2011 has been deleted. Again, I had included pupils on School Action which inflated the average.


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