What parent would not want their child's school to be judged 'outstanding' by OfSTED?
I would urge caution.
The DfE school Performance tables now contain some interesting extra data.
'Average entries per pupil' is one example. This is given for pupils designated Low, Middle and High attainment on entry in Y7 based on KS2 SATs levels. Low = less than L4, Middle = L4, High = L5 and above.
The following are the data for a real school.
Counting all subjects including equivalents, the data are as follows.
Low - 15.2
Middle - 17.6
High - 19.2
But if only GCSE entries are counted the figures are rather different.
Low - 3.2
Middle - 6.0
High - 8.6
So if your child entered the school in Y7 with SATs L3, they were likely to have been entered for about 15 GCSE or equivalent subjects, but only 3 of these were GCSEs, of which 2 presumably were English and maths.
SATs high attainers were likely to have been entered for 19 subjects but only 8/9 are likely to have been GCSEs. This is surely enough, but then what were they doing the rest of the week to result in a further 10 subject entries? And was this time spent in the best interests of the pupils or of the school?
The school prospectus states that KS3 is taught in years 7 and 8 only, with KS4 courses starting in Y9. Why would that be?
The OfSTED report gives an answer, but no details.
"Students sit some GCSE examinations before the end of Y11. The way this is managed by the academy ensures that these students are not held back in their attainment. The academy seeks rather to use early entry as a motivator to higher achievement."
So that's all right then.
I wrote about early GCSE entry here
Back in October 2013, Michael Gove and Ofqual made various comments about early and multiple GCSE entries. They weren't keen.
So what did OfSTED make of this school?
Outstanding in every category.
I am not going to name the school. It is out there somewhere. Presumably it is indeed outstanding.