Secondary schools students in Sheffield are making expected progress despite falling slightly behind in English when compared to the national average, new data has revealed.
The latest school league tables – which were published on Thursday – rank schools and councils on the average improvement made by students between leaving primary schools and sitting their GCSE’s or equivalent qualifications
The Progress 8’ score – which replaced A*-C grades as the key barometer for how well secondaries are performing – seeks to measure the progress made by students based on results of up to eight GCSE subjects, with English and maths being given double weighting to reflect their importance.
It was designed to encourage schools to offer a broad and balanced curriculum with the focus on an academic core at Key Stage 4.
A positive score means that students are making better than expected progress, and a negative one the opposite.
So, with Sheffield’s secondary schools achieving an average of 0 this means they are performing broadly in line with expectations.
The average Progress 8 score for maths in the city was 0.03, roughly average, but for English it was -0.15, although this does not mean pupils made no progress, or the school has failed, rather pupils made less progress than other pupils across England.
And, for the three highest grades in core subjects including sciences, computer science, history, geography and languages which make the English Baccalaureate – or EBacc – it was – 0.06.
Silverdale School in Bents Green achieved the highest Progress 8 score in the city, achieving 0.67 per cent.
It was one of five schools in Sheffield performing ‘well above average’, placing them within the top 14 per cent of schools nationally.
However, Westfield School – which is part of the Chorus Education Trust along with Silverdale School – scored one of the lowest Progress 8 marks at –0.52.
It was one of three mainstream schools to be marked ‘well below average', putting them in the bottom 13 per cent nationally.
Roisin Paul, Executive Headteacher for Chorus Education Trust, said: “Silverdale’s position at the top of the latest league table is very much down to the fantastic combined efforts of students, staff and the families within our community.
“Not only have our students yet again achieved some of the best results in the city, but the Progress 8 score shows that, wherever you start from when you join our school, you will make outstanding progress.
“We have achieved this, despite the national funding cuts, and we are proud to still be offering a broad and balanced curriculum to our diverse range of students.
“The latest results also show that our Sixth Form is top of all state schools in the city for progress – again due to the commitment and hard work of everyone here.”
She also pointed out that Westfield had only recently joined the Chorus Education Trust, and that plans were being implemented to help them achieve success like Silverdale School.
“At Chorus Trust we believe that, wherever you live in the city, you have a right to the very best teaching and learning.
“Westfield School officially joined our Trust in December and so we are now able to really power on with the changes needed there, to enable it to equal Silverdale’s success. We know it has the potential to be an outstanding school and are putting immense efforts into making this happen.
“The new head, Mr Birkbeck, has brought in additional specialist staff, and we have been able to draw on the expertise of Silverdale staff to share best practice, and build on the solid foundations of our local feeder schools”.
Overall, when looking at state-funded schools Tapton came out top in Sheffield for with an Attainment 8 score of 57.6, higher than the national average of 46.5
They also recorded the best GCSE results for English and Maths, with 67 per cent of pupils achieving grade 5 or above in those subjects.
Chaucer School – which also scored ‘well below average’ at -0.56 – and Tapton School are both run by Tapton School Academy Trust.
Adrian May, Director of Standards, at Tapton School Academy Trust, said: “Progress 8 is a useful comparison, however schools cannot be judged on any single measure. Ofsted have recognised this in their new proposed framework for inspections from September 2019.
“The recent Ofsted inspection at Chaucer published in December 2018 shows that the school is an improving school, working in conjunction with all the schools in Tapton School Academy Trust.”
Sheffield Springs Academy also scored ‘well above average’ with 0.53.
Mark Shipman, Head Teacher of Sheffield Springs Academy, said: “We are very pleased with the academy’s standing in this year’s tables, which show the added value that coming to our school can make.
“Across the academy, we are focused on bringing out the best in all our students, with our staff working tirelessly to give every student the support and encouragement they need to succeed.”
Sheffield Park Academy were slightly behind, scoring ‘above average’ at 0.45, banding them with 17 per cent of schools nationally.
Debbie McShane, Principal of Sheffield Park Academy, said:“Last summer’s results are testament to the hard work and commitment of our staff, who go above and beyond for our students.
“We are fortunate to have a team of fantastic teachers and support staff at Sheffield Park and I would like to thank them for all that they do for our students.
“We have established a culture of high expectations and academic excellence at Sheffield Park Academy and these results will spur our younger students to achieve even better results.”