ASCL comment on school performance tables

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the publication of the Key Stage 4 performance tables.
It remains our view that Key Stage 4 performance tables should not have been published this year, given the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on different schools and colleges.

“However, since they have been published, it is helpful that the Department for Education has made it clear that this data should be treated with extreme caution. Many changes have been made to the way the data has previously been presented, including the rebranding of the school performance website to remove references to comparison. We would discourage anyone from making direct comparisons between schools and colleges or comparing this year’s data to previous years’.

“Overall results are broadly as we expected, following the policy decision for grading to reflect a midpoint between the results of summer 2019 and 2021. But it is extremely concerning that the disadvantage gap has continued to grow, and is now at its highest level since 2011/12. This is yet another example of how the pandemic has had the biggest impact on the most disadvantaged. 

“Significant investment in a coherent plan for education recovery is badly needed if this gap is ever going to close. Instead, it seems likely that the government is going to reduce spending on education even further. If that is the case, our children and young people, who made enormous sacrifices during the pandemic to protect others, will be disadvantaged yet again