PUPILS IN A CLASS OF THEIR OWN

Per­for­mance ta­bles re­veal that Jewish schools are still far ahead of na­tional av­er­ages

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY CHAR­LOTTE OLIVER

JEWISH SCHOOLS con­tinue to per­form well on a na­tional level in their A-Level and GCSE re­sults, ac­cord­ing to the govern­ment’s lat­est round of school league ta­bles.

The re­sults, which were re­leased last week, were based on 2015 na­tional exam scores, and show that all main­stream Jewish schools are out-per­form­ing na­tional av­er­ages.

At A-Level, while the na­tional av­er­age score per stu­dent — based on a com­bi­na­tion of the num­ber of ex­ams sat and the grades achieved — was 678.8, the com­mu­nity’s nine sec­ondary schools who sat A-Lev­els re­ceived an av­er­age of 822.

In top po­si­tion was JFS in Ken­ton, the largest Jewish school in Europe. The school had an av­er­age point score per A-Level stu­dent of 856.1, with 27 per cent of its pupils achiev­ing a top grade — that is, AAB or higher in at least two univer­sity-ap­proved sub­jects.

JFS’ high-achiev­ing sixth for­m­ers have al­ready smashed records this year, with an un­prece­dented 21 stu­dents be­ing of­fered places to study at Oxbridge in Septem­ber.

Fol­low­ing be­hind JFS was King David Liverpool, which re­ceived an av­er­age point score per stu­dent of 850 and saw 12 per cent of its stu­dents achieve a top grade.

At GCSE, while the UK’s num­ber of pupils gain­ing at least five GCSEs be­tween grades A* to C, in­clud­ing maths and English, sat at 56.6 per cent, the com­mu­nity’s lead­ing seven state-aided sec­ondary schools had an av­er­age 81 per cent of their stu­dents achieve the same.

Up­hold­ing its po­si­tion from last year was King David Manch­ester, with 89 per cent of its stu­dents achiev­ing five or more GCSEs, in­clud­ing English and maths, at grade C or above. The school’s chair of gov­er­nors, Joshua Rowe, said they were “very pleased for the kids. We en­cour­age them along the way but they rise to the chal­lenge.”

Also high-rank­ing was JCoSS in Bar­net in its very first year of re­ceiv­ing GCSE re­sults — and there­fore ap­pear­ing in the na­tional league ta­bles — since it opened in 2010. The school saw 81 per cent of its stu­dents at­tain at least five A* to C grades in sub­jects in­clud­ing English and maths. It also held a high value-added score of 1030.8.

“We are de­lighted to take our place among other high-achiev­ing Jewish schools with our very first full set of GCSE re­sults, which put us within the top 7 per cent of all schools na­tion­ally, in­clud­ing selec­tive schools,” said JCoSS head Pa­trick Mo­ri­arty.

“We are proud of our com­bi­na­tion of aca­demic ex­cel­lence and rapid progress for all, and proud too to have jus­ti­fied the faith put in us by the par­ents and stu­dents of our pi­o­neer­ing co­horts.”

The value-added mark, listed in the ta­ble and given to all state-aided schools, in­di­cates how far above

ex­pec­ta­tions pupils per­formed, con­sid­er­ing their abil­ity on en­try. It is cal­cu­lated by mea­sur­ing the progress made by pupils from the end of key stage two to key stage four. Scores above 1,000 rep­re­sent schools where pupils made more progress than the na­tional av­er­age, while marks below 1,000 re­veal less progress.

Also shown on our GCSE ta­ble is the per­cent­age of stu­dents achiev­ing the English Bac­calau­re­ate (EBacc), a mea­sure of how many pupils se­cured a C grade or above across a range of aca­demic sub­jects, in­clud­ing English, maths, ge­og­ra­phy or his­tory, sci­ences and a lan­guage.

How­ever, this mea­sure does not ac­count for schools who sat In­ter­na­tional GCSEs, which carry a mark of zero on the na­tional league ta­bles. The govern­ment’s de­ci­sion to omit IGCSEs and other in­ter­na­tional al­ter­na­tives from its rank­ings has been a con­sis­tent source of frus­tra­tion for many in­de­pen­dent and pri­vate schools in par­tic­u­lar, in­clud­ing Im­manuel Col­lege in Bushey, who are not fully rep­re­sented on the per­for­mance ta­bles.

For this rea­son, many schools have ex­pressed their re­lief that this will be the fi­nal year that schools will be judged alone on the ba­sis of their raw GCSE re­sults, and in­stead next year will be as­sessed by “Progress 8”. This will mea­sure their progress across eight sub­jects from pri­mary school to year 11.

Rabbi David Meyer, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Jewish education agency Pa­JeS, which helps to co-or­di­nate the com­mu­nity’s schools, cel­e­brated this year’s na­tional ta­bles.

He said: “The con­sis­tently high per­for­mance of Jewish schools, and in­deed faith schools, is a re­flec­tion of a va­ri­ety of fac­tors, in­clud­ing the im­por­tant role par­ents play in the education of their chil­dren and the im­pact a clearly de­fined school ethos can have on a child’s education.

“Th­ese fac­tors are in no way unique to faith schools, but are a com­mon thread across the vast ma­jor­ity of top per­form­ing schools.”

Rabbi Meyer added that, while league ta­bles give an im­pres­sion of a school’s achieve­ments, it is im­por­tant to take a wider view, and not sim­ply judge a school based on its sta­tis­tics alone.

“The use of league ta­bles as a way to mea­sure per­for­mance of schools has al­ways been con­tro­ver­sial,” he said. “Schools do far more than just pre­pare stu­dents for GCSEs, and sadly this el­e­ment can­not be re­flected in ta­bles that only mea­sure as­sess­ment data.”

Weare proud to­have jus­ti­fied the faith­puti­nus bythe­p­ar­ents and­stu­dents

JCoSS per­formed well in its first year of GCSE re­sults

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