KS4 performance tables 2016: When coasting feels like paddling hard to keep your head above water

This week, 319 secondary schools have been told that they are coasting and so will become eligible for intervention. This includes a staggeringly high 22.6% of schools in the east Midlands. For those deemed to have insufficient capacity to bring about improvement this could be the start of a long road to forced academisation. And [...]

By | January 19th, 2017|Exams and assessment, School accountability, School improvement|

Exploring subject background differences in senior leadership pay

In last week’s blogpost we noted that the pay of senior leaders in secondary schools appears to vary systematically according to their subject background. Here we report senior leadership pay in 2010 separately for headteachers, deputies and assistant heads, based on analysis of the School Workforce Census, and look at how it is associated with [...]

By | January 18th, 2017|School improvement, Teacher careers|

No need to recruit headteachers with particular subject backgrounds

Last year the world of educational leadership research was rocked by a study, summarised in two Harvard Business Review articles (here and here), that introduced to the world the idea of ‘Surgeon’ and ‘Architect’ headteachers, among other types. The findings, if more generally true, would radically re-shape the advice we should give governing bodies about [...]

By | January 13th, 2017|School improvement, Teacher careers|

Predicting GCSE results (Liverpool 9 – Sunderland 1)

Jurgen Klopp, the manager of Liverpool FC, has been in the game of football long enough to know that making predictions about winning the Premier League is unhelpful. In an interview with Goal, his thoughts were measured as usual: “The main thing is that we actually think about ourselves: ‘Yeah, we are quite a good [...]

By | November 23rd, 2016|Exams and assessment, School improvement|

The greatest challenge

The starkest figure published in last week’s Key Stage 4 statistical first release (SFR) was the Progress 8 score for Knowsley, a small unitary authority in Merseyside. Pupils attending its six secondary schools achieved on average almost a grade per subject lower than pupils with similar prior attainment elsewhere in the country. All six schools [...]

By | October 18th, 2016|Pupil demographics, School accountability, School improvement|

Social mobility opportunity areas: déjà-vu, again?

On Tuesday, Justine Greening announced that six parts of the country have been designated social mobility opportunity areas, with a further four areas to be announced at a later date. The initiative will see these ten areas share £60m in funding, with schools in these areas partnered with those in other parts of the country, and links [...]

By | October 5th, 2016|School improvement|

Getting started with FFT data for KS2

School leaders are used to dealing with change, not least when it comes to assessment data, but this year is in a league of its own. With changes to all the tests, teacher assessment, scaled scores and accountability measures, headteachers would be forgiven for despairing of any attempt to make sense of it. Even when [...]

Why measuring pupil progress involves more than taking a straight line

We have an accountability system that has encouraged schools to check that children are making a certain number of sub-levels of progress each year. This is the basis on which headteachers monitor (and now pay) teachers and on which Ofsted judges schools. Yet there is little hard science underpinning the system in use: take a [...]