Sunday, 27 November 2011

How might the context of our school affect our performance?

Question 3 - how might the context of our school affect our performance?

Decades of research into school effectiveness have shown that some groups of pupils, particularly those from less advantaged backgrounds, tend to achieve less well than other groups. 

This has led to a range of Government interventions to raise attainment, including City Challenge under the Labour Government or the Pupil Premium under the current Coalition Government. 

Economic disadvantage should not excuse low attainment. However, it should be recognised that apparent variations in levels of attainment between schools are influenced by variations in intakes. Such variations are often caricatured by descriptions of the areas served by schools such as “tough inner-cities” and “leafy suburbs”

Moreover, even within a school, there may be significant variation (especially in 
attainment and prevalence of special educational needs) between one year group and 
the next.

Simply comparing a school’s attainment to the national average will not necessarily identify those schools which are performing extraordinarily well in challenging circumstances. Nor will it identify those schools in more advantaged circumstances which could be doing better.

Such a situation arises when the composition of the school cohort is substantially different to the “average” school. For example if 60% were eligible for free school meals. This compares to a national average of 18%. 

Taken from

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