East Anglia: Catholic high schools help students show real progress

Notre Dame Sixth Form Science

Notre Dame Sixth Form Science

Four Catholic High Schools in East Anglia have achieved impressive results in the recent GCSE Progress 8 figures which shift the focus of school league tables from attainment to progress of students and added value.

Notre Dame High School in Norwich came top of the table for schools in Norfolk in the GCSE results with 87% of students achieving Grade 4+ in English and Maths while posting a Progress 8 score of +0.44.

St John Fisher High School in Peterborough was named in the top five schools nationally which made the biggest jump in the Progress 8 results, by education magazine Schools Week, with a score of +0.39.

St Bede's Inter-Church School in Cambridge scored +0.52 in Progress 8 along with an 81% GCSE score and St Benedict's in Bury St Edmunds scored +0.49 in Progress 8 alongside a 74% GCSE score.

The new Progress 8 measure, which came in last year, compares the progress of a school's students with the progress of students nationally with the same prior attainment data from primary school.

Notre Dame Head of School, Neil Cully, said: "We were delighted with our summer exam results. They were among the best results we have ever had.

"Our Progress 8 score for this summer's GCSE results is +0.44. This means that our Year 11 students made almost half a grade better than expected progress across their best eight GCSEs compared to students across the country who had achieved similar results to our own in their SATs at the end of Year 6. Our disadvantaged students also did very well as indicated by their Progress 8 score of +0.36."

St John Fisher head teacher, Sean Hayes, said: "The move to judging schools on the progress each individual student makes is one that we very much welcome as it takes into account the actual prior attainment of each student. The previous system merely took their raw exam results with no regard to prior attainment. We are not surprised that this has caused a dramatic change in how we are ranked as a school, and I would suggest that this highlights the flaws in the previous system.

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