League tables always make fascinating reading for parents but a North Yorkshire secondary school has highlighted the pitfalls of always taking them as gospel.
The headteacher of Knaresborough’s secondary school has defended King James’s performance in new government tables which rated it badly in one score while at the same time giving it high marks for its students' performance in A Levels.
Progress 8 - or P8 - ratings were introduced in 2016 with the aim of ‘capturing’ the progress a pupil makes from the end of primary school to the end of secondary school.
A BBC report last week showed more than one in eight secondary schools in England were below the standard deemed acceptable by ministers.
The new league table data shows King James’s placed 37th out of 50 secondary schools and colleges in North Yorkshire, in terms of P8.
But, in the same table’s rating of students’ A Level performance, King James’s is actually seventh best in the entire county.
Headteacher Carl Sugden said: “The P8 progress measure is only one measure of performance and doesn’t tell the whole story.
“Other aspects of the league tables show that our A Level performance is amongst the highest in North Yorkshire and our attainment at GCSE remains well above the national average.
"We have always been committed to being a highly inclusive school with a rich a curriculum and long term exam success at both A Level and GCSE.
“A single measure, in a single year, doesn’t sum up a school and we know that our parents and students can see the great teaching, good pastoral care and rich opportunities that the school offers.”
By the new P8 data,the top performing secondary schools in North Yorkshire were:
Outwood Academy, Ripon, second top - Well above average: 0.83 score.
Ripon Grammar School, third top - Well above average: 0.81
St Aidan’s, Harrogate, fifth top with - Well above average: 0.78.
How secondary schools fared in P8 ratings, according to Government 2017 figures
Outwood Academy, Ripon - 2nd top - Well above average: 0.83
Ripon Grammar School third top - Well above average: 0.81
St Aidan’s fifth top with - Well above average: 0.78
St John Fisher Catholic High School in Harrogate 10th top - Well above average: 0.52
Harrogate Grammar School 15th - Above average: 0.42
Nidderdale High School in Pateley Bridge 17th - Average: 0.23
Rossett School 24th - Average: 0.15
Boroughbridge High School 31st - Average: -0.08
Harrogate High School 33rd - Average: -0.1
Bedale High School 34th - Average -0.11
King James’s School, Knaresborough - 37th - Below average: -0.25