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MELKSHAM Oak headteacher, Stephen Clark, says he is proud of the progress being made at the school following the publication of the Secondary School League Tables last month.
In a year that saw tougher GCSEs in English and maths, Oak students achieved an average Progress 8 score of 0.04, which is above the government’s expected standard of -0.5.
The Progress 8 score aims to capture the progress a pupil makes from the end of primary school to the end of secondary school compared to pupils across England. A score above zero means pupils made more progress, on average, than pupils across England.
Headteacher Stephen Clark said, “We are really proud that for the second year running our progress score is just above the national average, and which this year places us 12th in all secondary schools in Wiltshire.”
The GCSE results for maths and English, which were graded using a 9 to 1 number format, as opposed to the A to C letters format for the very first time, were below the national average, with 32% achieving a good pass at grade 5 or above in those subjects compared to the national average of 39.6% and a Wiltshire average of 43.5%.
Alongside the Progress 8 score, secondary schools are also judged on their Attainment 8 score. Attainment 8 measures the attainment of pupils in eight GCSEs including English and maths. Melksham Oak’s Attainment 8 figure was 43.8 compared to the national figure of 44.6 and Wiltshire’s figure of 46.6.
In response to the Attainment 8 score, Stephen Clark said, “In attainment terms, our pupils arrive at Melksham Oak significantly below the national average for KS2 test scores, so to be within 1/10th of a grade below the national figure for points scored across pupils’ eight best subjects, including English, maths, science, humanities and modern foreign languages, demonstrates the progress our pupils make.
“Additionally, within those eight subjects are up to three chosen by the pupils, and the progress score for this band of subjects, which also includes RE, is nearly half a grade better than the national score. This reflects the appropriate nature of our curriculum, which is designed to best meet the needs of our young people, and in which they experience considerable individual success.”
The progress of A-level students at the school was ranked as below average compared to similar students across England but Stephen Clark says there had been outstanding improvements over preceeding years.
At Oak, 3.8% of students gained AAB or higher grades in at least two ‘facilitating subjects’ compared to an average of 17% of students in England and over 16% of students in Wiltshire. These subjects include maths, English, sciences and languages, which help students compete for top university places.
“We recognise the dip in performance at A-level since the outstanding improvements in performance over preceding years and are working hard as a school to address this,” said the headteacher. “However, 100% of students who applied to university were successful in gaining places at either their first or second choices.”
Reflecting on the results overall, he said, “Of course, as with any set of data for any year, we have some areas in which we need to make improvements. We are as focussed and determined as always to secure these improvements, as they will result in even better results for our pupils, placing them in an even stronger position from which to make their next steps into further or higher education, or employment or training.”