Appendix 1

Support Kent Schools
The Kent secondary picture:

SKS supports the performance of all Kent secondary schools; the viability of grammar schools hinges on the success of the whole secondary system, which in Kent is a success story.
Kent LEA has the combination of significant deprivation (99th /148 on Ofsted multiple deprivation index), together with the typical difficulties of the Southeast in recruitment, retention and costs, plus extraordinary pressures on the schools system from asylum-seekers and looked-after children (800 imported from other authorities).

The primary baseline:
The Primary phase in Kent has struggled over decades to raise its achievement, after a history of inadequate pre-school provision, but still at KS1 and KS2 Kent is performing below both the national average and Statistical Neighbours: Kent 9th/9 at KS 2 in 1999(Table 1)., 8th/9 in 2002 (Table 2).

TABLE 1 ranked by: 1999 KS2         3-subject average % of pupils gaining Level 4+

TABLE 2, ranked by: 2002  KS2 av. Pts. SCORE

Gloucestershire

74.7

 

Gloucestershire

28.0

West Sussex

74.3

 

West Sussex

27.6

Lancashire

74.1

 

Nottinghamshire

27.6

Essex

73.2

 

Essex

27.5

Northamptonshire

73.1

 

Lancashire

27.5

Bedfordshire

72.7

 

England

27.4

England

71.9

 

Northamptonshire

27.4

Worcestershire

71.8

 

Worcestershire

27.3

Nottinghamshire

71.4

 

Kent

27.2

Kent

71.2

 

Bedfordshire

27.2

87% of the schools in special measures or serious weaknesses in Kent are in the primary phase.
It is on this platform of experience and attainment in the primary phase, that the secondary phase starts its work.

The Secondary statistics:
Kent has a diverse secondary system (33 GS, 18 comprehensive, 52 “High” ie Secondary Modern). Kent often suffers from inappropriate statistical comparisons against comprehensive norms. Owing to the high proportion of selective and non-selective schools, different bases for comparison are needed. The innovation of Value-Added comparative statistics is particularly helpful in analysing the achievement of such a diverse sector.

Kent is at the top of its statistical neighbours in tackling KS3 (Table 3)

TABLE 3 ranked by:
KS3  Value Added

Kent

100.6

Essex

100.6

West Sussex

100.1

Bedfordshire

100.1

Nottinghamshire

100.1

Gloucestershire

100.0

Northamptonshire

100.0

Worcestershire

99.9

England

99.8

Lancashire

99.5

The pre-selection of pupils by ability enables secondary schools to home in quickly on their new pupils and provide teaching tuned accurately to their needs; Both GS and SM in Kent manage the transition to secondary school better than the typical comprehensive setting, where the pupils may easily fail to signal their individual capabilities for 6 months or a year. The manageable size of Year 7, even in our biggest secondary schools (only 20% are larger than 1000), contributes to the rapid settling in and quicker engagement in constructive learning. Thus the diverse system in Kent is in fact a strength.

Having made that impressive start in KS3 to their secondary careers, Kent pupils maintain their position through KS4 (Table 4 and 5: ranked by scores).

TABLE 4: ranked by:
KS3 av. pts. SCORE

 

TABLE 5: ranked by:
KS4 GCSE av pts. SCORE

West Sussex

35.8

 

Gloucestershire

38.2

Gloucestershire

35.2

 

West Sussex

35.8

Kent

34.8

 

Kent

35.7

Lancashire

34.3

 

Essex

35.5

Essex

34.2

 

Lancashire

35.3

Worcestershire

34.1

 

England

34.7

Bedfordshire

33.9

 

Bedfordshire

34.6

England

33.7

 

Worcestershire

34.3

Northamptonshire

33.7

 

Northamptonshire

34.2

Nottinghamshire

33.2

 

Nottinghamshire

33.2


Schools and LEAs find it harder (for statistical reasons) to demonstrate value-added at KS4 when they have already added high value in the previous Key Stage; statistical neighbours catch up with Kent in adding value to their KS3 achievement, (Table 6)

TABLE 6: ranked by:
KS4 Value Added

Northamptonshire

100

Essex

99.6

Lancashire

98.9

Bedfordshire

98.9

West Sussex

98.7

Gloucestershire

98.5

England

98.5

Worcestershire

98.4

Nottinghamshire

98.4

Kent

98

but Kent retains its high ranking among statistical neighbours of 3rd/ 9 at KS4. (Table 5).

Conclusion:
The overall picture is of a secondary system in Kent which, although complex to administer, demonstrates impressive recovery from a low baseline primary attainment and, because selection enables accurate matching of provision to pupils, answers the challenge of the “KS3 dip” better than comparable systems and builds up to a high position among its statistical neighbours.

Notes on figures:

Anthony Stanton, Support Kent Schools 12 May, 2003
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