The one chart that parents need to make sense of York’s school league tables

Making sense of the exam grades… Photograph © ccarlstead on Flickr
21 Jan 2016 @ 7.22 pm
| Education

York is fortunate to have a lot of good schools – a fact that was underlined with the latest performance tables published on Thursday (January 21).

The provisional Key Stage 4 tables show that the percentage of pupils gaining five or more A*–C grades at GCSE (or equivalent), including English and maths, is 64%.

That result places York in the top 14% of local authorities in England, and at the top of the Yorkshire and Humber region.

But when it comes to ranking York state secondary schools on their results an interesting pattern emerges.

A separate Department For Education table gives the percentage of students at each school eligible for free school meals (FSM).

Families qualify for free school meals if they are on a low income or benefits.

If you compare the exam results with the free school meal percentages it shows that the schools with the lowest percentage of FSM-eligible children have the highest grades.

Those with the highest proportion of FSM students have the lowest grades.

The only exception is Millthorpe School, which has the same percentage of A*-C grades as Huntington and Joseph Rowntree schools (66%) but 1.6% fewer students eligible for free school meals.

While you have to be careful to make too simplistic a direct correlation, it does suggest a strong link between the socio-economic factors of a school’s catchment area and exam grade performance.

Worth bearing in mind before rushing to any judgements on which York schools are “better” than others.

School% achieving 5+ A*-C GCSEs inc English and maths 2015Percentage of pupils eligible for FSM at any time during the past 6 years
Fulford School81%6.2%
Manor CE Academy Trust78%10.3%
All Saints RC School70%14.3%
Joseph Rowntree School69%19.2%
Huntington School66%19.2%
Archbishop Holgate's School66%19.5%
Millthorpe School66%17.9%
Canon Lee School45%30.6%
York High School24%34.9%

Councillor Jenny Brooks, executive member for education, children and young people, said of the performance tables:

This is another marker of the continued excellence of York’s schools, their staff and, of course, their students.

Our young people’s efforts, supported by their families and teachers, show again that York offers leading educational opportunities which set firm foundations for aspiring futures.

Congratulations to all concerned.