GCSE results: Nearly 300 secondary schools fall below new Progress 8 floor standard

And hundreds could also face government intervention after being classed as 'coasting'

Eleanor Busby

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The number of secondary schools with GCSE results below the government's new floor target has fallen again, official Progress 8 figures show.

Figures released as part of school performance tables this morning show that 282 schools failed to meet the government’s floor target last summer, down from 329 last year.

This is the first time all schools have been judged on the new accountability measure Progress 8, rather than on the number of pupils gaining five A* to C grades at GCSE, including English and maths.

A secondary school is now considered to be underperforming if their Progress 8 score falls below -0.5.

The official government figures also reveal that more than 300 secondary schools would be classed as ‘coasting’ – a new measure to help the government identify where intervention is needed. 

For a secondary school to be judged as coasting, fewer than 60 per cent of its pupils must have achieved five A*-C GCSEs in 2015 and 2016 and it must be below the median level of expected progress in English and maths. And this year, its Progress 8 score would have to fall below -0.25.

A total of 319 secondaries are judged coasting based on the previous three years results, 152 of which were also below this year's floor standard. 

Regional Schools Commissioners (RSCs) will decide whether coasting schools need additional support to improve, and maintained schools could be forced to become academies.

Progress 8 not understood by parents

The data today also revealed that the average Progress 8 score for disadvantaged pupils in grammar schools was 0.13, compared with a score of -0.32 for disadvantaged pupils in all state schools.

But despite being used in the performance tables this year, a TES poll has revealed that only 1 per cent of teachers believe parents understand Progress 8. 

Malcolm Trobe, interim general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “Our message to parents is that no system of measuring school performance is perfect.

"It is their judgement which is most important and they should base that judgement on the whole picture of the school’s curriculum and culture and whether it is the best fit for their child.”

School standards minister Nick Gibb said: “Today’s figures confirm that the hard work of teachers and pupils across the country is leading to higher standards, and for that they should be congratulated.

“As well as confirming that the number of young people taking GCSEs in core academic subjects is rising, today’s figures show the attainment gap between disadvantaged and all other pupils has now narrowed by 7 per cent since 2011.

“Under our reforms there are almost 1.8 million more young people in good or outstanding schools than in 2010, and through our new, fairer Progress 8 measure we will ensure that even more children are supported to achieve their full potential.”  

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Eleanor Busby

Eleanor Busby is a reporter at TES 

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