League tables: Ministers say narrowing attainment gap proves reforms work

Secondary league tables show schools across London continue to make strong pupil progress

Martin George

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Ministers have claimed a narrowing of the attainment gap in today's secondary school league tables shows that their policies are working.

They say figures show the gap in results between disadvantaged secondary school pupils and their peers has narrowed by 3.2 per cent since last year and 10 per cent since 2011.

But earlier this week a report from the government-funded Education Endowment Foundation warned that “little or no headway” is expected in closing the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their classmates in the next five years. It predicted the Attainment 8 gap would stay the same with the Progress 8 gap widening.

And today's tables reveal that the number and proportion of schools below the government's floor standard have increased. 

But the Department for Education highlighted the fact that today's figures show schools in London continue to perform strongly, with 12 schools in the top 20 for the government’s GCSE pupil progress measure (Progress 8).

School standards minister Nick Gibb said: “Academic standards are rising in our schools thanks to our reforms and the hard work of teachers, with 1.9 million more children in 'good' or 'outstanding' schools than in 2010. Today’s results reinforce this success, with teachers and pupils responding well to the new more rigorous curriculum introduced by this government.

“The attainment gap between the most disadvantaged pupils and their peers has narrowed by 10 per cent since 2011, and more disadvantaged pupils are studying the core academic subjects, ensuring they have the knowledge and skills they need to make the most of their lives.

Schools across London continue to make strong pupil progress. Twelve of the top 20 schools in the government’s Progress 8 measure are based in London. Other regional highlights include:

Top performing schools based on Progress 8 measures:

  1. Taheedul Islam Girls’ High School, Blackburn
  2. Wembley High Technology College, London
  3. Taheedul Islam Boys’ High School, Blackburn
  4. Harris Academy Battersea, London
  5. The Steiner Academy Hereford, Herefordshire

Top performing areas on attainment (Attainment 8) by region:

  1. London
  2. South East
  3. East
  4. South West
  5. North West

Top performing areas for progressing pupils (Progress 8):

  1. Merton
  2. Brent
  3. Barnet
  4. Westminster; Harrow (=)


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Martin George

Martin George

Martin George is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @geomr

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