Hard work rewarded as school turns out to be a top performer

6th December 2002 at 00:00
THANKS to value-added calculations, one primary has made an astonishing leap from 255th in the league table of pilot schools to the top 20, writes Philippa White.

Rachel Mahon, acting head of St Vincent's Roman Catholic primary in Dagenham, east London, does not agree with league tables. But if they are a necessary evil, then she says value-added is the way to go.

Her school's raw test scores place it in the middle of a results table for the 495 mainstream schools in the pilot. But it leaps into the top 20 when it comes to the progress pupils make.

This summer 88 per cent of its 11-year-olds achieved at least a level 4 in English, 79 per cent in maths and 91 per cent in science, giving it an average points score of 27.6 (255th). When the children's results at seven are taken into account it gets a value-added score of 102.1 (19th).

Mrs Mahon said that value-added was particularly important for smaller schools, and for pupils with statements.

"Value-added acknowledges the hard work that's gone on in schools which are not going to get results at or above the national average," she said. "Some schools which get glowing key stage 2 results probably got glowing key stage 1 results - but are they really adding value?"

St Vincent's, which has 211 children aged between three and 11, has a one-form entry and sees its basic results vary from year to year because of the size of the year group.

Mrs Mahon said: "It's hard for those parents whose children don't receive level 4." She credited staff for the school's success, saying they tried to get the best out of each child. "We don't just work in Years 2 and 6," she said. "You can't give a child back a day, so every day counts."

Leader, 22

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