A Leading Edge letter to The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP

Stephen Munday, Executive Headteacher, Comberton Academy Trust writes O/b SSAT Leading Edge Headteachers’ Steering Group…

Dear Secretary of State

I am writing on behalf of the Leading Edge programme, which represents almost 300 high-performing secondary schools and academies, to express concern at the recent announcements about changes to school performance data – in terms of performance tables, RAISEonline and the information that will be provided to Ofsted.

Whilst we recognise and support the need to ensure that the examination system is rigorous, consistent and fair, we are extremely concerned about the way this announcement has been managed and the impact that these changes could have on our students, particularly those currently in year 11. Every single secondary school that we have contact with feels that it is inappropriate to be informed of a substantial change to the way schools’ performance will be measured through a leaked document in a newspaper and ahead of the publication of the outcome of the DfE consultation on accountability.

It also seems that there has been some misunderstanding around the issue of early entry.

Firstly it is important that a distinction is drawn between “game-playing” and the judicious use of the examination system, planned from the point at which pupils embark upon their GCSE studies to support achievement. Many high-performing schools use early entry, not as a means of ‘gaming’ the system, but in order carefully to personalise provision for different students. For example, early entry is frequently used with lower attaining and vulnerable students to boost confidence and build resilience. Rather than putting a ceiling on their achievement, this experience…read more here.

Leading Edge Steering Group 2013-14
Stephen Munday, Executive Headteacher, Comberton Academy Trust (Chair)
Ani Magill, Headteacher, St John The Baptist School (Vice-Chair)
Steve Allen, Principal, The De Ferrers Academy
Janet Bridges, Principal, Castle View Enterprise Academy
Andy Daly, Principal, Swavesey Village College
Russel Ellicott, Headteacher, Pate’s Grammar School
Haydn Evans, Headteacher, Sir John Cass’s Foundation and Redcoat Church of England Secondary School
Alan Grey, Headteacher, Sandringham School
Iain Hulland, Executive Headteacher, Alder Grange Community Technology School and Sixth Form
Andy Johnson, Headteacher, Springwood High School
Sylvia Jones, Headteacher, Valentines High School
Catherine McCormack, Headteacher, South Wirral High School
Pank Patel, Headteacher, Wood Green High School
Lynn Rowlands, Headteacher, Canons High School
Mark Smallwood, Headteacher, Sale Grammar School
Robert Sykes, Headteacher, Thornden School
Michael Whitworth, Principal, Wren Academy
Martin Williams, Headteacher, The Corsham School
Alan Yellup, Executive Principal. Wakefield City Academy

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