A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Hackney GCSE results

There was quite a heated debate when I posted about the GCSE results from Hackney's Mossbourne City Academy.

In the interests of completeness/transparency, here are the results from all schools in Hackney. These are the provisional results at GCSE for the nine secondary schools. There are a further three new City Academies in Hackney whose first cohorts of children have not reached GCSE age yet, and one more to open. The new indicator is the percentage of pupils with five or more A* to C GCSEs including English and Maths (previously it was five A* to C GCSEs):
Cardinal Pole 51%
Clapton Girls 49%
Hackney Free and Parochial 31%
Haggerston Girls 49%
Mossbourne Community Academy 84%
Our Lady’s Convent 69%
Skinners' Company School for Girls 30%
Stoke Newington Media and Arts College 48%
Yesodey Hatorah School for Girls 83%

Clapton Girls and Skinners' results are slightly lower than they were last year. The trend overall is up, in some cases dramatically. Our Lady’s Convent has had very much improved results, Haggerston, Hackney Free and Cardinal Pole have all improved by 10% or more.

Mossbourne has set a new bar for a mixed, non-denominational school, with 84% of its pupils getting five A* to C GCSE’s including English and Maths. Mossbourne has a comprehensive intake, its pupil profile being entirely representative of the make up of the Borough like the other mixed schools.

The national average for this indicator in 2008 was 47.6%. The national average for 2009 will not be known until January.

The average for Hackney in 2009, with the caveat that these results have yet to be confirmed, is 52%.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The figures for Mossibollocks are not available for inspection in detail.

I would have thought you might have been more circumspect in your claims. But then I forgot you work for the Labour Party, you work in PR, you produced the dodgy dossier, there's no more boom and cuts and you wont be making cuts.

In other words, it's Labour Lies.

What is reported on Mossibollocks's site is its performance for last year - 43% for A-C GCSEs including maths and english, versus 47% the national average.

You'd have to be a numpty or a ginger Labour Party activist working for a PR company facing complete collapse at the next election, to find the latest figure so outside the standard deviation from the norm as to be unbelievable.

Look back on the tables at all the other schools you mention in the borough and indeed look at the performance of any school nationally and you'll generally see variances of plus or minus 2 to 3%, except when they are really dire - down in the 20%s - so that there's a lot of ground that can be easily made up.

As the old saw goes, if something is too good to be true it generally is, and almost certainly so when a ginger Labour Party activist working in PR is saying it.

11:35 am, September 09, 2009

Blogger Dave Brinson said...

Mossbourne's results are indeed impressive (I don't share the overt cynicism of Annonymous, but it is an incredible jump...)

There are two possible answers to the success:

a) The magic wand of the private sector's DNA suddenly and miraculously transformed the school, or

b) New and appropriate buildings, all the facilities and resources needed for teaching and learning, a low ratio of qualified staff to pupils, time and resources for quality intervention and the ability for teachers and leaders to be creative and innovative with the curriculum all combined to raise standards.

If "b", then why can this not be done for all schools on a level playing field ? As someone who believes in a good local school for every child, the Academy programme is an expensive and divisive red-herring: we should be working co-operatively and collaboratively across all schools in a locally accountable framework that makes resources and innovation available to all.

The late Steve Sinnott and a number of academics issued a challenge at the start of the academy/school privatisation project, to allow a LEA school all of the money and opportunities of an Academy project, and see if the results were comparable. The challenge was never taken up, mainly because it would blow out of the water the argument that it needs the input from dodgy businesses, religious fundamentalists, Aston Villa FC etc. to turn a school around. What it actually needs is good teachers with the time, resources and freedoms to get on with their jobs.

12:32 pm, September 09, 2009

Blogger Dave Brinson said...

Incidentally, at the time of Francis Beckett's study of the Academy project (2007) he found a curious fact: the number of students eligible for Free School Meals at Mossbourne was considerably lower than neighbouring Hackney schools:
Haggerston 57%
Clapton Girls 52%
Homerton 50%
Stoke Newington 40%
Mossbourne 37%

I don't know if these were rogue figures, and whether Mossbourne's intake is now more balanced. If not, the claims of a truly comprehensive intake may be masking a covert social selection ?

12:38 pm, September 09, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see you've got Dave Hill doing some qualified boosting in the Guardian for Mossibollocks.

Being the useless desperate relic that he is, he just can't help disappearing up his own colon.

The school, according to Hillock, is run like a prison camp or along the lines of a good old grammar school.

That's a tough one for Hippie Hillock since it runs counter to all the countercultural bollocks that him and his mates in the Labour Party and the NUT were pushing out for the last 40 years.

If you've got Hillock on your side, you're backing a loser. It was bonehead who commented in a telly programme after Boris got the Mayor's job: "He never had popular support". Even Anne McElvoy was aghast. "Hang on a minute - he's just won an election".

4:05 pm, September 09, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup, my comments were cynical. And yup, you David Brinson were more convincing because you were sceptical.

But you're scepticism gives me more reasons to be cynical.

One other fact. Go back over its results since its creation and it is consistently under-perfoming the borough and national pass rate in GCSE A-C maths and english.

4:14 pm, September 09, 2009

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Anon, Mossbourne only opened in 2004. This is therefore the first year it has had any pupils old enough to take GCSEs so I do not understand your reference to previous results.

8:44 pm, September 09, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

All the information about Mossibollocks needs to be treated with a considerable degree of scepticism.

The academy quotes, as does Mr Akehurst, a view from its Ofsted report saying its progress was "outstanding".

Read the report and that view is generated in a sea of qualifications about its performance and from a background of below-national/borough attainment.

In other words, in context "outstanding" is equivalent to saying there is one not so large or smelly turds in a gardenful of plump, ripey ones.

It's outstanding. But it's still a turd.

12:14 pm, September 10, 2009

Blogger Karen T said...

Anonymous - you are a disgrace. You are obviously well aware of this fact, due to your not even having the courage to stand by your own convictions and publish your name.

This is, indeed, the first year that Mossbourne has sat GCSEs as a whole year so your vitreolic rantings are clearly based purely on your own fanatical prejudice.

The school is not run like a prison camp but it is a strict school with a 'no excuses' policy of achievement for all pupils, including daily homework, extra tuition and high expectations of every student.

The teachers sign-up to work particularly long hours at this school to help students achieve and students are expected to attend catch-up classes if they are falling-behind. It's called hard work and professionalism - or is that too grown-up a concept for your namby-pamby, liberal ideology?

Ultimately, success or failure is generally down to leadership. If you want to point fingers, point them in the direction of the management of failing schools. Not everyone is a great leader with the experience, skills and courage to build something exceptional but Mossbourne is lucky enough to have one of them. As a Mossbourne parent, I'm extremely grateful for that and wish I'd had the opportunity to go to such a school. Perhaps you wish the same and are just a little jealous...

4:55 pm, September 24, 2009

Anonymous London thruandthru said...

I've heard a lot of talk about Mossbourne's success and have lived in Hackney for 10 years so have seen how schooling has developed over the years. Although I'd like to be positive of the results the school has achieved considering its 'mixed' intake. From talking to many parents in the area it seems the school is cherry picking those parents who have the biggest or most articulate voices and skimming off the 'trouble' to send back into the sink schools. As for anonymous above, people would take you more seriously if you calmed down your personal insults a bit. Either way regarding Mossbourne, Rome wasn't built in a day.

10:08 am, January 19, 2010


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