Performance vs. experience

This week the DfE published performance data for schools; the so called school ‘League Tables’.  The indicators for Fir Vale School are good with our key measure ‘Progress 8’ significantly above the national average. 

As your Headteacher, I am delighted to see this and to see our impact is in the top national third for similar schools.  I also know, however,  how partial and incomplete these figures are. They do not describe the full story or explain the challenges and barriers and how collaboratively these are overcome. Allow me to add some more detail alongside the 'official data'. We know that in our school: 

-        98% of our pupils were in uniform last week. Thank you to pupils, parents, pastoral teams and form tutors for driving this.

-        every Year 11 who left us in the Summer has gone to Sixth Form, college, employment with training or a caring role; we have 0% NEET.  Thank you to our careers team and our brilliant careers expert Sarah Little from Sheffield Futures.

-        Pupil attendance has already improved by 1.1% compared with the same time last year.  Thank you to the attendance team for engaging with pupils and their families.

-        Punctuality has significantly improved with a 40% reduction in morning lates.  Thank you to parents, pupils and pastoral teams.

-        Positive referrals have increased by 12% with more pupils being recognised for making the right decisions and more often.  Thank you to pupils for getting it right and to colleagues for taking the time and care to recognise it.

-        94% of parents have said they would recommend our school (the national average is 85%); thank you for your affirmation.

-        parents tell us any bullying is dealt with effectively (our parental feedback is 20% more positive than in other schools); thank you pastoral teams, learning mentors and all the agencies with whom we work.

Perhaps the most important figures you can ever read about a school is whether parents and pupils feel about their experience.  92% of parents say their child is happy at Fir Vale and 96% told us their child feels safe. 

Both of these compare favourably with other schools if not better.  As an ambitious school we strive beyond this to secure the highest quality and standards.

The sense of care, inclusion, energy, pace and purpose are vital elements of our Fir Vale Standards; they are valuable and fundamental to what we do but you’ll never see them in any league table.