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Dear Stephen - Misleading use of benchmark statistics. What should I do?

Discussion in 'Governors' started by Stephen_Adamson, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. I think there are two separate issues, promoting the school and the monitoring, evaluation and challenge that the governing body should undertake.
    It does not seem unreasonable to me for the school to promote itself in the best way possible and to celebrate the success of the young people who have worked hard to achieve their GCSEs. That is a very different thing from the role of the governing body, which has a statutory responsibility to promote high standards of education and should be aware and working on the basis of the nationally expected standards.
    The governing body should be aware of what is expected at a national level and should be seeking and receiving information from the headteacher and senior staff about the performance levels in the school and what action is being taken to improve them.
    The floor standards set by the Department for Education are based on 5 GCSEs including English and Maths, so the governing body should be receiving reports on that basis. Although the school is above the current floor standard the intention is to raise the standard to 50% by 2015 - which is the level your school appears to be at. You should also be looking at the levels of progress your young people are making.
    The governing body should receive information about RaiseOnline data. I would recommend the NGA's booklet Knowing Your School - Secondary RAISEonline which explains what governors should be looking at and the questions to ask in relation to RaiseOnline. It is freely available to download from the NGA site. http://www.nga.org.uk/Resources/UsefulDocuments/Knowing-Your-School---Secondary.aspx
    It is perfectly legitimate for you to ask questions about the school's performance against the floor standards, but you do need to be mindful of how you go about that. I do not think a formal letter to the headteacher is the best approach. You could raise the issue with the chair of governors, but I would suggest that the best option is to ask a question in the relevant committee or full governing body meeting. You could ask something along the lines of - given the DfE continues to raise the floor standards for how many pupils achieve five GCSEs at A*-C including English and Maths - what percentage of our young people are expected to do so in the forthcoming examination round.
    Stephen Adamson

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