Keeping ahead of performance requirements is one of the toughest, but most important, challenges for school leaders at all levels: middle, senior, executive and governance. The shift to measuring schools across 8 subjects, rather than 5, and looking at progress, rather than just the pass rate, is substantial.
The aim is to refocus schools on to what matters: teaching all pupils to achieve as best as possible across a broad curriculum. It’s a noble quest. Having a plethora of measures should also avoid some negative behaviours. For example, sixth forms will now have their retention rates published alongside performance, disincentivising the old trick of pushing out pupils if it looks like they will perform badly.
No system is perfect, of course. As the case studies in these pages show, some schools will be affected by things beyond their control – for example, pupils with no primary school scores. The complicated way GCSEs will move from lettered to number grades is also a headache. But, change is coming. This guide, developed in collaboration with the researchers at think-and-action-tank LKMCo and awarding organisation OCR, is therefore here to step you through them. We hope you find it useful.