School league tables 2018: Free schools soar, and 6 more key findings

The government has released provisional key stage 4 data this morning that reveals how schools have fared in headline accountability measures.

The data includes figures on the new Progress and Attainment 8 measures and also provides an update on EBacc figures.

Here are the key findings.


1. Progress 8: Free schools soar as sponsored academies flounder

Mainstream free schools posted the highest average progress 8 scores this year: 0.24 (also see * below). Converter academies had the second highest average progress 8 scores at 0.12, while local authority maintained schools had an average score of -0.03.

Sponsored academies, meanwhile, averaged a score of -0.19.

The lowest scores were achieved by studio schools and university technical colleges, which are specialist free schools, at -0.65 and -0.80 respectively. However, it is considered by many to be unfair to apply progress scores to these technical institutions because they recruit at 14, not 11.

*Important nerd stat: The government says the numbers of free schools, UTCs and studio schools with year 11 pupils are “too small to allow robust conclusions to be drawn about their performance at the end of key stage 4”.

But Becky Allen reckons you CAN draw pretty good conclusions, see here.


2. Slight rise in attainment 8 scores

The average attainment 8 score for all schools increased from 44.2 last year, to 44.3 this year. Among state-funded schools only, the increase was larger, from 46.0 to 46.4.

Scores in the English and maths elements of attainment 8 remained “relatively stable”, while the average score for the EBacc element increased from 12.4 points to 12.9 for all schools. However, this increase in the EBacc element score is “likely to be due (at least in part) to more points being available for EBacc subjects in 2018 compared to 2017”, the DfE said.

The average score for the “open” element decreased by 0.7 points, from 14.3 to 13.6 among all schools, although this element “will have also been
affected by changes to eligible qualifications”, according to the DfE.


3. EBacc entries rise

The proportion of pupils in England entering the EBacc increased slightly this year.

Today’s data shows 38.4 per cent of pupils entered the EBacc in 2018, compared to 38.1 per cent last year, but less than the peak of 39.7 per cent seen in 2016.

However, data on the proportion of pupils achieving the EBacc, which is normally published in the same data release, is not included this year because the government has changed the way it reports on the accountability measure.

Instead, the data shows an “average point score” of 3.83 for all schools and 4.03 for state-funded schools in 2018, though there is no equivalent score for 2017 to compare this to.


4. English and maths achievement is up

A higher proportion of pupils achieved at least a grade 5 or above in English and maths this year.

Across all schools, 39.9 per cent of pupils achieved the threshold, compared to 39.1 per cent last year. If just state-funded schools are taken into account, 43 per cent of pupils achieved the threshold, up from 42.2 per cent last year.

A grade 5 at GCSE is considered by the government to be a “strong” pass, and sits above where a grade C used to sit under the old legacy qualifications.


5. Girls continue to outperform boys

Today’s data shows that girls once again had higher average progress and attainment scores than boys.

In 2018, the average progress 8 score among girls was 0.22, compared with -0.25 among boys, while the average attainment 8 scores for the groups were 49.2 and 43.6 respectively.

Girls also performed better than boys in the new EBacc average point score. They scored 4.28, compared with 3.79.


6. Non-selective schools suffer in grammar school towns

Non-selective schools in highly selective areas achieve worse progress and attainment scores than their counterparts in non-selective areas, the data shows.

The average progress 8 score for the 216 non-selective secondary schools in highly selective areas was -0.13, compared with 0.00 in other non-selective schools. The nation’s 163 grammar schools had an average progress 8 score of 0.57.

Under attainment 8, non-selective schools in selective areas achieved an average score of 42.1, compared with 46.5 in other non-selective schools and 70.9 in grammars.


7. Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and Jewish schools do better, but there’s a caveat

Schools of a Muslim, Sikh, Hindu or Jewish character all had much higher progress scores than those of Christian faiths or no religious character.

However, there are very few of each of these types of school in the country, so it’s impossible to draw firm conclusions from the data about their performance.

Muslim schools had an average progress 8 score of 1.20 this year, while Jewish schools had an average score of 0.83. Hindu schools had a score of 0.74, and Sikh schools a score of 0.62.

Of the nation’s Christian schools, Roman Catholic schools had the highest progress 8 score, 0.13. Schools of “other Christian faiths” scored 0.09 on average, while Church of England schools scored 0.08.

These compare to an average score among schools of no religious character of -0.01.

Latest education roles from

Business Lecturer

Business Lecturer

MidKent College

1:1 SEN Learning Support Assistant

1:1 SEN Learning Support Assistant

Ashingdon Primary Academy

Group Director of Human Resources and People Development – Education Training Collective (Etc.)

Group Director of Human Resources and People Development – Education Training Collective (Etc.)


Lecturer – Carpentry & Joinery (Ore Valley)

Lecturer – Carpentry & Joinery (Ore Valley)

East Sussex College

Lecturer – Brickwork (Ore Valley)

Lecturer – Brickwork (Ore Valley)

East Sussex College

Assessor – Plumbing

Assessor – Plumbing

East Sussex College

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One comment

  1. Another nerd comment: the DfE has compared 2017 provisional results for English and maths grade 5 and above with 2018 provisional figures. The 2017 actual results were higher at 39.6% for all schools and 42.6% for state-funded schools.

    This makes the achievement rate rise between 2017 and 2018 smaller.