Press release: Parents to receive more help choosing secondary schools

Parents choosing a secondary school for their child will for the first time have access to early exam results to help them decide, Schools Minister Nick Gibb announced today (16 July 2015).

Provisional GCSE results will now be made available in mid-October so parents are able to use them to finalise their choices. Previously, the data was only shared with schools.

It is part of the government’s drive to improve transparency, helping parents hold schools to account while allowing heads and teachers to highlight their achievements.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said:

Choosing the right school is one of the most important decisions parents will make for their child and so we want to make sure they have as much up-to-date information as possible to make an informed choice.

This is why we will now publish provisional GCSE results before the admissions window closes – further empowering parents and continuing our commitment to transparency.

We know parents will rightly consider all aspects of a school – not just performance – before making their choice, but this information will give them even more confidence that they are making the right choice.

The provisional school results will include the following performance measures for state-funded secondary schools:

  • the percentage of pupils achieving 5 or more GCSEs or equivalents at A* to C
  • the percentage of pupils achieving the English Baccalaureate (EBacc)
  • the Attainment 8 scores, showing average achievement across 8 subjects, including English and maths, for those schools that have opted into the new accountability system a year early

Local authorities publish prospectuses for schools in their area in mid-September. Parents are able to use this information to narrow down their options and many then chose to visit a small number of school open days. The provisional data will be available ahead of the window closing on 31 October.

The final secondary performance tables will be published in January 2016.

Notes to editors

  1. As the data published in October will be provisional, a minority of schools will see small changes to their results between the provisional publication and the January performance tables publication.
  2. The reason that some small changes may occur is that the provisional publication will be based on the results data that awarding organisations supply to the department by August 2015. This includes the vast majority of all pupils’ results; however, it will not yet include:
    • the small proportion of amendments that awarding organisations may make to examination grades, following any successful appeals
    • the small proportion of additional results data that awarding organisations may supply to the department after August 2015, for example, for any qualifications that have been certificated late
    • any approved amendments that schools have requested the department makes to either the pupils or results reported. These requests are made as part of a checking exercise in September, during which the department shares provisional pupil data with schools
  3. As in previous years, any amendments after August 2015 will be reflected in the full performance tables release in January 2016.
  4. Full details on the content of the 2015 performance tables can be found in the ‘statement of intent’.
  5. When choosing a school, parents should also consider all available information. This will include historical trend information published in the performance tables, distance from home, and whether a sibling is already attending. This will be alongside other important sources of information, such as Ofsted reports, visits to the school itself and talking to teachers.
  6. The data published will include GCSEs and other equivalent qualifications.
  7. Attainment 8 measures the achievements of pupils across a suite of 8 high-quality qualifications at age 16. The subjects included in the measure are:
    • mathematics (double weighted)
    • English (double weighted)
    • 3 EBacc qualifications (sciences, languages, humanities in any combination)
    • 3 further qualifications that can be GCSE qualifications (including EBacc subjects) or any other non-GCSE qualification on the DfE-approved list
  8. Progress 8 measures the progress pupils make from the end of primary school to the end of secondary school across the same 8 subjects. From 2016 all schools will be judged under the new accountability framework with a floor standard based on Progress 8. Schools were given the opportunity to move to this new accountability system a year early for 2015 results. Those that chose to do so will have their provisional Attainment 8 score published in October.

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