Sixth-formers who don’t get top AS-level grades are being thrown out of private and state schools to boost their league table rankings. This is from the Telegraph…
…The most selective private and state schools are increasingly using public exams to weed out their worst-performing pupils, forbidding them from returning in September, in order to improve their league table performance. They not only bar pupils with poor GCSE grades from the sixth form but also refuse to allow sixth formers to return if they fall short in their AS-levels, sat at the end of lower sixth.
Janette Wallis, senior editor of the Good Schools Guide, has been bombarded with calls from worried parents in the past fortnight. “It is a very fraught time for parents if they know their child hasn’t got the results a school is asking for to continue to the next stage,” she says. “Children have all the pressure preparing for exams and now they are anxious over the summer holidays to see if the school will take them back. It can be very shocking and upsetting.”
A handful of underperforming pupils can significantly reduce a school’s ranking in league tables, which are calculated based on overall exam grades. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s a state school or an independent, whether they’re top of the rankings or lower down,” explains Wallis. “Schools are protective of their league table position.”
Nor does it only affect children who perform very badly in their exams. “It’s not always children getting Ds and Es,” says Wallis. “We get complaints from parents about independent schools that require five GCSEs at A* grade to continue to the sixth form.”
This inevitably increases pressure on pupils, who must focus relentlessly on their grades for four years. “Their requirements are so high that just putting a foot wrong means you aren’t able to continue,” she says. “It can be extremely distressing for children when their results are very good indeed, but just not superb.”
We carried a story recently about this happening at a number of academies but it appears to be much wider reaching than that. What are your thoughts? Is it a justifiable approach – perhaps even a way of motivating students to work harder – or is it unacceptable to deny them a place to study? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments or on twitter…