16th September 2022

A word from Principal, Richard Settle

Principal Richard Settle, Weekly Word, Sancton Wood

Some of you may have noticed that the reporting of GCSE results seems to have shifted somewhat in recent years, with some schools cherry-picking the way they present results to the public.  Some will look at 4-9 grades, some 7-9 only, some present results as a % of those sitting exams and others include early entries from other parts of the school.  Certainly, there are a number of ways to show off success or mask shortcomings.  Personally, I am on record as saying that whilst the results are unquestionably important for students, they should mark the end of a happy journey through school.  They should not, however, drive that journey entirely, nor should they define our students entirely.

However, we must deliver decent GCSE outcomes and again this year we have done just that.  This year our 9-4 pass rate was 91.4% and the percentage of all grades at A or A* (our 7-9 rate) was 44.6%. This matches the national trend of a slight downwards adjustment in grades following two years of no exams and teacher-assessed grades, and is almost identical to the performance of our students in the last set of ‘normal’ GCSEs in 2019.  Crucially, for a non-selective school academically, our results are way ahead of the national average.  (You’ll find a good summary of that national picture here).  We are also interested in the value we add to each pupil compared with what that same pupil profile achieves nationally, and our value-added scores are very strong.  Overall, each Sancton Wood pupil obtained 1.35 grade higher than the mean, which proves that we add real value.

Recently, we held our annual return to school INSET days. Traditionally, these include the principal’s first speech of the year – the annual “state of the union” address – which is essential as it’s a chance to welcome new faces to the community, reflect on pupil achievements in GCSE exams, praise the activity of the non-teaching staff who work so hard during the summer “holiday” and focus on the year ahead.  The developmental targets we have set this year link to our Thriving Minds G&T programme, the next iteration of the enrichment programme, improvement to sports and creative arts provision and the conclusion of a curriculum review with a focus on future skills in the workplace.  I remain more than happy to talk in more detail to parents on these broader targets or the more specific areas of school improvement and strategy, contact me directly if you’d like to know more.

Read the previous “A word from the Principal” here

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