Whilst most schools were spending the last few days anxious about today’s A level results, Brooke House Sixth Form College in Hackney is one that can afford to be a little relaxed – it has now been classed as one of the two best sixth form colleges in England for improving the performance of pupils.
According to the Government’s Contextual Value Added rating – which measures the performance of pupils between GCSE and A Levels – they are joint top with the St Clement Danes school in Hertfordshire as the best state sixth form college in England. The school was already in the top 5 per cent English schools .
Ken Warman, the Headteacher of BSix, as it is known, called the news ‘amazing’ and ‘gratifying’ for both students and teachers.
The measure responsible for this achievement, Contextual Value Added, was introduced in January 2008 to improve recognition of a schools impact on pupil’s grades.
The CVA also takes into account other background factors, such as the number of free school meals, ethnic backgrounds and numbers of pupils with special education needs or in care. It has been criticised for its assumption that pupils from less privileged backgrounds are unlikely to achieve. Parts of Hackney have very high levels of deprivation.
Mr Warman said it was important that the influence of an area had to be taken into account, and raw scores alone were too crude a measure when passing judgements on a college’s success.
And BSix is indeed a success; pass rates are rising, the college’s reputation is spreading and, in June, received recognition for ‘driving achievement forward’ in an award from the London Education Partnership.
By Eli Cummings