River Wissey Lovell Fuller

School League Tables and James Bradfield School

January 2004

A critical examination of the performance of james bradfield School

The recently published league tables for primary schools show a result for James Bradfield School which is disappointing to say the least. For those not familiar with these tables it is necessary to understand that they simply show the percentage of pupils that achieve level 4 - the level that should be achieved in a primary school - in English, Maths and Science. These three percentages are then added together to show a total.

The result for James Bradfield was:

English 62%, Maths 46%, Science 81%, giving a total of 189

Many schools scored over 90% in each subject, the top three Norfolk schools each scored a total of 300.

There are 259 schools in Norfolk; 55 had too few pupils to allow their results to be published. Out of the 204 results published James Bradfield was placed at 186th, making it among the worst twenty of those schools in the county. If it had not been for the rather good science mark its position might have been even lower. There is an additional figure in the table which indicates 'value added', it is derived by looking at its pupils results for seven year olds and predicting what they will achieve at 11. If the score is above 100 it means they have improved their pupils performance; the score for James Bradfield was 98.2.

The Head Teacher, Mr Beeson, has explained that this disappointing result is a consequence of problems with staffing. This particular cohort has experienced a number of teacher changes and a number of temporary teachers. He is fairly confident that the situation will improve. I am sure we all sympathise with his difficulties. Those parents with children at the school will hope that he is right and will be watching what happens. In the meantime it would seem desirable that parents help the school as much as possible and provide that vital support and encouragement at home.

Basic literacy and numeracy are vitally important but league tables are not everything. Anyone who saw the school play this year could not help but recognise the time and effort that had gone into its preparation and would not fail to be proud of the children and the school.

Ron Watts

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