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What does a Progress 8 Score mean for Schools?

The Progress 8 score is a new rating for English secondary schools which shows how well students have progressed academically during their time there. It compares results from different schools so that their performance can be easily seen by parents.

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The Progress 8 score was introduced in 2016. It is an average score for all pupils at a school, showing how well they have progressed academically from the end of primary school to when they finish in secondary education.

At a school, pupils' results are compared to those from children at other schools who had similar academic results at the end of their primary education. Each student's results in eight GCSE (or equivalent subjects), ranging from A* to G, are examined, which collectively forms the Attainment 8 rating. Subsequently, a score is calculated for these results across the entire year group.

In the Attainment 8 calculation, results in maths and English hold double weightage. Three subjects considered as part of the English Baccalaureate, along with three non-GCSE qualifications on the Department for Education approved list, are also included in the Attainment 8 score. You can find further information about the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) in our comprehensive article on EBacc Subjects. and revision quizzes for all the subjects can be found on our GCSE Quizzes home page.


Reasons for the Introduction of Progress 8 Score

Previously, secondary schools were ranked based on the percentage of pupils attaining five A* to C grades in GCSEs, including maths and English. This method of rating schools was unsatisfactory to teachers who believed it didn't reflect the academic level of the students. It was considered unfair to schools teaching pupils from challenging backgrounds who had performed poorly at primary school.

Many educators also wished to have a scoring system that considered achievements down to G grades, not just up to Cs. With Progress 8 scores, performance across eight subjects is taken into account, allowing art subjects or vocational courses to contribute to a school's overall rating.

What Parents Should Look For in a School's Progress 8 Score

The new Progress 8 measure has faced criticism for being less straightforward for parents to understand than the previous system based on five GCSE results. This complexity can be a concern, as it makes the new measures harder to interpret than the old tables based on five GCSE scores.

A school typically receives a Progress 8 score ranging from minus one to one. This score is then graded as 'well above average,' 'above average,' 'average,' 'below average,' or 'well below average.' Parents should consider these ratings when deciding whether to enrol their child in a specific school or when evaluating their child's existing school.

It's essential to note that a negative Progress 8 score does not imply that pupils made no academic progress or that the school is a failure. It signifies that students at the school made less progress than others across England with similar results at the end of their Key Stage 2 education.

A school recording a zero Progress 8 rating indicates that its pupils, on average, perform at Key Stage 4 as well as pupils with similar results from their primary school years. A score above zero indicates that students made more progress, while a score below zero indicates less progress, in both cases compared to children with similar Key Stage 2 results.


How to Find a School's Progress 8 Score

A GCSE age art student painting a picture

Progress 8 scores are a crucial factor in choosing a secondary school for your child, as they reflect the school's ability to shape a child's development after their transition from primary education. So, where can you find a school's Progress 8 score, and how can you compare its performance with other schools in the area?

It's quite straightforward. Visit GOV.UK and click on 'search for schools and colleges to compare.' This will take you to a page where you can find an individual school's Progress 8 rating by selecting the 'school or college name' option.

Results in 8 GCSEs, from A* to G, are examined for each student, which is known as the Attainment 8 rating.

To compare schools in your town or city, choose the 'location' option. Select the 'secondary' option in the education phase on the left to focus on secondary schools. Then, click on all the schools under 'add to comparison list' before selecting 'view comparison list' to see a comparison of local schools.

Another way to check a school's Progress 8 score is to visit their website, where many schools display this rating.

Discover all the information you need for schoolchildren attending Secondary School by reading our article on The Curriculums For Secondary School Children.

If you have any questions about education, you can explore our Knowledge Bank, which contains a collection of articles aiming to provide parents with insights into various education aspects, from pre-school to university. You'll also find valuable advice on different parenting aspects, from online safety to special educational needs. It's a valuable resource in your parenting toolkit!


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