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Kudos for High Storrs - proof you don't have to wear uniforms to get good results 🙃

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I've been an educator most of my life. I was the head of a school in the US and I've taught in primary and secondary schools. Don't get me started on what makes a good school. The 'exam results' way of looking at things just perpetuates self-congratulation amongst the affluent, and keeps deprived areas firmly trodden down. It makes me seethe. I'm sure these are all lovely schools, but it's not a good way to look at education.

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This article was short on the freely available data to stimulate discussion about what matters. so for example, you could freely access data on preschool meals for each of those schools you described. You can access data on young people whose gamily-spoken language is not English to have a sense of additional barriers which the school is addressing. Finally you can access value added data- that is how kids progress compared to entry level at most schools.

Schools are a complex mix in the south-west of the city. For example, Silverdale as an ex-secondary Modern, has always had a catchment area of affluent Ecclesall/ top end of Carterknowle and bussed in children from Broomhall.

The average per capita income of Greystones ( and parents who are graduates) is actually higher than you think due to the high concentration in relatively smaller expensive houses.

There’s an interesting debate about school uniforms. For people who live in low income, families- wearing a simple sweatshirt with a logo and having simple rules about the colour / type of trousers skirts which can be bought at any supermarket saves a massive amount of money. Being uniform free can create differences between children who are from the ‘have’ families and those who are from the have nots?

Yes so economic advantage and disadvantage drives educational achievement so share data on that

So the article as it stands just extracts information from the Times article. Some proper local data digging would’ve been better.

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I would be more interested to read an article in the Times which has been well researched and written about successful schools ; who have proactively engaged in the Widening Participation Agenda: and can provide countless achievements of students from the most financially vulnerable area of Sheffield / UK - who have successfully Achieved their personal goals in life DESPITE and Against all the odds. Publishing a list of “successful schools” is hardly Quality Journalism at its best!..

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Agree

Wholeheartedly with both Joanna and Perry - especially Joanna. Obsessive focus on exams and results of exams tells you nothing about the ability of a school to engage, stimulate and develop a child in what should be a social and communitarian project for the good of society as a whole.

What we have now is a rat-race based on competition and repression of individuality and creativity. Is it any wonder we score so low among western and richer countries for productivity and imagination?

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It is very easy to find “value-added” data for schools these days. Each school is given a progress 8 score based on how far students surpass expectations based on their y7 attainment. The great think about this score is as it focussed on improvement from y7-y11 it better reflects the schools quality of teaching than just looking at gcse results because as you rightly point out we know wealthier kids do better.

So looking at progress 8 scores Mercia actually has the third highest score in the country which is amazing - they are getting kids to make huge improvements over their time there. Silverdale, Notre Dame, Tapton and King Ecgberts also get pretty good scores. High Storrs does okay and King Edwards does very average - the rest of the schools in Sheffield do average to quite bad.

In conclusion the times overrates High Storrs and King Edwards (maybe school uniforms do help lol 😉) but is otherwise quite accurate.

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founding

It would be perfectly straightforward for these lists to feature P8 or Attainment 8 data which measures pupil progress in school against their starting standard.

Catchment areas can mitigate against the geographical location of schools in prosperous areas to create a better comprehensive mix. But without bussing children this cannot solve the wealth and disadvantage gap that exists in many parts of the UK.

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I agree league tables are nonsense, but happy to see High Storrs up there, since my grandchildren go there. But what exactly are you saying about Mercia? That the results have not worked out as expected, so they must be corrected? That would make even more nonsense out of league tables. Some people assume Mercia must be better than, say, High Storrs because of its distinctive culture, uniforms etc. But what if it isn’t? Your point about the educational geography of this very class-divided city is very well made, though.

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Agree with and cannot usefully add to the comments decrying the shallowness of the Times' article (and yes, please, let's have Data Dan do some digging). It is (as molesworth would sa) a chiz as any fule kno.

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sorry that should say family not gamily!

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