GCSE league tables “riddled with problems”, says head teacher of Twynham school Dr Terry Fish

Terry Fish

Terry Fish

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RESPECTED headteacher Dr Terry Fish has claimed that the GCSE league tables are “misleading” and “riddled with problems”.

The head of Twynham school has also voiced his fears that the preoccupation with results means that many students are abandoning vocational courses.

He said: “I think the league tables are driving school behaviour and that is really not very helpful.

“We need to be encouraging our young people to take up those types of subject as they will really benefit the country.”

Secondary school league tables 2014: see how schools across Dorset and Hampshire compare

A record number of students gained top grades at Twynham with 15 pupils gaining 12 A* and A grades and 20 getting at least 10 A* or A grades.

Overall the school, in Christchurch, had 65 per cent of students meeting at least the benchmark standard.

Dr Fish said: “We were very happy with the results, but of course we always want to do better.”

Bournemouth council said English results for the borough’s schools were up eight per cent from last year, while maths results were up five per cent, both above the national average.

Councillor Nicola Greene, deputy leader and portfolio holder for education, said: “For the past eight years we have seen a rise in the percentage of students getting five good GCSEs including English and Maths.

“Bournemouth schools have achieved a two per cent increase on 2012 results and are now at their highest level.”

Borough of Poole portfolio holder for children and young people, Cllr Janet Walton said she was pleased the results for Poole were again “above the national average”.

“For the third year running our young people in Poole have succeeded in improving on the previous year’s results,” she said.

Mark Loveys, Dorset County Council's head of learning and school improvement, said: “We are very pleased with the progress that Dorset secondary schools appear to have made since last year. “It seems that there have been good overall improvements for pupils in 2013, especially those pupils from more disadvantaged backgrounds.”

Comments (4)

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11:07pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Sophie32 says...

League tables are "misleading" and "riddled with problems". Is this because Twynham haven't done so well this year? Schools like Bourne Academy are catching you up. Guess there won't be so many Twynham students going to "top universities" this year.
League tables are "misleading" and "riddled with problems". Is this because Twynham haven't done so well this year? Schools like Bourne Academy are catching you up. Guess there won't be so many Twynham students going to "top universities" this year. Sophie32
  • Score: 7

9:26am Fri 24 Jan 14

ladylogic says...

Well said Sophie32. I feel Twynham have become complacent and need to focus on the "not so able" students getting better grades. My friend's child is in year 11 there, and apparently their recent mocks are appalling, particularly science. Also having attended the last 6th form evening for prospective students, I was appalled that the main focus was on "able" students who want to do medicine or dentistry and getting into a "top university". No mention of the students who went to "normal" universities and did well. It was also unprofessional the way the head was condescending towards other schools - quote "and we even get students from ................" So Twynham School, my child will not be coming to your 6th form. He will be going to Highcliffe 6th form where every student is praised and encouraged regardless of their ability.
Well said Sophie32. I feel Twynham have become complacent and need to focus on the "not so able" students getting better grades. My friend's child is in year 11 there, and apparently their recent mocks are appalling, particularly science. Also having attended the last 6th form evening for prospective students, I was appalled that the main focus was on "able" students who want to do medicine or dentistry and getting into a "top university". No mention of the students who went to "normal" universities and did well. It was also unprofessional the way the head was condescending towards other schools - quote "and we even get students from ................" So Twynham School, my child will not be coming to your 6th form. He will be going to Highcliffe 6th form where every student is praised and encouraged regardless of their ability. ladylogic
  • Score: 4

6:26pm Fri 24 Jan 14

Missymiss says...

This will be the same Twynham School that encourage the kids at their fantastic vocational classes - my child does two, the same Twynham that has the best literacy specialist in the county, the same Twynham that fully employs qualified speech therapists and social workers to help everyone? My child is at Twynham in year 11 and I don't know how you know the mock results because even the kids haven't been told them yet. But what I do know is that all the year 11 got C+ in the English GCSE in November and my son just got a C in his IGCSE English today.... I'm quite happy my boy is there - keep up the good work!
This will be the same Twynham School that encourage the kids at their fantastic vocational classes - my child does two, the same Twynham that has the best literacy specialist in the county, the same Twynham that fully employs qualified speech therapists and social workers to help everyone? My child is at Twynham in year 11 and I don't know how you know the mock results because even the kids haven't been told them yet. But what I do know is that all the year 11 got C+ in the English GCSE in November and my son just got a C in his IGCSE English today.... I'm quite happy my boy is there - keep up the good work! Missymiss
  • Score: -1

12:04pm Sun 26 Jan 14

Sophie32 says...

Missymiss, yes you're right, the students have done well in their English GCSE's. We must congratulate them all, bearing in mind that when they went back to school in September they were told they would be taking it in November and not the summer as they originally thought. This is the first year they have taken the English iGCSE, and it is a lot easier to get a "C" in this exam than the ordinary GCSE. Maybe I'm being cynical here, but because the students first results in their GCSE's count towards the league tables, and retakes don't, is this the reason behind the iGCSE? Every student getting "C" or above would obviously look good in the league tables. Students who then retake in the summer and get lower than a "C" grade would not count towards the league tables. I'm sure Twynham isn't the only school doing this though. My son is also in year 11 and he was told last week by one of his science teachers that their science mocks were the worst ever. Although they don't get their mocks until next week, some of the students, including mine, have been given indications regarding the overall results, so ladylogic is correct when saying the "science are appalling". Yes the students doing vocational subjects do get a lot of help, but not when your child is just an average C/B student. Also having two weeks "study leave" tagged onto the Christmas holidays with no teaching whatsoever during this time was a ridiculous idea. The amount of teaching hours wasted during these two weeks is not something I wanted for my son, and I would be interested to know how the school intends to make these hours up. Extra lessons after school maybe? I won't hold my breath. In my opinion two weeks "study leave" four months before their exams is detrimental to their learning. Yes my son did revise, but much of the time he was extremely bored and at least three whole days throughout the two weeks he wasn't in school at all. When I queried the "study leave" with the school I was advised there would not be provision for structured revision sessions for the students. I also attended the 6th form open evening and felt exactly the same as ladylogic. I was ushered into the hall with other parents, the doors were closed and that was it. No means of escape. Three quarters of an hour later I emerged with a banging headache having heard prospective "top university" students talk, the head teacher "waffle" on about medicine, dentistry, vetinerary, the poor 6th form head not having much of a say because everybody had had enough by then. Not all the prospective 6th form students want to go to "top universities" and I wanted to hear from the "normal" student who gets B's and C's at "A" level who have applied to "normal" universities and who want to do "normal" degrees. So it was a pleasure going to the 6th form open evening at St Peter's and Highcliffe where I was given the choice of listening to the head's speech or not.
Missymiss, yes you're right, the students have done well in their English GCSE's. We must congratulate them all, bearing in mind that when they went back to school in September they were told they would be taking it in November and not the summer as they originally thought. This is the first year they have taken the English iGCSE, and it is a lot easier to get a "C" in this exam than the ordinary GCSE. Maybe I'm being cynical here, but because the students first results in their GCSE's count towards the league tables, and retakes don't, is this the reason behind the iGCSE? Every student getting "C" or above would obviously look good in the league tables. Students who then retake in the summer and get lower than a "C" grade would not count towards the league tables. I'm sure Twynham isn't the only school doing this though. My son is also in year 11 and he was told last week by one of his science teachers that their science mocks were the worst ever. Although they don't get their mocks until next week, some of the students, including mine, have been given indications regarding the overall results, so ladylogic is correct when saying the "science are appalling". Yes the students doing vocational subjects do get a lot of help, but not when your child is just an average C/B student. Also having two weeks "study leave" tagged onto the Christmas holidays with no teaching whatsoever during this time was a ridiculous idea. The amount of teaching hours wasted during these two weeks is not something I wanted for my son, and I would be interested to know how the school intends to make these hours up. Extra lessons after school maybe? I won't hold my breath. In my opinion two weeks "study leave" four months before their exams is detrimental to their learning. Yes my son did revise, but much of the time he was extremely bored and at least three whole days throughout the two weeks he wasn't in school at all. When I queried the "study leave" with the school I was advised there would not be provision for structured revision sessions for the students. I also attended the 6th form open evening and felt exactly the same as ladylogic. I was ushered into the hall with other parents, the doors were closed and that was it. No means of escape. Three quarters of an hour later I emerged with a banging headache having heard prospective "top university" students talk, the head teacher "waffle" on about medicine, dentistry, vetinerary, the poor 6th form head not having much of a say because everybody had had enough by then. Not all the prospective 6th form students want to go to "top universities" and I wanted to hear from the "normal" student who gets B's and C's at "A" level who have applied to "normal" universities and who want to do "normal" degrees. So it was a pleasure going to the 6th form open evening at St Peter's and Highcliffe where I was given the choice of listening to the head's speech or not. Sophie32
  • Score: 1

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