Suffolk headteacher calls for more nuance in school rankings

Andy Green, Principal of Copleston High School. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Andy Green, Principal of Copleston High School. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

A Suffolk headteacher has said it is important to look at how schools help pupils improve rather than just the grades pupils get, after only one Suffolk school appeared on a national newspaper's list of the best schools in East Anglia.

Last week The Times published its Parent Power list, ranking the best schools in the country by the proportion of A-level and GCSE grades the school gets above a certain threshold. 

The independent Ipswich School was ranked 6th in the region, but among state schools, the East Anglian regional list was dominated by selective schools in Essex.

In Suffolk, where selective schools are uncommon, not a single state school made it into the top ten. 

Andy Green, principal at Copleston High School in Ipswich, said selective schools always fared better when total attainment was used as a measure of success "as, by their very nature, they are often selecting on academic performance and do not have the same cohorts as non-selective schools".

Instead of purely judging on the grades pupils achieve, Mr Green said it was more constructive to look at Department for Education performance tables which show how much schools help pupils progress.

Mr Green said that many comprehensive schools do "superbly well" at helping students progress.

"If you take a look at student's progress, you find a lot of schools around the country that have done very well that aren't on the list," he added.

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Alistair McCall, editor of Parent Power, said: “At a time when some schools are making hard to substantiate claims of academic prowess based on outcomes from 2021 and 2020, we believe these rankings provide parents with a more reliable guide to academic achievement in schools today.”