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Fast-improving schools top new Progress 8 rankings

26/01/2017 Joanna

The new school performance league tables have been topped by establishments making rapid improvements, thanks to a recent shake-up of assessment criteria.

With the introduction of the new Progress 8 measurement system, the latest performance tables from the Department for Education have seen many up-and-coming schools assume top spots, rather than the grammar schools that usually emerge as the frontrunners.

Tauheedul Islam Girls' High School in Blackburn was the top-performing school in terms of GCSE results, with its boys' division coming in second place, while London's Harris Academy Battersea and Ark King Solomon Academy came third and fourth. St Andrew's Catholic School in Leatherhead completed the top five.

Previously, the key assessment metric for schools was the percentage of pupils achieving grade C or higher in five GCSE subjects, including English and maths, but Progress 8 compiles students' best eight exam scores - with an extra emphasis on English and maths - and compares final results with expected scores based on previous performance.

The aim of this is to give more recognition to schools that do better than expected, and to discourage educators from focusing on raising pupil performance only to a C, to the detriment of other results.

School standards minister Nick Gibb said: "As well as confirming that the number of young people taking GCSEs in core academic subjects is rising, today's figures show the attainment gap between disadvantaged and all other pupils has now narrowed by seven percent since 2011."

The figures also showed improvement when using the previous measure of attainment, with 63 per cent of state school pupils gaining five A* to C grades - up from 59 per cent in 2015.

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