Overall, Camden Schools perform well; performance at the end of the Foundation Stage has improved significantly, KS1 results show an improvement in all subjects and gaps have narrowed with the London comparators. When pupils leave primary school, results show that KS2 performance is significantly above London in all subjects. Equally, KS5 / A level performance remains consistently strong. At KS4 / GCSE, however, whilst much is strong, there is more variability. This is our challenge in what I would describe as an improving Camden school system.
I met with all secondary Heads this week and we discussed KS4 performance and, in particular, the main school effectiveness indicators at the end of KS4, Progress 8. (Attainment for KS4 is above National and slightly below the London average); Progress 8 overall for Camden schools is broadly in line with expectation, however, there is still variation when looking at each of the four different elements that make up P8. Heads most certainly recognise this variation and their ambition is high. I attended the vast majority of standards meetings with Heads, their Chairs of Governors and in some cases senior staff and there is most certainly the will, wherewithal and aspiration to reduce the variability that exists; to be amongst the best in London.
In our discussions, we recognised that Camden, by nature, is truly inclusive and does not engage in some of the unsavoury practice that we know exists elsewhere. This includes” off rolling” children, so that they do not impact on results; 5,000 pupils were removed from league tables in 2017 for reasons other than permanent exclusion. Thankfully, this is now a key scrutiny of Ofsted inspection. The importance in breadth and balance of the curriculum is not lost on our schools and this message too is being reinforced by Ofsted. This looks to be reflected in the new framework, where, under the proposed “Quality of Education” judgement, where a well-designed and appropriate curriculum, that matches the needs and aspirations of the pupils, rather than chasing progress 8 measures will be rewarded. The Camden school curriculum is academic by nature and does not chase the Progress 8 score, putting the choices of students first, thus ethically correct.
However, we, in Camden Learning, and the leaders in our schools aspire for better achievement and outcomes for our students. We will be looking at how we can target the gains that can be made to ensure that our progress over time stacks up against the best in London.
Managing Director, Camden Learning