Meadowfield Primary School's response to government's school league tables

The headteacher of Meadowfield Primary School has responded to the Department of Education's school performance tables.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 18th December 2018, 1:35 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th December 2018, 1:38 pm

Helen Stout has written;

"As a school community we were saddened to see our reported ‘position’ within the published league tables. We would like to point out that such league tables are based on one year’s set of data from one year group during that year- namely the year six cohort. We are proud of all of our outcomes and show a three year rising trend in Good Level of Development which is the measure from the end of Reception. We have strong and steadily improving outcomes from the end of key stage one – year two and also the year one phonics results. None of this is seen in the published league tables thus presenting only part of the data for our school and others.

"Our school serves a deprived community and has the highest percentage of disadvantaged children for a main stream setting in the city of Leeds. Many schools narrow the curriculum in Year 6, doing little else than English and Maths to ensure the highest Key Stage 2 SATS results. We refuse to do this and instead, we provide a rich and rewarding curriculum which means we still hold Christmas concerts, have residentials and trips and teach basic skills through a range of foundation subjects including geography, history and Spanish as well as learning a musical instrument. Many of our children do not go further than the local estate on which they live and we strive to enrich their lives with the widest range of experiences.

Meadowfield Primary School on Halton Moore Avenue in Leeds

"At Meadowfield we do not over test our children nor do we start preparing for the SATs in December like some settings. Instead our children get a rounded and full curriculum offer which does include themed weeks such as Health and Well Being, class assemblies and 11 unforgettable experiences before they are 11 years old. The Key Stage 2 test performance tables provide a ‘finishing line’ for a child’s primary education which implies that the starting point is similar. This is not the case. We only ever have one or two children who start school at the expected standard – indeed our Reception children start their time at primary school on average a full year below the expected standard for their age which is a gap that we strive to close. They do, however, make tremendous progress but none of this is reflected as a test score in a published league table.

"Meadowfield was inspected by OFSTED in November 2017. The inspector recognised the challenges we face and our aspirations to overcome these, commenting on how we have ‘nurture as the bedrock of all we do’. The school was rated as a ‘Good’ school in recognition of the efforts we make to enrich the lives of our children and for the support we give to parents including clothes packages, directions to food banks and pastoral care and advice.

"The danger of such league tables is that it gives a brief snapshot of one element of a school’s provision and this does a disservice to schools such as Meadowfield which provide much much more. The 2018 tests did not show what our children can do nor did they demonstrate the standards, skills and ability of these children. To continue using such league tables flies in the face of recent Government and OFSTED guidance. To summarise using a quote from Daniel Koretz ‘two misunderstandings of achievement testing: that scores tell us all we need to know about student achievement and that this information tells us all we need to know about school quality’. This quote is shared with OFSTED inspectors at their training.

"Of course out comes for children are important but we do not believe that our test results this year, and our subsequent place in the performance tables reflect the true nature of our school or the true ability of our children and we ask that this wider view of school performance is shared with your readers."