SIX secondary schools in East Lancs could face greater scrutiny from Ofsted following the latest government performance statistics.

On the whole, the new data shows Blackburn with Darwen secondary schools perform slightly above the national average at helping pupils progress from 11 to 16.

The Department for Education published its latest performance statistics for pupils at the end of key stage four, when GCSEs are taken. Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School has the best Progress 8 score in the borough, followed by Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School. A school’s Progress 8 score is usually between -1 and +1.

A score of +1 means that pupils in that school achieve one grade higher in each qualification than other similar pupils nationally. A score of -1 means they achieve one grade lower.

Of local authority-run schools in Blackburn with Darwen, St Bede’s Roman Catholic High School and Blackburn Central High School are deemed average at -0.06 and -0.08 but Our Lady and St John Catholic College in Shadsworth is ‘well below average’ with a score of -0.52. Schools with a score worse then -0.5 may come under increased scrutiny from Ofsted.

Blackburn with Darwen Council executive member for children, young people and education, Cllr Maureen Bateson, said: “We want all our young people to have the benefit of a quality education to make sure they receive the very best life chances, regardless of the status of their school and whether that school is maintained by the local authority or is independent.

“We have a School Improvement Board, which is independently chaired and represents all of our education leaders and the local authority, that is responsible for driving up educational attainment and school performance across the borough.

“The School Improvement Board and the council is working in partnership with all schools where performance is a concern to make sure that we have plans in place to improve school performance and the educational attainment of our children and young people.”

Darwen Aldridge Community Academy and Darwen Vale High School are also performing below -0.5 at -0.54 and -0.91 respectively.

In wider East Lancs, St Augustine's Roman Catholic High School in Billington and Clitheroe Royal Grammar are the best performing schools but overall, the county’s schools are performing slightly below average.

Rhyddings Business and Enterprise School in Oswaldtwistle, Hameldon Community College in Burnley, and Fearns Community Sports College in Bacup all have 'well below average' Progress 8 scores.

Rhyddings had a rating of -0.51, Hameldon was rated -1.33, and Fearns had a -1.52 rating. 

Meanwhile, Hyndburn Academy (formerly Norden High) has seen a significant improvement.

In summer 2017, Norden’s Progress 8 score was -0.93, one of the lowest in the country. Based on summer 2018 results, the Hyndburn Academy’s Progress 8 score has increased to -0.11, bringing it in line with national average.

Andy O’Brien, executive principal of the Hyndburn Academy and Accrington Academy, said: “Over the past 18 months, the Hyndburn Academy has undergone significant improvements and these league tables are testament to that.

“From its predecessor being one of the lowest performing schools in the country for Progress 8, to the academy now becoming one of the most improved schools in Lancashire, meeting the national average in just one year, is a fantastic achievement.”

Nicola Palmer, head of Hyndburn Academy, said: “I am delighted that last year’s results have placed us in an excellent position to be able to further strengthen our school over the coming years. This is a really exciting time for the school.”

its students, staff and the local community.”

According to new national research, the secondary school league tables punish schools with a high proportion of disadvantaged students.

A DfE spokesman said: “We publish a wide range of performance data - including Progress 8 scores and what pupils go on to do after school or college - to help parents decide on a school for their children and for schools to measure their performance. We do not put schools into league tables.“Our school accountability measures reflect our high expectations for all pupils, whatever their background.”

“Progress 8 takes prior attainment into account and rewards schools for the progress made by all their pupils, not just those at particular grade thresholds.”

Researchers argue the system of ranking the institutions also results in the wrong schools being rewarded.

According to data from the University of Bristol, league tables fail to take pupil background into account.

It reveals that once factors such as pupil ethnicity, deprivation and special educational needs are taken into account, a fifth of schools saw their national league table position change by over 500 places.

The research further indicates that 40 per cent of schools currently judged to be underperforming would no longer fall into this category.