How are Bridgend’s schools performing?

A Bridgend Council Scrutiny Committee will be updated this coming Thursday (8th February) on the performance of schools in the county during the 2016-17 academic year (pdf).

By and large, it makes good news with some areas of concern. In summary:

General Picture

  • 18.8% of pupils in Bridgend are eligible for free school meals (FSM) compared to the Welsh average of 18.3%; there’s a strong link between receiving FSM/deprivation and school performance.
  • School standards “continue to improve in line with national rates” with Bridgend performing better than the Welsh average on many indicators.
  • School attendance rates at primary schools (95.2%) and secondary schools (94.4%) are slightly above the Welsh national average. The percentage of persistent absentees (less than 80% attendance) is also lower than the Welsh average in both cases.
  • No schools in Bridgend inspected during 2016-17 received an “unsatisfactory” score from Estyn; the only school in Bridgend placed in special measures (Coleg y Dderwen) came out of measures sooner than expected.

Foundation Phase (Reception – Year 2)

  • Pupils are achieving expected outcomes at rates (89.1%) better than the Welsh average (87.3%) and performing above the national average in literacy and numeracy.
  • The rate of improvement is better than the national average.
  • Bridgend now places 7th of 22 councils on Foundation Phase performance, but there are concerns over boys’ performances.

Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6)

  • The number of pupils meeting expected standards in English (and/or Welsh), maths and science are in line with the national average and has improved consistently over the last 3 years.
  • The percentage of pupils doing better than expected (Level 5+) in England and Welsh is higher than the Welsh average, while performance in maths and science are broadly in line or just below the rest of Wales.
  • The performances in Bridgend across all subjects are the highest achieved since 2014. However, Bridgend still ranks 15th of 22 in 2017 – below expectations.

Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)

  • Bridgend’s performance is above the national average in English, maths and science both for those meeting the expected level (Level 5) and exceeding it; the only exception is Welsh.
  • The rate of improvement is above the national average.
  • It’s the first time Bridgend has been above the national average for those achieving better than expected outcomes (Level 6+), placing 6th of 22.

Key Stage 4 (GCSE)

  • Due to changes in how scores are calculated, Bridgend’s performance isn’t directly comparable to previous years.
  • 53% of pupils achieved 5 A*-C grades including English (or Welsh) and maths in 2017 compared to 61.7% in 2016 – the decline is in line with the rest of Wales due to the aforementioned changes.
  • Performances in science and Welsh at GCSE remain above the Welsh average, but performance in English and maths are below the national average.
  • Less than 30% (29.4%) of pupils eligible for free school meals achieved 5 A*-C grades compared to 58.5% of those who don’t receive free school meals.
  • Only 17% of pupils with special educational needs (SEN) achieved 5 A*-Cs; despite this, it’s considered a “good” performance and is above national averages.
  • Bridgend places 13th of 22 local authorities – dropping from 9th place in 2016.

Post-16 (A-Level)

  • There was a slight fall in the percentage of pupils achieving an A*-C grade, mainly due to a drop in girls performances at three sixth forms (which are now undertaking a review).
  • Bridgend’s performance is broadly in line with the Welsh average, though girls are more likely than boys to achieve 3 A*-As or 3 A*-Cs.
  • Bridgend is ranked 12th of 22 councils, dropping one place from 11th in 2016.
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