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Bailiwick’s GCSE Attainment 8 score broadly similar to that of the UK

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THE Bailiwick’s GCSE results last year were very similar to the results of their UK counterparts, despite the island’s relative affluence.

St Sampson's High School students collecting their GCSE results last summer. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 27267113)

A new performance measure called Attainment 8 is now being used locally, and it assesses performance across eight GCSEs, instead of the old five A*-C grades benchmark.

The Bailiwick’s Attainment 8 score in 2019 was 46.4, which was marginally behind the 46.7 figure for England.

It means that, to the extent that comparisons are possible, the total Bailiwick average is in line with the UK average.

The Bailiwick’s score includes the results from the three private colleges, but excludes students at Le Murier.

Similarly, the UK figure includes their fee-paying schools.

If the island’s three private colleges are taken out of the equation, last year’s Guernsey and Alderney students had an Attainment 8 score of 39.2.

That equates to an average grade of 3.92 in each of the subjects counting towards the measure, or the equivalent of a high D grade.

The latest figures come with the caveat that they need to be treated with some caution because the English data includes only 93% of students, and the Bailiwick includes some subjects that are not considered core in the UK.

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Nevertheless, this is the first time that the Bailiwick has been able to compare roughly its GCSE results to the UK results since 2016.

At that time both jurisdictions were using the old five A*-C benchmark, and the results from 2016 revealed that Bailiwick students were performing slightly better than the UK average, but were lagging behind ‘statistical neighbours’ such as Kent, the Cotswolds, and York.

After 2016, the UK stopped using the five A*-C yardstick and switched over to Attainment 8, which focuses on a broader range of eight subjects rather than five.

It also meant that schools were not incentivised to improve their performance by focusing disproportionately on students near the C-D grade borderline.

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Education president Deputy Matt Fallaize said the new performance measures will be similar, but not identical, to those now used in England.

‘The committee committed to phasing in these reporting changes over several years.

‘This is partly due to a number of curriculum differences between Guernsey and England.

‘During this period, the Education Office will immediately start using the best possible approximations for Bailiwick Attainment 8 scores while continuing to publish the five A*-C, including maths and English, measure to allow benchmarking against previous years until the new measures are fully implemented.

‘There are a number of reasons Bailiwick and English data is not currently directly comparable, such as Guernsey including qualifications which no longer count towards English performance measures.

‘However, these issues will diminish over time.’

These figures may add fuel to the fire of this week’s States debate, as they cut against a conclusion that Guernsey outperforms the UK on the GCSE stage, and some politicians believe that the island should aspire higher.

Helen Bowditch

By Helen Bowditch
News reporter

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