School performance: England v Scotland

I’ve only just crunched the numbers from last year’s exam results in England and Scotland (see graph below). This data is unpublished by the Scottish Government, so you hear it here first!

What it shows is the % of pupils getting 5 GCSEs at grade C & above, including English and Maths – or the Scottish equivalent, which is Standard Grades 1-3, Intermediate 2 A-C and Intermediate 1 A.

The civil servants don’t like it (and ministers certainly don’t), because they say you can’t compare the two systems, but there’s a universally accepted equivalence between the two exam systems that is used for university entrance, by businesses when considering job applications and so on.

This is one of the gold standards used by educationalists measuring school performance, because it includes all pupils and includes the key subjects measuring literacy and numeracy. So efforts to cook the books by encouraging weaker pupils to leave or study easy subjects are largely eliminated.

It makes depressing reading, particularly for Scots. What we’re saying here is that less than half of Scots pupils are capable of getting 5 C’s (or equivalent). In places like Glasgow, the figure is a more like a third. Worse, the situation has not improved, despite a doubling of school funding over the last twelve years or so.

Where has all the money gone? Mostly on costly new buildings and higher teacher salaries.

In England, the situation is almost as bad, but at least they’re getting better (on less money). And on this measure, English schools are now better than Scottish ones. 

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4 Responses to School performance: England v Scotland

  1. Bill Hercus says:

    Well done! I am tired of the constant BBC coverage of this government’s government’s struggle to improve the English NHS and the English Education System.Please
    Scotland appears to be quite complacement with its socialist attitudes which concentrate on equality for all – and for god’s sake don’t upset the unions!!
    It would be nice to see BBC Scotland get off its backside and do some forensic investigation into standards of service in both these areas. Present coverage is about as complacent as these two Scottish Govenment departments!

  2. Fancis Francis says:

    English results boosted by BTECs where teachers do the work – this is often how academies and cheating teachers turn a failing school around. most if not all the work is coursework, and is marked by teachers – students can then improve their work via “suggestions” given by teachers – these count between 2 and 4 GCSEs. often students that would not get an E grade get at least 4C grades but often 4A grades

  3. isnt it possible that the scottish statistics are being dragged down by a selection of the very worst low achieving school in the country? or are these ‘detention centres’ in equal number down in england?

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