Rich praise for progress of “poorer” pupils at Harris Academy in Chafford Hundred

Harris Academy Chafford Hundred

HARRIS Academy in Chafford Hundred has been singled out for praise for the progress of its poorest pupils in exams.

The poorest pupils have made more progress than their better-off peers at just three per cent of secondary schools, new analysis shows.

About 100 schools posted a positive Progress 8 score for their pupils on free school meals that beat the positive score of more affluent pupils – and nearly a third are selective.

Researchers at Impetus-PEF, an education consultancy, said “very few schools” are ensuring their poorest pupils make enough progress to catch up with their peers.

Andy Ratcliffe, its chief executive, said the school system should want to “bottle up” the work of these schools and emulate it, pointing to “brilliant leadership” and “constant focus on success”.

But experts in value-added measures insist that Progress 8 is fundamentally flawed, and said the data could favour grammars.

Just 102 schools out of the 3,526 secondary schools for which data was available posted a Progress 8 score that was better for free school meal pupils than non-free school meal pupils, and in which both groups also scored above 0.

The pupils with top scores were those with rich relationships with staff

A spokesperson for Harris Academy Chafford Hundred, which posted a 0.99 score for free school meal pupils and 0.8 for non-free school meal pupils, said the higher score was down to the school’s intervention strategies “tending to benefit” the poorest pupils most.

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