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Woodbridge Senior School, Suffolk

Headmaster’s Comment: Removing Weaker Pupils to Boost A Level Grades

5 Sep 17

The recent legal case by parents of children at St Olave’s school has highlighted a long-running scandal in many schools that wish to artificially boost their A Level grades. Raising standards with approximately the same ability of pupils year-on-year is difficult – it requires investment in excellent teaching and learning, tracking of progress and meaningful interventions.

By far the simplest way of appearing to raise standards is to remove the weakest pupils at the end of Year 12, which is something we fundamentally disagree with at Woodbridge School. This happens in many schools who are driven by statistics and where pupils are useful as long as they serve the purposes of these schools, if not then they are discarded. Looking at the statistics only gives part of the information – what dirty tricks have been employed to manipulate those statistics?

Hopefully this court case will prevent other schools from getting rid of pupils when they have become an inconvenience but, in the league table culture in which we live, these schools will find other ways to manipulate results. Pupils and their parents must look carefully before deciding on a school!

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