A Rutland County Council scrutiny panel is looking at post-16 provision in Rutland, Catmose College and Uppingham Community College were invited to present our views at a recent meeting to help inform the debate. I chose to focus on the current destinations of our students and in particular were last year’s students chose to study post-16.
This follows Rutland County Council’s decision a couple of years ago to allow Casterton Business and Enterprise College to run the County’s only post-16 provision which although branded as Rutland County College is in fact the sixth form of Casterton. It is interesting therefore to see how how this provision is fairing.
The graph below perhaps best illustrates this:
This chart certainly highlights the current difficulties facing our students when making post-16 choices in recent years, with 80% of students making the decision not to study within Rutland in the state sector.
What this chart does not illustrate is which groups of students are choosing which provider to study at, last year of the 19 students who gained 7 A/A* grades, only one student studied within the state sector in Rutland, the other 18 either left the County or chose to study at one of the County’s fee paying schools. Three students chose the new Melton Vale sixth form centre, five King’s school in Peterborough, four Oakham School (who offer a number of Catmose Scholarships), 1 Stamford High School and two students Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth College. The question needs to be asked by Rutland County Council why our most able scholars are leaving the County.
What of the rest of the cohort? A similar picture emerges with students who are quite able, gaining at least 3 A/A* grades also choosing to leave the Rutland state system, this is reflected in the percentage of each providers students who have these grades. A slightly different picture emerges when we look at our students who have additional needs, these tend to choose the local FE providers Brooksby Melton College and New College Stamford, only one student remained within the state system in Rutland.
It is difficult to pin-point the reasons for such significant numbers of students choosing to leave the County or make the difficult decision to find the funds necessary to pay fees. The recent examination league tables for 2011 were published recently by the department for education and is the only data available which allows one to compare providers and are therefore currently perhaps the most objective way to compare providers.
This table is sorted using the average points score per entry, which gives the best indicator of the average grade achieved (A = 270, B = 240, C = 210, D = 180, E = 150). Here we see that the best providers help our students to achieve at least a grade B for each qualification they sit (Oakham, Uppingham, Brooke Weston) to the lowest at Casterton with 201 pnts (C/D). It is also worth noting how many students are in the Upper sixth, ranging from 979 at QE to only 83 at Casterton (Rutland County College) which will lead inevitably in the smallest providers a much more limited curriculum.
Catmose College will begin consulting on offering an alternative to this current provision in the next few months but still believes that the best way forward is a collaborative model which gives all of the County’s College’s an equal stake in the provision to ensure that it provides the best quality education for our students.
The full presentation given to the scrutiny panel can be found here.