The first stage of our application to create the Harington School is a bid to the New Schools Network. If it is accepted they will support our full application to the Department for Education, their support is critical with 84% of free schools accepted onto their programme ultimately having been successful in 2012. A key part of the application process is demonstrating the need and support of parents for the proposed school, we are currently in the process of writing the rationale and I thought it would be useful to share our progress.
I have previously written about:
- the performance of post-16 providers in the 2013 performance tables (summer 2012 results);
- Post 16 – desinations after studying at various providers
- Post 16 – Consultation Responses (March 2012)
- Post-16 – the need for objective data (March 2012)
The data all points to the same conclusions, the most academic post-16 students of Rutland (those achieving 5 grade Bs at GCSE or higher) are currently poorly served by the current provision easily available to them. They have a stark choice; to travel for an hour or more or to pay significant fees to access independent schools; for students from a poor socio-economic background neither of these choices is feasible. The situation is exacerbated by the contrast with 11-16 provision where all provision is at least Good with outcomes reflecting some of the highest performance nationally.
The county of Rutland is the smallest nationally, falling into the sparse rural category and ONS data demonstrating an average income below that of the national average. The small size of the county and it sparse population makes transportation difficult and expensive. Therefore, travel outside of the County can be difficult for all but the most determined. Students whose main need is to access applied or vocational courses are well served by a number of local FE providers based in Stamford and Melton. In order to access academic provision, students need to travel to Leicester, Peterborough or Corby which for many students will involve travel times of over one hour each way.
The number of children projected to live in Rutland within the 15-19 age range is set to grow reaching 3000 by 2015 (from SNPP England 2008). This will place significant place pressure on the only provision currently available in County, CBEC (Casterton Business and Enterprise College colloquially know as Rutland County College).
The current outcomes for Rutland’s most able students is poor, as is demonstrated by the latest Local Area Interactive Tool (LAIT) which can be accessed here: http://www.education.gov.uk/childrenandyoungpeople/strategy/research/lait/a0070240/lait
To best illustrate the need for a provision that better serves Rutland’s most academic students, we have extracted key data from this tool. The Harington School provision we are proposing is designed to enable all students, but in particular those from lower socio-economic backgrounds access to the best universities. This requires students to achieve the AAB grades at A level demanded from these institutions. Rutland is performing very poorly when this benchmark is considered over the three years CBEC has been managing state provision in Rutland as ‘Rutland County College’. The percentage of students achieving AAB in 201 was 9.9 %, in 2012 0% and in 2013 9.1 %, this places the county in the lowest quartile, D, significantly lower than our statistical neighbours (approx. 19%) and nationally (approx. 20%).
When looking at the performance of the most able (those achieving at least three grade As at A level), you can see that there is a similar pattern. In 2011 only 4.2% and in 2012 0% of students achieved this benchmark.
In respect of the performance of students who are eligible for free school meals, the picture is similarly worrying. In 2010 29% of Rutland students in this category achieved a level 3 qualification, in 2011 31% but in 2012 only 21%, again placing the authority in lowest quartile of D. The county is now performing lower than the national, its statistical neighbours and the East Midlands. There is a similar pattern when looking at the inequality gap.
The data from the DfE for the last few years clearly demonstrates a need for an academic provision locally such as the Harington School. We are proposing for it to become a reality, however we need the support of parents in order to demonstrate that there is also a demand for it. If you would like to support the proposal please do complete the form on our website www.haringtonschool.com.