I am writing to respond to the letter in last Tuesday’s Lynn News regarding exam results in the CWA Academy Trust secondary academies.
The writer puts a particular focus on the recent GCSE and A-level results, suggesting that the results do not merit the level of satisfaction expressed by academy leaders in the media and that we did not or were not able to single out specific individual performances for note.
Media coverage on results day is primarily an opportunity to congratulate our students, celebrate their achievements and acknowledge their progress, and this is the basis for any accompanying comments from academy leaders. We are fortunate to have local media who always take a strong interest in supporting this celebration of the achievements of our young people and I am pleased that print, radio and online coverage of the A-level and GCSE results this year contained numerous examples of individual successes of CWA Academy Trust students.
In terms of the overall achievement at GCSE within our academies, whilst we fully acknowledge that there is still much work to be done to achieve the levels of progress and achievement that we are aiming for, the GCSE results in our secondary academies are improving each year. Using the traditional measure of achievement (grades A* to C in five subjects including English and maths), the performance of students at King Edward VII Academy, contrary to the suggestion by the writer, has improved significantly during the two years it has been part of the trust, with 2016 results 14 per cent higher than in the final year of the predecessor school. At King’s Lynn Academy, there has been a steady improvement in results each year, with a two year comparison showing 2016 A*-C grades 11% higher than 2014 results. Using the government’s new measures of achievement at GCSE level, which is based on attainment across eight subjects and rates of progress from starting points, all three of our academies are showing year-on-year improvements.
When assessing the performance of our academies since joining the trust, whilst exam results are a critical indicator, it is important to look at a wider context. Each of the three predecessor schools - Park High School, Downham Market High School and King Edward VII High School – were judged by Ofsted to be in ‘special measures’ when they joined the trust. Since then, they have all made significant progress, are no longer considered in this Ofsted ‘at risk’ category and there are positive signs of moving towards a good Ofsted judgement in the near future.
The trust also supports several primary academies and attainment levels at both Nelson Academy (Downham) and Eastgate Academy (Lynn) have improved considerably from ‘special measures’ and below the national average to well above national comparators since joining the trust just over two years ago.
The CWA Academy Trust was founded on a desire to support education in West Norfolk through raising standards across all our academies and inspiring and enabling students to achieve their potential. We are committed to continuing the improvements already evident in our schools and, together with the support of a strong staff team, believe we can make a meaningful and valuable contribution to improving education for all young people in the area we serve.
David Pomfret, Chief Executive, CWA Academy Trust