MPW Cambridge top 1% of all schools in the country for A level value added

Lucas Choice

Last academic year MPW Cambridge posted a score of 0.64 for the progress students achieved in the sixth form, between taking GCSEs and taking their A levels within the conventional time frame of two years in Sixth Form.

This score places MPW Cambridge 26th out of all 2786 schools in England offering A levels, published by the Department for Education last week.

In other words, we are in the top 1% of all schools in the country for A level value added.

There are also some schools in these figures that had fewer than 30 A level exams sat last year. These schools only have a handful of students. If we take these schools out of the equation, MPW Cambridge is placed 8th nationally for value added.

 A brief guide to what that means

How do you judge if the teaching and learning at a school is outstanding? It is an age-old question, of course, with many different answers. However, one obvious way is to look at the students’ results.  There are several ways to do this too, but here is one obvious ways: look at the grades the student achieved in comparison to the rest of the country.

 But what does this show?

Imagine two schools. One school will allow students into their sixth form only if they have achieved A grades at GCSE level. The other is non-selective, which means that students are generally accepted if they have 5 x GCSEs at A*-C (or 9-5 in the new system). Now imagine two Economics teachers, one at each school, with eight students in each class. In the selective school, all the students in the class have at least five A grades at GCSE. In the nonselective school, the students in the class have a real mixture of GCSE results. Four students have only just met the minimal entry requirements and only one student in the class has at least five A grades at GCSE.  At the end of the year, the class in the selective school achieve six A grades and two B grades. The class in the nonselective school achieve three A grades, two B grades and three C grades.

Which class performed better?

Now we know a little more about the academic history of each class it is apparent that the class from the nonselective school performed better in the sense that this class showed a greater level of improvement given their academic background. This is not to denigrate the results or the teaching of the class from the selective school, but just to highlight that some fantastic teaching and learning must have been taking place in the nonselective school’s class.

But how do I know if a school is good at improving students without knowing the background of all the students?

The Department for Education has systematised this way of judging improvement and it is called ‘value added’. Each school is awarded a ‘progress score’. These scores tell you how much progress students who studied A levels at this school or college made between the end of key stage 4 (GCSEs) and the end of their A level studies, compared to similar students across England.

The scores are calculated by comparing the A level results of students at this school or college with the A level results of students in schools and colleges across England who started with the same results at the end of key stage 4 (GCSEs). A score above zero means students made more progress, on average, than students across England who got similar results at the end of key stage 4.

Well done to all our students – we are so proud!

MPW has a long tradition of not only supporting the high flyers through to A grades and entrance into Oxford and Cambridge as well as specialist courses such as Medicine and Dentistry, but also of helping all students achieve their potential. This is ultimately what education is all about. Our value added results reflect this tradition and we wish our leavers from Summer 2017 well whatever university or career path they are now on. Continue to be the best you can be!