Yavneh College enjoyed a remarkable 2018 as the only Jewish school in the top 50 English state schools for progress scores at both GCSE and A-level, according to new government figures.
The Hertfordshire school ranked 13 out of more than 6,300 schools for progress made by pupils from entry to GCSE; and joint 48 for progress made from GCSE to A-level.
A Charedi girl’s school, Menorah High in Barnet, was again the top Jewish school for progress to GCSE at number six in England, one better than last year, according to Department for Education statistics updated from provisional figures three months ago.
A record number of five Jewish schools achieved GCSE progress scores above 1, meaning children achieved at least a grade higher in their exams at 16 than would have been predicted when they entered school.
Another Charedi girls’ school, Beis Yaakov in Salford, was close behind Yavneh at 15 and a third, Yesodey Hatorah in Hackney, at 21; JFS also made the top 50 for progress at GCSE at joint 45.
As well as these five schools, three others were also officially categorised as “well above average” for progress: Hasmonean High in Barnet (joint 83 nationally), King David Liverpool (joint 128) and a fourth Charedi girls’ school, Lubavitch in Hackney (joint 174).
JCoSS in Barnet, King David Manchester and Kantor King Solomon in Redbridge also achieved “above average” scores for GCSE progress.
While the new 9 to 1 GCSE grading system is replacing the old letters, the government confusingly has produced two different pass levels at grade 4 or 5; some universities, for example, will expect a grade 5 pass, at least for English and maths — but for other places, a grade 4, equivalent to a lower C in the old system, will be adequate.
Under the GCSE attainment measure, which takes the best eight GCSEs including English, maths and at least three other traditional academic subjects, a score of around 60 roughly translates to an average B grade.
Some schools have too few pupils to attain a Progress score, while others, in particular Immanuel College, may largely offer IGCESs (international), which the government excludes from its calculations.
A number of Charedi schools do not feature in the tables because they take a smaller suite of GCSEs, but looking at grade 5 passes at English and maths, some have scored well: Beis Chinuch Lebonos Girls in Hackney, for example, achieved 72 per cent; Beis Rochel d’Satmar Girls in Hackney, 64 per cent; and Ateres Girls in Gateshead, 62 per cent.
At A-level, as well as the average grade for the best three A-levels, the DfE also records the percentage of children achieving AAB in three A-levels, including at least two in traditional academic subjects such as maths, history, English, geography, science or languages.
Jewish schools are also doing well in more vocationally oriented courses such as the Applied General Qualification. As well as AGQ, JFS performed especially well in the separate tech level taken by seven students, with an average starred distinction, the highest grade.