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Since 2012, the Department for Education has included a similar schools measure in the key stage 4 performance tables. This allows secondary schools to compare their performance data with that of schools with similar intakes in terms of prior attainment. The guidance below is from the Department for Education's website.
This measure is designed to give more information on the context schools are working in and help them identify local schools working in similar circumstances that they can collaborate with and learn from.
All state-funded, mainstream schools, with 2012 Key Stage 4 attainment data published on the Performance Tables, are included in the measure. Though we have excluded any schools whose data is suppressed in the Performance Tables under the small numbers rules.
The methodology used to define similar schools and group them is:
For a more detailed explanation of the similar schools methodology please visit the KS4 Similar Schools Technical Note.
We have taken the groups drawn by the above method and presented them on the Performance Tables website alongside their attainment scores. This allows the user to see how a school has achieved compared to those selected as similar.
A chart is also shown, plotting the attainment of each school within the group on a scale from 0-100%.
We have also included an average grade per pupil on similar school group pages to offer wider context to the measure.
We have chosen to provide every school in the measure with its own unique group of schools because it allows us to ensure that, based upon the attainment estimates, each school is located at the very centre of its group.
This allows a fair chance to demonstrate performance within the group according to actual attainment. There is opportunity to demonstrate movement either upwards or downwards the group ranking. If we were to present static groups of schools, rather than providing unique groups for each school, many schools would be prevented the fair opportunity to demonstrate progress amongst their similar schools as a result of being at the top or bottom of a group from the outset.
To promote opportunities for collaboration we have, where possible, highlighted statistically better performing schools in each group that are located within 75 miles of the focus school. The criteria a school must meet to be highlighted in this way is explained in the KS4 Similar Schools Technical Note.
Published: 19/12/2013, by Ellie Cotgrave
Last Updated: 03/09/2018, by Tom Fellows