Rossington top of the form as league tables reveal Doncaster’s school success stories

It may not have topped the table for GCSEs - but Rossington All Saints Academy has been ranked as the best school in Doncaster.

By David Kessen
Tuesday, 12 February, 2019, 07:08
Associate principal Anna Rooney pictured with pupils Connor Fotherby, 15 and Kelsey Callaway, 12, outside De Warenne Academy (ONLY USE ANNA AS A HEADSHOT)

It has been listed as top using the value added measure called Progress Eight, which compares pupils’ performance when they started secondary school with that upon leaving.

Generally speaking, a Progress Eight score of above zero shows students are making better than expected progress, while a negative mark means the opposite.

This year saw Rossington All Saints rated highest again – one of just three schools to be rated as ‘above average’ in the annual league tables.

Doncaster’s best performing schools, using the Progress Eight rating, are Rossington All Saints Academy, which scored 0.39, Outwood Academy Danum with 0.33 and Hungerhill School, with 0.28.

At Rossington, 49 per cent of pupils passed England and maths GCSEs with a grade of five or better. Highest performer on that measure was The Hayfield: School, in Auckley, with 55 per cent.

But pupils at most of Doncaster’s secondary schools are failing to make the expected progress, the latest league tables show.

Just four out of the 17 secondaries in Doncaster rated achieved a positive score in the Progress Eight measure.

Overall, Doncaster averaged below average for value added, with a score of -0.22, compared to -0.02 nationally. The borough’s average for pupils passing GCSE maths at grade five or better was 37.40 per cent, compared with 43.3 per cent nationally.

Four were deemed to be underperforming, after receiving a Progress Eight rating of -0.5 or lower.

Education bosses say work is being done to bring about improvements.

Damian Allen, Director of People at Doncaster Council, said: “From the latest DfE published school data, over half of our schools are rated average or above for 'value added' under the new Progress Eight measure.

“We continue to work closely with our secondary academies around the specific challenges they are facing in raising attainment and progress. The DfE sponsored Doncaster Opportunity Area Programme aims to improve the quality of teaching and learning in Doncaster secondary schools and commits funding and resource to support schools to achieve their full potential.”

Bosses at de Warenne Academy, in Conisbrough, one of four schools scoring above zero, were pleased with the school’s performance, which was above the national average.

The national school performance tables also ranked the school as 12 out of 55 similar schools nationally in terms of their socio-economic background.

Principal Anna Rooney said “This is a real coup for the children and families of Conisbrough and Denaby Main. Just three years ago the academy ranked 46 out of 55, and performance was unacceptably poor.

“The academy has improved steadily over the past three years from performing significantly below the national average to a position which is now above that standard. This is testament to the hard work of our students, supported by committed staff and parents.”

Both the bottom rated schools were previously run by the Wakefield Academies Trust, and have recently been relaunched with new headteachers and new names as their trusts look to turn them around.

The bottom ranking school, Balby Carr Academy, has now been renamed Astrea Academy Woodfield and is now run by Astrea Academies Trust. The new headteacher, Jo Cater, was in place in September.

She recently told the Free Press: “There is a plethora of things that have not been done right in the past. We need to unpick those things and create a solid foundation going forward.

“Things are already starting to change. When everything comes together we will take off and fly.”

Mexborough School was recently taken over by Delta Academies Trust, the same trust which runs top-performing Rossington All Saints, and has been renamed as The Laurel Academy. Richard Wood recently appointed as the new principal.

Jamie McMahon, the trust’s regional director of Post 16 education,recently told the Free Press that Delta had been working closely with the school for several months before the deal to take over its running was completed early in November.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

He said: “We have been working with the school since the previous trust, WCAT, pulled out, offering support for learning and behaviour. The transition to our trust has been smooth.

“The plans for Mexborough are to get the teaching and learning right, and to raise aspirations across the community.

“Serlby Park and Rossington are examples of us doing this at other schools, and their Ofsted ratings have shown that.

“We want to replicate that at Mexborough. Our trust gives a huge amount of school to school support and Mexborough is joining a family of schools.”

How the Doncaster secondary Schools performed

Rossington: All Saints Academy Value added:  Above average  0.39; Grade 5 or over for English and maths GCSE; 49%

Outwood: Academy Danum Above average 0.33; 48%

Hungerhill: School Above average 0.28; 50%

De Warenne: Academy  Average 0.07; 28%

Campsmount: Academy Average 0; 39%

The Hayfield: School Average -0.04; 55%

Ash Hill Academy: Average -0.16; 37%

Outwood Academy: Adwick Average -0.19; 48%

Armthorpe Academy Average: -0.19; 35%

The McAuley Catholic High School: Below average -0.18; 40%

Hall Cross Academy: Below average; -0.18; 31%

Trinity Academy:  Below average; -0.25; 32%

Ridgewood School: Below average; -0.31; 37%

Don Valley Academy: Below average; -0.32; 42%

Sir Thomas Wharton Academy: Well below average;  -0.71; 31%

Mexborough Academy: Well below average; -0.81; 29%

Balby Carr Community: Academy Well below average; -1.3; 11%