In general exam results at Steiner schools are not considered worthy of discussion by proponents, as they claim to have other priorities.
Dick Baker chairman of the trustees of Wynstones Steiner school wrote to the Stroud News and Journal this week to say their academic results are “pretty impressive.” He mentions 2014 but I assume he means 2013.
He says “comparative school league tables for 2014 show that Wynstones school came third in the county of Gloucestershire for A level results…at GCSE level students achieved 83% grades A* to C, well above the national average.”
These results would indeed be impressive if they were a percentage of the number of children in the year group at the school. In fact the figures refer to the percentage of exam entries. In other words, 83% of the students who entered received these grades.
There is no way of knowing what proportion of children in the year group took exams.
In 2013 there were 26 exam entries at A level. On the last figures available there were 23 students in the 6th form, and one wonders why only 26 A level exam entries were made. One A level is hardly worth spending two years’ studying for.
To look at science subjects, one person took physics and 2 took Biology and Chemistry.
A2 Exam Results June 2013 Series
|Art and Design: Fine Art||4||2||2|
|Art and Design: 3D Art||1||1|
|Total Exam Entries||26||4||11||8||3|
The 83% success rate for GCSEs is out of 99 exam entries. Looking at the roll for 2009 when the school was last inspected by the Schools Inspection Service, there were 250 students up to 16 That equates to roughly 25 children in a class up to 16 .
With 25 in a class, this would mean almost 4 GCSEs each. Not so impressive.
GCSE Results June 2013
|Art & Design||11||2||2||3||3||1|
A parent interested in exam success for their child would not be impressed by Wynstones results especially considering this is a fee-paying school. It would be very surprising if a few of the pupils at this kind of school did not achieve reasonable grades.
Non fee-paying local schools have made 10 or 12 GCSEs the norm for more able students, with extra-curricular activities to boot. They produce rounded students with sporting, musical, artistic and adventurous talents and interests all encouraged.
In a similar vein to Dr House last week Mr Baker writes disparagingly of mainstream education, implying that only Steiner schools “encourage each child’s love of learning and develop the confidence to meet the future and play a part in shaping it”.
This attitude insults the hard work and dedication of mainstream school teachers locally who are highly regarded by parents. There will always be parents who are able and happy to pay for their child to be educated privately, but Mr Baker has failed to provide a convincing argument for sending a child to the Steiner school he supports.
Given the contempt with which Steiner supporters often speak of exam success, and how low on their priorities they say qualifications are to them, it is surprising Mr Baker took the time to highlight this issue in his letter. Since he has decided to do this however, parents will be looking at the results in detail, and may not be so impressed as he hopes.