A Case Study in School Improvement

FORUM - ISSN 0963-8253
Volume 53 Number 3 (2011)

A Case Study in School Improvement
ROGER TITCOMBE pages 429-450
DOI: 10.2304/forum.2011.53.3.429


In October 2010 Perry Beeches school, an 11-16 Local Authority controlled community comprehensive in Birmingham, was widely featured in the national media as the 'most improved school in the UK' - Ever. Some of the ways in which this was achieved are explored. Whether the changes undergone by this school reflect a pattern that has become more deeply rooted in the English education system is investigated. The research is based on data sets relating to Perry Beeches school obtained by means of the Freedom of Information Act and also on 2010 national school improvement data and the subject-by-subject results of improved schools released by the Department for Education. The 2010 examination results are analysed in detail and patterns are revealed that appear to be linked to league table driven factors. The grade distribution in GCSE maths is given special consideration, together with the role and quality of pre-16 vocational courses. The consequences of the special status of the C grade at GCSE are discussed. The recruitment of the 2010 ex-Perry Beeches pupils onto AS/A level courses was obtained and is considered in terms of enabling progression to higher education. The Perry Beeches curriculum and examination results are placed into the national context by cross referencing the DfE's 'most improved' schools data with school performance in the English Baccalaureate, leading to the conclusion that the most improved schools in league table terms appear to be providing the most limited curriculum judged from a number of educational viewpoints including that of facilitating progression to top universities.

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To cite this article
ROGER TITCOMBE (2011) A Case Study in School Improvement, FORUM, 53(3), 429-450. https://doi.org/10.2304/forum.2011.53.3.429

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