Lewisham’s secondary schools are seriously underperforming in comparison to the national state-funded school average.
Data, published by the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA), compares averages based on schools’ Progress 8 scores.
A Progress 8 score is usually between -1 and +1. A score of +1 means that pupils in that school achieve one grade higher in each qualification than other similar pupils nationally. A score of -1 means they achieve one grade lower.
The figures show that Lewisham’s 24 secondary schools and colleges are averaging -0.22, compared to the national average of -0.2.
Primary schools in the area perform better; the same data shows that Lewisham’s 86 primary schools rank above the national state-funded school average.
The borough’s secondary schools have been underachieving for years; four in particular have been named amongst 365 education centres across the UK that are failing to meet the government’s minimum standards.
They are: Sedgehill School, Forest Hill School, Prendergast Ladywell School and Addey and Stanhope School.
Damian Egan, Lewisham’s Mayor, was questioned about the ongoing issue at a recent council meeting.
Egan said: “Work has begun to look at improving secondary education in the borough a couple of years ago. As part of this improvement, the Lewisham Learning scheme was launched, a partnership between the schools and the council which aims to look at sharing good practice and how schools aim to work with each other to improve resources.”
He continued: “A strong political focus has been placed on secondary school achievements and its performance to ensure that young people in Lewisham do not perform less well than children from anywhere else.”
The Lewisham Learning scheme was set up in October 2017 to address these issues in schools.
The three main goals of the scheme included rapidly increasing the number of good and outstanding secondary schools in the borough, improving the proportion of good and outstanding teaching and improving the attainment of all pupils in each school.
A Lewisham Council spokesperson said: “We have not shied away from recognising that improvements are needed in the attainment and progress in our secondary schools. Since we set up Lewisham Secondary Challenge in 2016 with the declared mission of improving the provision for all our pupils across all our schools, we have seen an improvement in the Ofsted gradings of our secondary schools, improved school attendance and improvements in our GCSE attainment.
“All our secondary schools are part of Lewisham Learning, a partnership that allows them to work together to support improvement. Through this partnership, Lewisham Secondary Challenge provides training and support for teachers and school leaders to help each school achieve its objectives and improve outcomes for all Lewisham pupils.”
The data also shows that just three of Lewisham’s secondary schools are performing at “above average” level.
These schools are: St Matthew Academy, Prendergast School and Sydenham School.
Five are shown to be performing at “average” level: Prendergast Vale School, Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham College, Trinity Church of England School, Addey and Stanhope School and Bonus Pastor Catholic College.
Egan concluded: “There’s no reason why children from Lewisham shouldn’t perform as well as anyone else.”