Secondary School League Tables

When looking at a new position in a new school you can find out more information including census data and progress by looking on the government website and Secondary School League Tables.

Secondary School League Tables

Schools are judged by two measures, Progress 8 and Attainment 8.

Secondary School League tables combine GCSE results from the previous year and data from the Department for Education to evaluate how well pupils progress in a school.

Both Progress 8 and Attainment 8 focus on the results of a pupil’s best eight GCSE results including English and Maths.

In schools where pupils failed to progress to the expected level (-0.5 or below in Progress 8), they were getting around half a GCSE grade worse than they could have done, based on their end of primary school results.

GCSEs are now graded 9 to 1 (9 being the top grade). Pupils are considered to have passed the new exams if they achieved a grade 4 or above (equivalent to the old C) but schools are judged on a grade 5.

Secondary School league tables can be seen on the government website searching by location on

How do they get the data on Secondary School League tables?

Data comes from the schools and colleges themselves, local authorities and exam boards.

Schools complete a school census that includes detail such as the number of pupils at the school, the pupils’ characteristics are (e.g. the number eligible for free school meals) and what courses students are studying post-16.

Local authorities list the results from key stage 1 (school years 1 and 2), teacher assessments and test results from key stage 2. Exam boards provided the exam results to the government for the end of key stage 4 (years 10 and 11) and aged 16 to 18 (sixth form and college).

The government also match information about what the student goes on to do after finishing to calculate their destinations.

They then use these records to calculate performance measures for each student and produce a variety of Secondary School League tables.

Key stage 2 performance measurement includes the percentage of pupils achieving the ‘expected standard’ in English reading, English writing and Mathematics at the end of key stage 2

Key stage 4 performance measurement includes Progress 8 (progress across 8 qualifications) and Attainment 8 (attainment across the same 8 qualifications), the percentage of pupils achieving a grade 5 or above in English and maths, the percentage of pupils entering the English Baccalaureate, the percentage of pupils at the school achieving the English Baccalaureate at a grade 5 or above in English and maths, and at a grade C or above in other subjects and the percentage of students staying in education or going into employment after key stage 4.

Key Stage 5 performance measurement includes both academic and high value technical and applied qualifications at level 3. Vocational qualifications only count that lead to employment or further study. It includes progress since key stage 4, attainment (e.g. using the average grades achieved in qualifications) retention measures,(the proportion of students that complete their studies), and destination measures.

Key stage 2 and Key Stage 4 Progress 8 data is not published for independent schools because they don’t have to follow the national curriculum. They also don’t publish attainment for independent schools at Key Stage 5. This is because the information is either not available to calculate these measures or does not apply to the students at independent schools.

Performance for Work-based learning, for example apprenticeships and traineeships and training providers is also not quoted.

Factors that can affect performance in Secondary School League Tables.

When measuring a school’s effectiveness, the context should be considered, as there may be factors that can help explain its performance.

The school type, for example pupils at a special school (for children with special educational needs or disabilities) may have lower prior attainment than those in a mainstream school

The pupils’ characteristics, for example how many are considered disadvantaged (eligible for free school meals in the last 6 years, or have been looked after by their local authority) or who have English as an additional language.

If you are starting at a new school you may also find our Free Downloads useful.  These includes template forms, your rights as a Supply Teacher, posters, quizzes and activities.