Progress 8 is the BEST thing to happen to Art GCSE in decades!

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From 2016 the English education system will move to a new performance measure called Progress 8.
Progress 8 is a value added measure of the progress a pupil makes from the end of primary school to the end of secondary school. Pupils’ results are compared to those of other pupils with the same prior attainment.

What this means is that the school will need to take account of results in all three subject sections NOT just the core and the Ebacc subjects. Nor can schools now ignore attainment in these subjects or discount them because they form a large part of the pupils’ Progress 8 score and therefore the schools’. What this means for Art teachers is that for the first time, Art results at GCSE are a vital part of a schools’ performance data!

Now obviously, competition for options in this block will be tough, not least of all because the school can also offer extra science, Ebacc, vocational, Technology etc here, but I would argue that the school will need to deliver subjects whose attainment is traditionally high (Art, Drama etc) because good results in block 3 can offset dropped grades elsewhere (such as Languages).

What this means is that Art, far from being ignored, or shoved off the timetable will enjoy greater status than ever before. If SLTs remove students from Art to do catch up elsewhere they are seriously risking Art grades suffering and therefore their Progress 8 score, which is the Headline score for the school.

Of course, one of the schools’ data measures will be the Ebacc and another will be the amount of students passing English and Maths. But even if the school insists students take extra Ebacc subjects in block 3 (to get their Ebacc results up) they will be shooting themselves in the foot by disallowing high attaining subjects such as Art, because it will act as insurance against exam slip ups. And remember, its the headline Progress 8 score that matters most.

So it’s time to take stock and make sure ALL Senior Leaders know this vital information because many of them don’t! Let everyone know the vital role Art will play in Progress 8.


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