College principal hits out at ‘grossly unfair’ inclusion on new league table

Suzanne Duncan, principal of East Durham College in Peterlee.
Suzanne Duncan, principal of East Durham College in Peterlee.

Chiefs at a college have hit out after a new league table based on GCSE results classed it as “under performing”.

East Durham College, which provides allocation for GCSE students, was given the rating on the Department for Education’s Progress 8 table.

But bosses at the Peterlee college have criticised the decision to include the organisation in the table in the first place, arguing it is “grossly unfair”.

Progress 8 is a type of value added measure, with pupils’ results compared to the actual achievements of other pupils with similar prior attainment.

Principal Suzanne Duncan said: “East Durham College were included in the recent school league tables as we offer a small, specialist provision for students aged 14 to 16.

“These 20 or so students have been excluded from mainstream school and therefore are a very different group of ‘school’ pupils, so to compare their results against other mainstream schools is grossly unfair and misrepresentative of the college.

“Ofsted conducted a monitoring visit of our 14-16 provision last year and commended the college on the good progress these students make in their learning and development of social skills.

“We feel passionately that these young people, who are amongst some of the most vulnerable in our local community, should be supported - aiding social cohesion, mobility and improving their life chances.

“To present the performance of East Durham College’s near 4000 learners in this way is extremely misleading to the public and detracts from the excellent achievements of so many of our students.”