Introducing ... Secondary School Performance Data and Progress 8

The government has recently published its national secondary school performance data based on Progress 8. This replaced the GCSE leagues tables based on the number of pupils gaining A* to C grades. The Department for Education has published a clear statement alongside the data stating that Progress 8 is not the most appropriate performance measure for University Technical Colleges. (see below).

The measure of our performance and success at Global Academy is technical accomplishment, as well as academic results, and student destinations – what our learners go on and do after leaving us, particularly in the fields of creative and digital media.  The Department for Education also states that student destinations are a more appropriate performance measure of UTCs (University Technical Colleges).


Progress 8 measures students’ progress across eight subjects from the ages of 11 to 16.

There are eight sections of subjects that qualify for performance scores.

  • The first five sections are the English Baccalaureate subjects: English, maths, history or geography, the sciences and a language.
  • The additional three sections relate to other additional approved qualifications covering technical and vocational subjects.


Global Academy, like all UTC schools, are different to traditional secondary schools. We offer a curriculum geared towards employers and industry led vocational training. As a result, the Progress 8 rankings do not reflect on the wider achievements of our students.

There are several reasons for this:

  • Some of the strongest aspects of our educational approach – the media curriculum for example – are not included in Progress 8.
  • We have less time to influence progress. UTCs start educating students part-way through the five-year period covered by Progress 8. The government statistics are based on students who joined us at the age of 14 not 11, as is the case with other traditional secondary schools.
  • The government performance measures suit traditional schools because the scores reward attainment and progress in a small number of academic subjects linked to the English Baccalaureate (English, maths, two sciences, a foreign language and history or geography).
  • Our students do not take the English Baccalaureate. They focus on the core academic subjects that complement the UTC’s technical media specialism such as English, maths and science rather than languages and history  .etc


University Technical Colleges (UTCs) have been set up to train the next generation of talent in the technical skills and knowledge needed for the jobs of tomorrow. The Global Academy delivers a media curriculum that trains young people, aged 14 to 19, in the skills required for a career in the broadcast and digital media industry. These skills enhance their career and university prospects and contribute to the booming creative industries economy.

Our students have gone on to a range of different destinations in the media industry- see our Destinations page for more.


There are two statements which follow, one from the DFE on not being able to compare schools with UTCs by the Performance 8 Measure and another from the Baker Dearing Trust Chief Executive, Charles Parker.

“In UTCs, studio schools and some other academies, pupils typically start in year 10, rather than in year 7 as is the case for most secondary schools. This means that, by the end of year 11, pupils in these schools will have typically attended that school for only 2 years, compared to 5 years for pupils in most secondary schools. As a result, the Progress 8 data for these schools is not directly comparable with the Progress 8 data for other schools. UTCs, studio schools and some FE colleges with KS4 provision provide a specialist technical and professional education. The government’s position is that it is not appropriate to expect the same rates of EBacc entry from these types of provision and that each school should decide on a case by case basis whether its specialist curriculum is compatible with the full EBacc.”
DFE January 2018

The Progress 8 measure is not designed for University Technical Colleges (UTCs), which are different from standard secondary schools. UTCs provide young people, aged 14 to 19, with a high-quality technical education aimed at the skills requirement of their regional economy.

Progress 8 does not work for UTCs because:
• Our students only attend UTCs for the last two of the five years covered by the Progress 8 measure. But the progress, or lack of it, made by students at their previous school during Key Stage 3 is wholly attributed to the UTC.
• Many of the technical subjects on offer at UTCs do not qualify for inclusion in Progress 8.
• Progress 8 rewards attainment and progress in a small number of core academic subjects linked to the English Baccalaureate. Most UTC students focus on a range of technical subjects and English, maths and science. They tend not to study all of the English Baccalaureate subjects.

If all schools were judged by the destinations of their leavers at 18, UTCs would be among the top performing schools in the country. In 2017 97% of students leaving UTCs have stayed in education, begun an apprenticeship or started a job. UTCs are doing more than any other group of schools to produce 18 year olds who are able and willing to start high quality apprenticeships
Charles Parker, Chief Executive, Baker Dearing Trust Jan 2018.

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