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Commentary on 2018 exam results



All results are provisional at this time (October 2018)

Outcome Measure

William Ellis




Boys & Girls




Boys & Girls

Average Attainment 8 Score






English and maths – Pass 9-4 (%)






English and maths – Pass 9-5 (%)






Entered full EBacc (%)






Achieved strong EBacc (%)






EBacc Average Point Score






Progress 8 Score






  • Attainment 8 score is 43.5 points
    Average attainment in the 8 qualifications, which include English, Mathematics, 3 English Baccalaureate qualifications and 3 other additional qualifications. William Ellis Attainment 8 score is just above that for boys in England and boys in Camden.
  • English Baccalaureate average point score is 4.19 points, above the figure for boys and girls in England. The English Baccalaureate is a measure used to provide information about a particular range of qualifications, often called facilitating subjects, as they provide a solid academic core. Unfortunately the measure does not contain Arts subjects which we consider equally valuable (e.g. Art, Music & Drama)
  • Percentage of our eligible students who entered the EBacc is 69%.  This is significantly higher than England average for boys especially (29.7%)
  • Headline figures for basics measure (English and maths) is above national boys for both 5+ and 4+
  • Attainment and progress in maths strong – above national for both 4+ and 5+ compared with all students.

Comments about William Ellis School’s Progress 8 score 2018

The Progress 8 figure for the school is the average of our individual student progress 8 scores. The Progress 8 score for each student is the difference between their Attainment 8 score and the national average Attainment 8 score for the same Key Stage 2 prior attainment.

The Attainment 8 score is made up of four elements:

  1. English (double weighted)
  2. maths (double weighted)
  3. best 3 EBacc grades
  4. 3 other best grades (the “Open” element)

Progress 8 score can be compared across these same four elements, the results of this comparison show:

  • For English element we are below the national average for this element
  • For maths and EBacc elements we are in line with the national average for these elements
  • For the Open element we are significantly below the national average for this element

Whilst we do not want to make excuses and we acknowledge that we need to get a greater number of higher grades in English there are some factors in related to our curriculum and our inclusive approach that does not favour a high Progress 8 score.

Nationally the Progress 8 score for schools ranges from -3.0 to +1.8.

Factors affecting our Progress 8 score:

Progress in English

Our overall progress in English is not good enough.  That is not to say that many boys have not done well in English, they have, but overall, across the cohort we needed to get a greater number of boys making better progress. The progress measure in the English element of Progress 8 contrasts with that in the maths element and the EBacc element.  We have a considerable focus on preparing the boys better for the final examinations in English, for example, one change we’ve made this year to Key Stage 4 English is the introduction of a 2-hour English lesson, so that boys get used to writing solidly for extended periods.

Our curriculum

When Ofsted last inspected the school in 2017 noted our principled curriculum offer to students. Although we have excellent outcomes for many subject areas – maths, science (especially triple science), history, and music for example, our offer is not about getting the highest score for the school.

We have an academically demanding curriculum designed to provide our students with a solid foundation for their future.  We are aspirational for our students and we do not want to limit their future choices by putting in place a limiting Key Stage 4 curriculum.  The Key Stage 4 curriculum has not been designed to maximise our progress 8 score. 

The demands of our curriculum are most easily demonstrated by looking at the proportion of students who studied a course made up of all EBacc subjects (just to confuse things further, this is different to the 3 EBacc subjects required for Attainment 8 and Progress 8). At William Ellis School 69% of students took English Literature and Language, mathematics AND at least two sciences (half took THREE sciences) AND at least one of History or Geography (some taking both) AND at least one modern language (and some were encouraged to take two).


William Ellis


Boys & Girls

Taking full EBacc



Taking at least two sciences



Taking triple science



Taking History or Geography



Taking both History & Geography



Taking a language



Taking more than 1 language




Typically our students take 9 subjects for GCSE, and those taking double languages take 10. 

The Progress 8 calculation assumes all subjects are equally difficult.  For example, it is well established that Modern Languages (French, German, Spanish) are more severely graded than other subjects. So are geography, history, biology, chemistry and physics. (

William Ellis is an inclusive and diverse boys’ school

We are proud of the diversity of our school and our approach to inclusion. Indicators of the diversity found in a school include the range of socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds, home languages religious beliefs and students’ range of prior attainment. On every measure (except gender!) we are a school with a very diverse population.

Progress 8 can only measure the progress that young people make according to their exam performance, it cannot measure many other important aspects of progress, e.g. working with others, communication, problem solving.  We do not pressurise students who are struggling with their academic progress to move to different schools or to be educated at home.  We encourage them to do their best and support them and their families so that they stay in education until the end of Year 11 and can move into further education, training or employment post-16.  Every year we have a small number of students who fit this description.

We are a small school and the impact of even a few students whose academic progress has been poor on our overall school Progress 8 score is significant.  This year we had a small number of students who completed Year 11 but who did not complete their Key Stage 4 examinations.

The fact that we are boys only to 16 also needs to be considered when making Progress 8 comparisons; in England the Progress 8 score for boys is -0.25 whereas for girls it is +0.22.