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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2021 3:25 pm 
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I appreciate that DAO is not fully selective but even taking that into consideration the GCSE results esp those of Maths and English are significantly different from the top North London indies ( NLCS, Habs etc)
Just wondering if anyone knows why this might be and whether it’s a reflection of inferior teaching / preparation for exams…..
At Habs almost 100% get 7-9 for English GCSE
At DAO only 30% get 7-9
Same disparity in maths
Surprising given that the academic places are more competitive at DAO than at these indies based on applicant:place ratio
Is there a culture of extra tuition at the independents or is the teaching better?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2021 3:30 pm 
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No, it really is just a reflection of the the non selective aspect. The equivalent of those 70% DC who got 6 or below do not get into Habs in the first place. If you want to compare these things you should just focus on the achievements of the already high achieving.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2021 3:35 pm 
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There is no way of comparing that as far as I’m aware
Also how does the academic differentiation affect siblings who wouldn’t have gained academic places but entered via sibling policy, though they may be very academic
Does anyone know what the teaching is like at DAO - class sizes, how do they work with the different abilities within classes, ensuring the brightest are stretched as they would in an indy


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2021 3:53 pm 
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Where's the data from? I thought it sounded unlikely so just checked their website which is giving the last externally examined grades (2019) where 49% got 8 or 9 for maths and English. I would have thought it was closer to around 65%/70% for 7-9 (anecdotally only - I'm not privy to other information).
https://damealiceowens.herts.sch.uk/about-us/results/
Unless I'm misreading something?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2021 3:59 pm 
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It was a friend so will find out
But even then 100% vs 70% 7-9 is big disparity
Also 90% vs 50% 8/9 is also large
Just wondering if the non selective element can really justify this big difference or whether it points to teaching differences
Have heard that most kids in indies are fully tutored in addition


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2021 4:31 pm 
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I think 50% 8/9 is pretty impressive for a semi selective school to be honest.
My personal experience has been that the teaching had been superb 95% of the time for my children (backed up by several secondary school teacher family members who are always impressed by how the children describe their lessons). My children (who are now very much at the upper end of the school so some teachers will undoubtedly have changed since their experiences) found computing and product design to be the subjects where they felt they were less well taught. I must add that they also disliked those subjects so their viewpoints may well have been skewed!

Also how does the academic differentiation affect siblings who wouldn’t have gained academic places but entered via sibling policy, though they may be very academic

Once you're in the school no one knows how you got your place. The child who got the best results in one of my dc's years got in on location. So they would treat a highly academic sibling just the same as a highly academic exam entrant or highly academic kid who lives next door.


Does anyone know what the teaching is like at DAO - class sizes, how do they work with the different abilities within classes, ensuring the brightest are stretched as they would in an indy

Class sizes... Seem mostly around 25-28 ish, some a bit smaller. Top maths set at GCSE (there's only one) is around 34 and bottom maths set around 6. They only set for PE in year 7 and for maths and languages from year 8 (in each half of the year so there are two top sets in years 8 and 9 then one in years 10 and 11). They don't set for other subjects.

How they work with different abilities... Compared to any of the comprehensives my friends with at the differences are relatively small. Don't forget that 98% getting 5-9 is vastly different from many schools where it's around 50%. I think they tend to teach up a bit but there's plenty of support for anyone struggling. Although they don't set for English my understanding is that some children are taken out for English classes to try and ensure that they are helped to get their best grade possible. My friends with children at DAO who are a bit less academic all believe that their children have achieved better there than they would in a non selective school (obviously anecdote and opinion only).

How are they stretched as in an Indy... I can't answer that as my children have done significantly better at Owen's than any of their friends at any Indies (including very selective ones) and I think have felt more "stretched" than them too (though never pressured...)


Just wondering if anyone knows why this might be and whether it’s a reflection of inferior teaching / preparation for exams…..

You're simply not comparing like with like. I suspect a progress 8 score for Habs etc would be lower than for DAO.

At Habs almost 100% get 7-9 for English GCSE
At DAO only 30% get 7-9
Same disparity in maths


As I've said I think your data is very far off the mark.

Is there a culture of extra tuition at the independents or is the teaching better?

I suspect neither really. They just have a completely selective intake. Also they mostly do iGCSE and I think it's accepted that those tend to result in higher grades on the whole. My children say they knew a handful of children who were tutored at GCSE level but that without exception it was the children with absurdly pushy parents who would all have achieved highly without the tutoring (this is all being filtered to me by teenagers so I can't guarantee full accuracy). My friends with children at selective Indies mostly didn't have tutors although certainly lots did in the non selective ones.


Hope that helps. Feel free to ask anything else!


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2021 6:33 pm 
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It doesn't take great teaching or heavy tutoring to get a good grade out of an very bright, academic kid who's been specially selected for getting good grades via a tough exam, especially with small class sizes and more individual attention. In fact they could probably let their kids teach themselves and just provide materials and they'd still get good grades. Not much value added there.

If you take a kid that hasn't been selected for being academic and still get 70% them grades 7-9 on their GCSEs, that's pretty good going.

Only 65 out of the 220 who get in every year get in on exam. 69% got 7-9 on GCSE maths and 60% 7-9 in English.
https://damealiceowens.herts.sch.uk/dow ... mber-2018/

Compare that to the nearest good school to DAO, Chancellors, where 25% of them got 7-9 in Maths GCSE and 18% got 7-9 in English GCSE
https://www.chancellors.herts.sch.uk/83 ... -results-1

Or compare it to another partially selective school, like Parmiters where 59% of them got 7-9 in maths and 47% got 7-9 in English https://www.parmiters.herts.sch.uk/_sit ... B7BC14.pdf


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2021 7:33 pm 
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I am stunned by the low level of the Chancellors results.

Parents move house to be in their catchment. DG


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2021 11:09 am 
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I think, on the whole, educational attainment follows a similar pattern in families, hence all the fuss over first in family at university, widening access etc. Given this we might want to take some care when equating a ~32.5% selective intake at DAO with the exam statistics mentioned above and oft repeated. The reality is that probably around 80% of children are selected (academic, music or Islington) or their siblings (including Islington). Only a very small fraction are somewhat like a comprehensive intake, but for the vast majority of them their families were able to buy or rent in the catchment and this sets them apart from the typical comprehensive intake. The very selective nature of the intake is borne out by the 2019 Progress 8 scores for DAO being in the lower half of what I perceive are similar schools (in order: Dr Challoner's High, Watford Girls, Dr Challoner's, DAO, Parmiter's and Watford Boys). Interested parents may want to check for themselves where the DAO Progress 8 score lay in comparison to some other schools it's often compared with, such as QE, HBS and Latymer.

BTW: I know the two Dr Challoner's are not close by but the mention of Chancellor’s statistics initially confused me and why I looked at the data for these school.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2021 7:23 am 
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@nyr : DAO actually has a much more selective cohort than the 65/220 implies???? Therefore results are poor given that they are totally incomparable to Latymer and NWlondon Indies?? A levels seem great. GCSE poor in comparison to the other schools often attempted along side it at 11+ - many of the brightest kids pick DAO over more academic schools therefore results should be better? A teaching issue perhaps???


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