Lewisham secondary schools are the worst ranked in London for progress 8 scores. 

Attainment 8 scores, which measure pupils’ average grade across eight subjects in GCSEs, showed a 1.3 per cent drop from last year, while progress 8 scores, which measure the progress made by pupils from primary school to year 11, went from –0.22 to –0.27.  

Secondaries St Matthew Academy in Blackheath, Sydenham School and Prendergast School were the only three with positive progress 8 scores at +0.58, +0.16 and +0.43 respectively – the other 11 all performed worse than expected.   

Attainment 8 scores were five per cent lower than the London average and three per cent lower than the national average.  

Outcomes for early years and key stage 2 remained above the national average although the “gap is narrowing”.  

After a three per cent drop from last year, 81 per cent of Lewisham’s year 1 children met the standard of phonic decoding, understanding sounds that letters and groups of letters make when spoken to learn to read.  

While 10 per cent of 11-year-olds at key stage 2 reached a higher standard in reading, writing and maths, 67 per cent achieved expected standards, compared to the London average of 14 and 69 per cent respectively. 

The poor results, which councillors at a children and young people select committee described as “very disappointing”, were mainly put down to inadequate assessments by teachers. 

Angela Scattergood, director of education at the council, said the results were provisional and “it’s quite difficult to get a full picture at this point”.  

But it emerged that teachers and headteachers across the borough said their assessments throughout the year did not accurately predict the results.  

Councillor Liz Johnston-Franklin said in some ways the report was “positive but in other senses it’s very disappointing” and asked what will be done to improve progress. 

Cllr Johnston-Franklin said: “One of the concerns I have … is that the assessments the staff are doing sometimes are not accurate.  

“That’s one of the things that we need to tighten up because we’re in an assessment regime and we have to assess. 

“That’s been one of the key things that we’re not doing and we need to hold our hands up to that. 

“We need to support out staff in schools to say let’s get this clear, let’s be honest, because once we’re honest we can move forward.” 

The education director said: “We’ve got to look at what’s going to be different for this year’s year 11s.” 

She said improving the transition from primary school to secondary and setting appropriate targets for pupils through tighter assessment would help. 

Officers have been meeting with headteachers since 2019 to reflect on what went wrong and what went right over the past two years.  

As well as assessment, teaching in maths and science was an issue and it was noted that schools needed to ensure parents and pupils voices are incorporated into individual learning and development.  

Ms Scattergood said: “The schools are being very honest with us about where they think things went wrong.  

“We are in that assessment climate where we assess towards a test and we have to be using that assessment to plan for learning and to plan for a meaningful rich curriculum to support those children who need extra support.” 

Cllr Octavia Holland suggested looking at the schools that did well and encouraging them to “spread their best pratice”.   

Chair of the committee Cllr Luke Sorba said when he saw the results he was at first disappointed. 

But he added: “When I hear that Greenwich and Lambeth had very poor progress 8 scores, that makes me wonder if there’s a wider problem that isn’t just Lewisham’s.” 

He said as well as school to school, borough to borough collaboration might improve outcomes.  

Ms Scattergood confirmed that one of their plans was to work with Camden, which was more successful.