League tables for secondary schools in Halton have been published, but the government says the figures should be viewed ‘with caution’ due to the ongoing legacy of Covid’s impact on education.

The Department for Education (DfE) has released figures for 2022-23 which rated  performance at the end of Key Stage 4, factoring in things such as number of GCSE passes in English and Maths, average scores in the English Baccalaureate qualification, and percentage of pupils remaining in education or entering employment after leaving school.

But the DfE says the figures should not be viewed as a ‘like for like’ comparison with those published in the immediate aftermath of Covid, due in part to exams being scored differently.

The league tables are broken down by council.

In Halton:

  • At the top and performing 'well above average' was Wade Deacon in Widnes.
  • The Heath in Runcorn and Ormiston Chadwick Academy in Widnes were both graded as 'average'.
  • Blessed Carlo Acutis Catholic and Church of England Academy (formerly St Chad's), Sandymoor Ormiston, The Grange and Ormiston Bolingbroke - all in Runcorn - and Saints Peter and Paul in Widnes were all classed as 'well below average'.
  • Other figures were not published.

Guidance released by the government alongside the figures, said: "Performance measures based on qualification results from 2022/23 cannot be directly compared to measures from 2021/22. This is because a different grading approach was used in 2021/22, to take account of the impact of the pandemic."

It said that in 2022/23 there was a return to pre-pandemic standards for GCSEs, AS and A levels, with what the government said was 'protection built in' to the grading process to recognise the disruption that students had faced.

It said there were also other factors contributing to recent performance issues, including what it called ‘uneven impacts of the pandemic on different schools/pupils'.

It added: "Performance data should be considered alongside a range of other information about the school or college, which could include looking at school or college websites, reading Ofsted reports, and speaking to the school or college directly. Conclusions should not be drawn on a single piece of data alone."