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Publishers hand out top marks in schools’ guide

Schools may be out for summer but Trinity Mirror is chalking up another first with its ‘Top of the Class’ look at secondary education in England and Wales.

Tomorrow sees the publication of a comprehensive form guide – naming leading schools right across the number one regional newspaper group’s empire.

The ‘exam’ results will be revealed as a supplement called Real Schools Guide in 10 of the group’s titles, starting this Saturday with the Manchester Evening News, Western Mail, South Wales Echo, Newcastle Chronicle, Huddersfield Examiner, Coventry Telegraph and Birmingham Mail.

The Liverpool Echo, North Wales Daily Post and The Gazette will run their editions next week.
Building on the last year’s successful launch – which won plaudits from Schools Minister David Laws – Trinity’s aim is for the guide “to provide data on what matters most to parents.”

David Ottewell, head of TM’s data unit, said: “We have taken into account feedback from headteachers and parents, by tweaking some of the categories, publishing earlier in the year and including even more data.

“This makes it a unique way of assessing the quality and suitability of a school.”

Trinity says its ranking system gives a “more sophisticated” evaluation of schools than the government’s national league tables which only look at GCSE results.

As well as results, the TM rankings take into account factors like attendance, ratio of teachers to pupils and the health of the school’s finances.

The guide is built using a unique assessment system, applying 24 different measures, compiled from the latest publicly-available data to collate results. The results paint an accurate picture of every aspect of life at schools.

The 2013 inaugural guide won acclaim from the government when  Schools Minister David Laws said: “This is public service journalism in the best tradition of proud local newspapers like yours.”

Altrincham Grammar School for Girls finished in top spot in the Real Schools Guide for state-funded schools in England, followed by Queen Elizabeth’s School in Barnet and Nonsuch High School for Girls in Sutton. Six of the top 10 are all-girls schools, three co-educational and one all-boys.

Gyfun Aberaeron Comprehensive in Ceredigion was the highest ranked school in Wales, ahead of Ysgol Y Moelwyn in Gwynedd and Alun School in Flintshire.