5 April 2013

Life is too short to stuff a mushroom and it’s too short to discuss all nationalist and other parties’ tosh but let me take a moment with one nonsense.

Once more I think an absurd comparison is suggested between schools in Cornwall and in the City of London.

I refer you back to the blog post MK, schools, and the City of London in which I dealt comprehensively with that comparison when it was made two years ago.

Unconvincing comparisons
There I said that you cannot meaningfully compare such a disparate pair, Cornwall education authority with 280 state schools and the City of London authority with only one, a primary; you cannot convincingly compare the average data of around 65 000 Cornwall state pupils with the data of an individual City of London state school with 200 or so pupils.

I also raised the important Aristotle principle that we should not treat unequals equally, the comparative deprivation data, and the ambiguity of value.

Stripping the nationalist altar still needed

I think MK should recast its arguments as I suggested in the post Stripping the nationalist altar.

In these Notes I put some updated some figures of comparison, along with the sources so that you may explore them yourself.

Child poverty
The Children in poverty organisation gives estimates for children in poverty for 2012: Cornwall 17 percent, in the City of London Portsoken ward 37 percent. However, note that Cornwall has very many more children than the City of London and there is a range across Cornwall from 6 percent in Feock to 36 percent in Falmouth Penwerris: such a range makes it problematic talking about Cornwall as one entity in this context. The City of London primary school is in Portsoken ward and there is a profile of the ward (based on the 2001 census) here.

Numbers of schools and pupils
The source of the data is in the pupil premium files here.

Pupils in state schools at 31 August 2011, full time equivalent: Cornwall 65 258, City of London 209

State schools: Cornwall 280 (236 primary), City of London 1

Pupil premium
There are in education data two approximate measures of deprivation and need in children and families: the pupil premium and free school meals.

The pupil premium data is is in the National, local authority, parliamentary constituencies – final allocations file gives pupil premium data for Cornwall as a whole and the City of London. The individual school data is at the Families tab on the School tables – final allocations file there; the range across schools suggests that the county-as-a-whole data is problematic.

The premium has three components: deprivation, by far the largest; service children; and looked-after children.

The percentage of pupils eligible for the deprivation pupil premium 2012-13: Cornwall 22.3 percent, City of London 31.1. Including the service children and looked after children components of the pupil premium: Cornwall 25.7, City of London 33.5. Note that the City of London has far fewer pupils than Cornwall.

Free school meals
Percentage of pupils eligible for and claiming free school meals 2012-13: Cornwall primary 14.1, Cornwall secondary 11.6, City of London primary 17.7
The data is in the file DfE: schools, pupils, and their characteristics, January 2012.

Financial data
The file on expenditure at school level 2009-10 (linked in the earlier post MK, schools, and the City of London) appears to be no longer available on the education department website. I am looking for its new location. Some data about individual schools can be found here in the excel file Table of allocations of dedicated schools grant (DSG) but you have to put in the name of the school.

Life is too short… Shirley CONRAN Superwoman 1975