Key stage 4

Key stage 4 is the legal term for the two years of school education which incorporate GCSEs in maintained schools. This period is normally known as Year 10 and Year 11, when pupils are aged between 14 and 16 years.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the summer exam series was cancelled in 2021. GCSE grades were then determined by teachers based on the range of evidence available and they are referred to as teacher-assessed grades, or TAGs. This is a different process to that of 2019/20 where pupils awarded either a centre assessment grade, or CAGs (based on what the school or college believed the student would most likely have achieved had exams gone ahead) or their calculated grade using a model developed by Ofqual - whichever was the higher of the two. 

The DfE advise to be cautious when comparing headline measures between years. The changes to the way GCSE grades have been awarded over the last two years (with CAGs and TAGs replacing exams) mean 2020/21 pupil attainment data should not be directly compared to pupil attainment data from previous years for the purposes of measuring year on year changes in pupil performance. The DfE have decided it is not appropriate to publish progress 8 indicator.

Results for the Lancashire-12 area, academic year 2018/19

A new secondary school GCSE accountability system was implemented in 2016. Here are some of the headline accountability measures for schools from the 2018/19 academic year:

  • The average 'Attainment 8' score per pupil for the Lancashire-12 area (46.7) was higher than the England (44.7), North West (45.5), Blackburn with Darwen (46.4) and Blackpool (37.8%) scores.
  • The average 'Progress 8' score per pupil for the Lancashire-12 area (-0.09) was higher than the North West (-0.18) and Blackpool (-0.62) scores. Lancashire-12 pupils and these comparator areas are making below average progress. Blackburn with Darwen (0.13) pupils are making above average progress.
  • Analysis of the results for the districts within the Lancashire-12 area shows that the attainment of pupils at the end of key stage 4 was mainly higher in areas with low levels of deprivation.
  • The average 'Attainment 8' scores of pupils on free school meals (FSM) at the end of key stage 4 in the Lancashire-12 area (34.0) was lower than that of non-FSM pupils (48.6). 
  • The average 'Attainment 8' scores of girls at the end of key stage 4 in the Lancashire-12 area (49.8) was higher than that of boys (43.8).
  • For the Lancashire-12 area, the attainment gap between SEND pupils and non-SEND pupils remains. The average 'Attainment 8' score for SEND pupils (11.4) is significantly lower than non-SEND pupils (49.2) in the Lancashire-12 area - an average score gap of 37.8.

Children and young people dashboard

The children and young people dashboard created as part of the Neighbourhood JSNA, now includes district and ward level data for KS2/ KS4/ Pupil Absence/ Exclusions/ NEET. This resource can be accessed here.

The Department for Education website provides statistics on key stage 4 results for recent years.

Page updated 4 March 2022