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The Real Schools Guide: See how your secondary school rates

Search for the latest in-depth data for your school

The Real Schools Guide 2017 is here

Today we launch the 2017 Real Schools Guide - the fifth edition of the most comprehensive guide ever to state-funded secondaries.

And this year the top local school in our guide is the selective Heckmondwike Grammar, with Shelley College in second place.

Heckmondwike Grammar School - the 119-year-old selective with just 180 pupils

Heckmondwike Grammar School(Image: Google)

Pupils need to take an entrance exam to get into Heckmondwike Grammar, which is taken in the autumn term preceding the pupil starting school the following September.

Around 800 pupils take the exam but there are only 180 places on offer, so many end up disappointed.

Around three-quarters of the pupils travel from outside the school’s catchment area.

Its history can be traced back to 1894 when the Building Committee of the Heckmondwike School Board decided to build a large mixed school to accommodate over 900 children.

Happy GCSE students at Heckmondwike Grammar School in 2016

It cost around £17,000 to build and the school opened on the Monday morning of January 17, 1898, when 907 pupils were led into the main hall from the playground by its first headmaster Mr R S Cahill who was to remain in the role for 26 years.

The school has four houses – Bronte, Clarke, Houldsworth and Priestley. And it is especially strong at charity fundraising.

Last term alone pupils raised £8,455 for local, national and international charities.

Shelley College - the comprehensive with a star studded alumni

Shelley College(Image: Huddersfield Examiner)

Shelley College gives pupils every chance to broaden their horizons. This year alone they have been on 76 trips or excursions including visits to Amsterdam, Berlin and Wimbledon.

They are also encouraged to do the Duke of Edinburgh Award and this year Shelley College gained more bronze and silver awards than any other school or organisation in Kirklees, with 58 students achieving bronze and 16 silver.

Jodie Whittaker is the first woman to play Doctor Who(Image: BBC)

Shelley has a phenomenal background when it comes to drama with two of its former pupils, Lena Headey and Jodie Whittaker, now achieving both national and international stardom.

Lena Headey as character Cersei Lannister in the hit TV series 'Game of Thrones'.

Lena has a leading role in Game Of Thrones while Jodie has just been revealed as the next Dr Who.

Search for your secondary school

We've analysed all the local government data to bring you the rundown on your local secondary schools.

You can see how each secondary school compares against other schools in your area and across the UK.

Data is available for comparison on everything from pupils' attainment and the quality of the teaching to when the school was lasted inspected and teacher to pupil ratio.

How the Real Schools Guide works

Our unique rating system uses 50 different measures, put together from the latest publicly-available data and broken into four categories – attainment, progress, attendance, and outcomes.

National league tables may only look at overall GCSE results, as well as newer measures such as Attainment 8 and Progress 8, which may mean schools that help all pupils make progress, but only get slightly better than average exam scores overall, may be overlooked.

Our system aims to move beyond more limited measurements and give parents a better idea of which schools will help their child prosper, no matter what their background may be.

Pupils' progress, attendance, and future success

The guide factors in other things as well - like whether all pupils are making progress, what attendance is like, the ratio of teachers to pupils, and whether students go on to further education or jobs.

Attainment

This is worth 30% of the total score. It is based on pupils’ average Attainment 8 score, including what the average scores for different groups of pupils were, as well as the proportions gaining the English Baccalaureate and those getting A* to C grades in GCSE subjects. We measure whether a school is getting top marks, and if it is managing to improve year-on-year.

Progress

This is worth 40% of the score. It is based on how well all as well as different types of pupil do on the Progress 8 measure, as well as whether the school is adding value when it comes to subjects such as science and languages. It also looks at things that may contribute to teaching outcomes, such as how big the pupil/teacher ratio is in comparison to the national average, as well as teachers’ average salaries.

Attendance

The attendance score is based on absence rates, looking at both overall levels of sessions missed as well as unauthorised and persistent absence at the school. It is worth 15 per cent of the total score.

Outcomes

Outcomes is also worth 15 per cent, and is based on what proportion of pupils continue with education after Year 11 or go on to training and work, as well as what proportion drop out of employment, education or training - in comparison to the national average.

The nitty gritty

Different measures are given weightings based on how important they are likely to be to parents – so the pupils' average Attainment 8 and Progress 8 scores are worth a maximum of eight points, while the difference between average teacher salary and national average is worth just 0.75.

Scores are worked out by giving the best performing school in each category top marks, with all other schools receiving points adjusted according to their comparative performance. Schools where performance is below average can receive negative points up to a maximum of –0.5.

Scores for each measure are then added together to get a total score for each category, and all the scores are added together to get a total.

This total is adjusted to ensure no school can receive a negative total.

Stars are allocated by rating all the scores in order for each indicator and then splitting schools into five equally-sized groups.

Not all schools have data for every measure. Some schools are so tiny that the data has been suppressed to avoid identifying pupils.

Schools are not penalised for not having data, and only schools with below-average performance can receive negative points. However, not having data means a school cannot score extra points for that measure, potentially putting them behind schools that do not have missing data.

Schools that had no Year 11 pupils taking GCSEs in 2016 are not rated.

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