Progress 8 data identifies The Charles Dickens School in Broadstairs as highest performing non-selective school in East Kent

The Charles Dickens School Photo Ian Driver

The Charles Dickens School in Broadstairs has been identified as the highest performing non-selective school in East Kent according to the government’s School Performance Tables.

The performance is based on the headline Progress 8 measure. This shows how much progress pupils make from the end of primary school to the end of year 11 based on results in up to 8 qualifications, which include English and maths.

A score above zero means pupils made more progress, on average, than pupils across England who got similar results at the end of key stage 2.

A score below zero means pupils made less progress, on average, than pupils across England who got similar results at the end of key stage 2.

The Charles Dickens School achieved a score of +0.07, higher than the other 18 non-selective schools in Thanet, Canterbury and Swale.

Charles Dickens School headmaster Warren Smith

Warren Smith, CDS headteacher, said: “This result is a further reflection of the hard work of our teachers and pupils, and the strong academic culture we have at CDS. It is very difficult for non-selective schools to achieve a positive P8 score and it underlines our pledge to our school community that if you attend well and do the things that are asked of you, we can almost guarantee that you are going to do very well.”

Data analysis conducted by the education newspaper Schools Week has also looked at the top ten most improved schools in the country on Progress 8, between 2019 and 2023, who have above average proportion of Pupil Premium pupils. Two Thanet schools are in the top 10, with Hartsdown Academy ranked 4th and The Charles Dickens School ranked 8th most improved in the country.

For Hartsdown Academy the average progress 8 score in 2021/22 was  -1.34 but results for the 2022/23 academic year show a significant improvement at -0.4.

For Charles Dickens School Progress 8 score for 2022/23 is 0.07 improved from last year’s 0.13.

Hartsdown Academy ‘most improved secondary school in Kent’ for Progress 8 measures


  1. My son and daughter go to CDS and this is a perfect example of the school misrepresenting data. Only 8% of pupils at CDS did the EBacc last year (EBacc is when a pupil takes 7GCSE’s, including science, maths, and English). That means that less than 8% of pupils would have been eligible for the progress 8 score. So basically what the school has done is off-roll over 90% of the pupils from progress 8 subjects because they weren’t going to meet their expected grades. The fact the school is boasting about this shows how dishonest they are. They’re not interested in helping the kids improve, they’re interested in making it look like the kids have improved, and it’s a real shame that’s where the education system is right now.

    • I’m afraid that’s not correct. Progress 8 score is taken from the best 8 grades taken at GCSE. Maths and English count as double (4 grades), the best 2 grades out of the Sciences, languages, and humanities. Then the next 2 best grades. An average is then taken across these results which is compared to the average national outcomes for students with similar SAT scores at the end of year 6.
      To get the Ebacc, students must take a language, and this is often the reason that high schools have lower Ebacc entries when compared to grammar schools.

      • Yes you are correct but my overarching point remains. If a pupil isn’t going to reach or exceed their expected levels of progress, the CDS removes them from that GCSE to ensure the progress data looks good. So we should be looking at how many GCSEs pupils at that school actually sat. When a huge proportion of the students only sat 2 or 3 exams, the progress 8 data is irrelevant because it only applies to a small minority of pupils and isn’t reflective of the school as a whole.

  2. I went to ‘The Charles Dickens’ school many years ago, and then it gave its pupils every opportunity, now, it seems like only ‘government performing tables’ are good enough. Shame really, as pupils are humans, with different needs.

  3. Scratch beneath the surface of the p8 – it’s an average of four buckets – English, maths, ebaac and open.

    This school has negative p8 scores for English, maths and ebaac. They have incredibly positive in the open.

    Open bucket is often exploited by schools by selecting coursework heavy subjects.

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