A SCHOOL in Stockton has been named among the best in the country by a new index aiming to paint a fairer picture of success.

The Grangefield Academy has been ranked 20th in the country and second best in the North according to the ‘Fairer Schools Index’, published today by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership.

The placing means it has jumped 244 places from its position in the Department for Education league tables.

The new Index has been created to give a fairer picture of pupil progress than current DfE secondary school league tables by adjusting for major considerations in pupil background.

Drawing on research undertaken at the University of Bristol, it takes into account factors such as whether pupils are eligible for free school meals, long-term deprivation, ethnicity and gender, to give an adjusted score.

Using this adjusted measure, a fifth of schools saw their national league table position change by more than 500 places and 46 per cent of schools judged ‘well below average’ and ‘well below average' by the DfE move up out of these bandings.

Two-thirds of secondary schools teaching long-term disadvantaged pupils in the country are in the North.

There have been concerns that many teaching staff are put off from teaching at schools judged to be low performing according to the government including Ofsted.

As such, analysts at the Northern Powerhouse Partnership believe Ofsted should be required to use the adjusted measures as part of the evidence used during school inspections.

It is anticipated this could help attract and retain the best teachers.

Sarah Mulholland, of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: “The index should be published alongside the current school league tables in order to give a fairer, more accurate picture of school performance by taking into account factors which have a huge impact on education attainment.

“By ignoring these realities, schools with poorer pupils but which are making real progress will nevertheless be ranked lower than they deserve, and vice versa.

"This will fail to hold to account schools which are under-performing in the context of pupil background, and learning will suffer as a result in wealthier areas both in the North through to the Home Counties.”