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Due to its unique nature of mainstream immersion, Cabin provision is not cheap. However, the outcomes are impressive. The primary aim of our provision must be to provide forward progression and in this sense the Cabins have been extremely successful. Nonetheless academic performance is also a relevant measure.

When considering the progress of Cabin pupils, it is worth noting that a significant proportion of them do not join a Cabin in the September of Year 7 and so don’t receive Cabin support for the full five years at secondary school. In addition, a number have had a disrupted prior education, where they have struggled to get the support they needed and have struggled to access mainstream education. For extroverts this can result in extreme behaviour, for introverts it can be anxiety and school refusal. All of this means that an important part of the initial Cabin support is based on improving a young person’s trust in education professionals and the wider mainstream environment.

In terms of progress, since 2018 the Comberton Village College Cabin cohort of pupils (46 pupils overall) has an average Progress 8 score of 0.46, with each cohort bar one having a positive score. To put this in context, it means that on average they obtained around 4 grades overall above what would be expected of a neuro-typical pupil of the same ability. Furthermore, they have outperformed the other SEND pupils in four out of the last five years and actually outperformed the whole school cohort in two of those years. By way of comparison the 2022 national Progress 8 figure for SEND pupils was -0.69.

Subject-wise, FFT data allows us to look at Progress 8 for each subject group - English, Maths, EBacc and Open. Cabin performance, comparatively, is strongest in Maths, where the cohort out-performed other pupils by an average of 0.3. Progress in the other areas is lower than the rest of the cohort.

There are a number of reasons why this might be the case – and it might need a subject level analysis to get further clarity. English is an area which is often challenging for people with autism, as interpreting and reading inference from texts can be extremely difficult. For a minority, there would be a further impact if they hadn’t sat English Literature (the English bucket being the higher of the two grades). In the other areas – Ebacc and Open buckets – Cabin pupils may be penalised by not having a full suite of GCSEs (any ‘empty’ slots are measured as 0).

It would take further investigation to establish the extent of this and to decide whether some form of ‘average grade’ might be a better comparative measure of progress. Alongside this, the proportion of Cabin pupils who are entered for a full suite of EBacc subjects (English, Maths, 2+ Sciences, a Language and a Humanity – Geography or History) is much lower than the rest of the school over the past five years – 17.4% vs 60.1%.

Anecdotally, this is likely to be because they are less likely to study a language at GCSE but it would take a subject level analysis to confirm this. Even so, it should be noted that this is still above the national EBacc entry rate for SEN pupils, which was 14.1% (it was 43.4% nationally for non-SEN pupils).

Progress at the Melbourn Village College Cabin is more difficult to analyse accurately as the cohort is much smaller (16 pupils over 2020-2022 – there were no Year 11s in 2019) and include two years without exams plus one (2022) where any Covid lockdown implications would still have an impact. Nonetheless, progress has increased steadily over the past three years and Cabin pupils outperformed other SEN pupils in both 2021 and 2022.

The first St Peter's student to sit GCSE exams will do so this year. He is predicted to get a Level 4 or above in his maths, science and computer science and has a place at the regional college to continue with computer science.

Although we don’t have exam results,  analysis shows that St Peter's Year 9s are making progress in line with their expected grades and are on target after three years to get their predicted grades.