Hear informed debate: Yorkshire shame over number of schools stuck in bottom set

Six of the 13 lower sixth pupils at the Grammar School, Leeds, who all achieved 10 A* at GCSE last summer.  From left: James Roberts, Oishik Rha, Leonora Cherry, Beth Tapsfield, Isabel Kempner and Katherine Ward.  26 January 2012.  Picture Bruce Rollinson
Six of the 13 lower sixth pupils at the Grammar School, Leeds, who all achieved 10 A* at GCSE last summer. From left: James Roberts, Oishik Rha, Leonora Cherry, Beth Tapsfield, Isabel Kempner and Katherine Ward. 26 January 2012. Picture Bruce Rollinson
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ONE in five of the very worst-performing schools at GCSE in the country is in Yorkshire according to league tables which reveal that 25 secondaries in the region could be at risk after missing Government targets.

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Hear education correspondent John Roberts debate the issues

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LEAGUE TABLES IN FULL

Click the links to download tables for each local authority, from the Department for Education

BARNSLEY

BRADFORD

CALDERDALE

DONCASTER

EAST RIDING

HULL

KIRKLEES

LEEDS

N.E. LINCS

NORTH LINCS

NORTH YORKSHIRE

ROTHERHAM

SHEFFIELD

WAKEFIELD

YORK

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The new figures also reveal three education authorities in the region were ranked in the bottom 10 out of 150 councils across England.

Barnsley, Hull and Bradford remain among the country’s worst performers despite all recording improved pass rates.

Tables published by the Department for Education show how every school in the country performed at last year’s GCSE and A-level exams.

Ministers expect every school to get at least 35 per cent of students to achieve five A* to C grades at GCSE, including English and maths, and ensure pupils keep up with the national average level of progress being made in those two core subjects.

Altogether 26 schools in the region, including one now closed, failed to achieve this in the 2011 GCSEs – down from 40 schools a year earlier.

Sheffield had six schools which missed the target while Bradford, Hull and Leeds each had four.

Additionally, 39 secondary schools in Yorkshire were among England’s 200 worst performers. Five were in the bottom 25 and 10 were in the bottom 50.

The City of Leeds School had the lowest GCSE pass rate in the region and the ninth worst nationally with just over one in five pupils achieving five A* to C grades, including English and maths.

It was followed by Sir Henry Cooper School in Hull where 23 per cent of pupils made the grade and Chaucer Business and Enterprise College and the now-closed Abbeydale Grange, both in Sheffield where a quarter of pupils reached the expected standard.

Next year the Government will impose tougher targets by demanding all schools get 40 per cent of 16-year-olds to achieve five good GCSEs including English and maths.

By 2015 the threshold will be lifted to 50 per cent.

Nevertheless Yorkshire pupils’ successes do appear in the figures. In nine schools in the region, 100 per cent of pupils achieved the Government’s GCSE targets.

Thirteen of the 15 education authorities achieved improved GCSE results compared with 2010 with North East Lincolnshire experiencing no change and the East Riding suffering a massive slump.

Sixteen sixth form colleges and schools around Yorkshire were among the best 200 A-level performers in 2011.

The latest school performance tables reveal for the first time how pupils from deprived backgrounds performed in exams. The statistics reveal that just a third of students from poorer homes achieve five A* to C GCSE grades including English and maths compared with a national average of 58 per cent. The figures also show major discrepancies in how well poorer students perform at different schools.

There are 339 schools nationally with more than 10 disadvantaged pupils, where fewer than 20 per cent achieved five A* to C grade GCSEs including English and maths. In contrast, 21 schools with more than 10 disadvantaged pupils saw more than 80 per cent of those pupils reach that standard.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said the figures exposed a shocking waste of talent.

He added: “Children only have one chance at education. These tables show which schools are letting children down.

“We will not hesitate to tackle under performance in any school, including academies. Heads should be striving to make improvements year-on-year, and we will not let schools coast with mediocre performance.

“We are driving up standards right across the board. We are bringing the best graduates into teaching, developing a world-class curriculum, and restoring order to our classrooms.”

Baccalaureate adds to honours

STUDENTS pictured at The Grammar School at Leeds were among those celebrating their school’s high ranking in a table measuring success in the Government’s priority GCSE subjects.

The private school at Alwoodley was the joint best performer in Yorkshire along with Bradford Grammar in a table showing how many pupils achieved the English Baccalaureate. It is awarded to pupils with at least six good grades including English, maths, two sciences, a modern language and either history or geography.