THOUSANDS of pupils attend Yorkshire schools which have failed to hit Government targets for ensuring students leave with good GCSEs, according to new league tables.
Hear education correspondent John Roberts debate the issues
LEAGUE TABLES IN FULL
Click the links to download tables for each local authority, from the Department for Education
The figures show that 29 state schools across the region did not achieve the minimum standard expected by Ministers – getting 40 per cent of pupils to achieve at least five A* to C GCSEs including English and maths.
Yorkshire also has two council areas – Barnsley and Hull – in the bottom five out of 150 education authorities in the country in a GCSE table.
Head teachers have claimed, however, that the new figures are “not fit for purpose” because they include thousands of GCSE English marks which are being challenged in court following last year’s grading row.
Schools below the benchmark are at risk of intervention.
But Christopher Walsh, the head teacher of Boston Spa School – which is above the floor target – said it would be disgraceful if any school was closed or forced to become an academy based on results which he said were flawed because of the way exam boards moved the grade boundaries between January and June.
Campaigners, including 11 councils from Yorkshire, took legal action against exam boards AQA and EdExcel and regulator Ofqual after claiming the move meant 10,000 pupils had unfairly missed out on C grades.
Mr Walsh told the Yorkshire Post schools were facing a double injustice having seen pupils denied C grades last year and now getting a league table ranking based on results being challenged in court.
The tables show there were 21 Yorkshire schools in the worst 200 in the country based on GCSE success with nine schools where less than a third of pupils achieved five good grades including English and maths. The data published yesterday also reveals there were two councils in the region where less than half of pupils achieved five good GCSEs including English and maths.
Barnsley was ranked third bottom nationally with 45.8 per cent of pupils making the grade while Hull had the country’s fifth lowest results with 47.8 per cent of pupils achieving the standard.
Education bosses in Hull, however, praised the year-on-year progress which has been made since 2008.
A council spokeswoman said the gap between the city and the national average has closed by five percentage points since 2008. Seven out of 14 schools achieved their best ever results in 2012.
Coun Helene O’Mullane, portfolio holder for Children’s Services, added: “These results show that we are continuing to move in the right direction through year-on-year improvement.”
Nationally around one in four schools and colleges are failing to ensure students score the A-level grades often required by top universities, the new league tables suggests.
Tens of thousands of youngsters are also still attending under-performing schools which are failing to meet tough targets on the numbers of pupils gaining decent GCSEs.
In total, 195 schools in England, collectively teaching around 167,000 children, are falling below the Government’s new floor target for secondaries the figures show.
For the first time, the Government has published figures on the numbers of pupils at each school or college that are scoring at least two A grades and a B at A-level in “facilitating” subjects, including English Literature, maths, physics, biology, chemistry, geography, history and languages.
These are subjects preferred, or required more often, by Russell Group universities, which are considered among the top institutions in the UK.
An initial analysis of the latest statistics suggests at around 600 schools and colleges – just over one in four – no A-level student scored AAB in facilitating subjects.