Far fewer schools missing targets on GCSEs

Michael GoveMichael Gove
Michael Gove
Substantially fewer schools in Yorkshire have failed to hit national GCSE targets as results improved across the county.

The latest league tables show the number of secondary schools “below the floor” has dropped by about a third to 19.

The Government expects all schools to get at least 40 per cent of pupils achieving five good grades including English and maths and to make adequate progress.

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The new figures also show that students in 13 of the 15 education authorities across the region achieved better GCSE grades last summer compared with 2012.

Hull, Barnsley and Bradford were the region’s lowest ranked authorities based on GCSE performance, but there were encouraging signs in each of these areas.

In both Hull and Barnsley, 50 per cent of pupils achieved the GCSE benchmark for the first time.

Bradford schools have continued to close the gap on the national average. The figures show the gap narrowed to 6.2 percentage points. In 2012 the gap was seven per cent and in 2011 it was 11.4 per cent.

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Hull schools were also celebrating finishing just outside the top ten nationally for their performance in A-levels. Kirklees once again had the region’s strongest performing sixth forms – ranked second nationally – while York schools posted the best GCSE results.

Nationally almost a quarter of a million fewer children are being taught in failing secondary schools compared with three years ago, new figures suggest.

The number of schools falling below the Government’s floor target for secondaries has more than halved since 2010, according to official data. But there are still just over 150 schools that are considered to be under-performing, collectively educating almost 120,000.

In total, about 117,000 youngsters are being educated in the 154 schools that are not reaching the Government’s 40 per cent GCSE benchmark – down 50,000 from 2012 and down 244,000 from 2010.

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The Government has welcomed the improved results and the increasing numbers taking English Baccalaureate (Ebacc) subjects.

The Ebacc is given to pupils who get at least a C in English, maths, sciences, a modern language and either history or geography.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said the figures were “a credit to the professionalism and hard work of teachers”.

“Thanks to their efforts, the number of children taught in under-performing schools has fallen by almost 250,000 since 2010,” he added. “This progress has been achieved at the same time as our Ebacc has ensured many more young people are taking the core subjects which will most help them find a good job or go on to university.”

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The latest tables are based on data provided by the Department for Education (DfE) and show how every school and college in England performed at GCSE, A-level, other academic and vocational qualifications in 2013.

A special report in the Yorkshire Post today contains the results of every school in the region.

The results show that selective grammar schools and the independent sector achieved some of the region’s best results at both GCSE and A-level.

Heckmondwike Grammar School was named as the best performing at both GCSE and A-level. Other top performers at GCSE include Crossley Heath in Halifax and Bradford Girls’ Grammar, which became a free school this academic year. A table showing performance at academic subjects in sixth form – A-levels and the International Baccalaureate – list Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Wakefield and Queen Ethelburga’s College near York as being among the most successful.