Educating Yorkshire head says drop in league tables does not reflect true picture

Jonny Mitchell.
Jonny Mitchell.
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THE HEAD TEACHER from the academy made famous by the Educating Yorkshire TV series has said his school was one of those badly hit by changes to league table rules which meant that some 16-year-old’s work did not count towards its five A* to C including English and maths figure.

This GCSE benchmark is still the standard by which schools are measured.

Secondaries are said to be below the floor target if less than 40 per cent of their pupils achieve this and they also fail to keep pace with the average level of progress being made in English and maths from the ages of 11 and 16.

Thornhill Community Academy saw its figure from above 50 per cent to just 17 in this year’s tables.

However, head teacher Jonny Mitchell said the real figure should have been higher as some pupils’ results were not included.

This was because their first attempt was only in an English Literature exam and did not include an English language element.

He added that when the same pupils then sat a combined literature and language GCSE this was not included as it was classed as their second attempt. “If they had been included our figure would have been 47 per cent which is still down on last year but more in line with the national picture.”

Two years ago the school was named as the most improved in Yorkshire - having delivered rising GCSE grades for four consecutive years. The announcement of this league table success in 2013 actually featured on the first episode of the Educating Yorkshire programme.

The following year the five A* to C including GCSE and maths figure fell from above 60 per cent to 54 per cent. At the time Mr Mitchell told The Yorkshire Post that the difference in the two years results was down to the ability of the two cohorts. He said he believed the television programme had actually boosted the school’s exam performance in 2013.