Heads speak out over league table results

Mrs Neale and pupils from County Upper School celebrating
Mrs Neale and pupils from County Upper School celebrating
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Headteachers have railed against last year’s GCSE grading scandal with renewed vigour after their performances dropped in the latest league table results.

Some of Suffolk’s top performing schools saw the percentage of pupils achieving five A*-Cs including English and maths fall dramatically in the wake of the controversial grade boundary changes in English.

The county was once again in the bottom 10 in the league tables - falling to 142nd out of 151 local authorities for Key Stage Four. Before Christmas it was third from bottom in the Key Stage Two results.

However there was an increase in A-level results.

A mong those affected were St Benedict’s Catholic School which plummeted from 81 per cent in 2011 to 56 per cent in 2012.

Head Hugh O’Neill said: “It is the English results that simply don’t add up. This matters to us as a school, but it matters most to a group of 19 students who we think should have obtained grade C and did not. If they had been in any other year they would have passed at grade C. Even with the tougher exam in 2012, they should have passed. Their opportunities in education and training have been affected. That is the real message of the performance tables for 2012.”

Head Geoff Barton, of King Edward VI School, whose results dropped from 64 to 53 per cent, has campaigned over the issue and is awaiting a judgement from the High Court. He said: “We achieved stunning A-level results again this year - amongst the best in Suffolk. It defies belief that the same experienced and long established team of teachers has seen their work at GCSE caught up in the GCSE English fiasco. It has cast a shadow from August up to now for something we still don’t think we’ve fully got to the bottom of.”

Susan Byles, head at Mildenhall College, which scored 34 per cent, said the grade boundaries were changed by 16 marks and affected many students.

She added: “We know that had those 16 marks been awarded we would have had 50.4 per cent, which would have been our highest ever GCSE results in real terms. We know we were making progress and the Government’s decision to make the standard in English much higher affected the cohort significantly.”

County Upper School was the highest performing state school in Suffolk with a virtually unaffected ranking.

It scored 74 per cent compared to 70 per cent in 2011.

Head Vicky Neale said: “We are delighted to be the top performing school in Suffolk this year and I thank all the staff, students, parents and governors here and in our feeder schools who always work so hard to help every child to do their very best. I’m particularly pleased that our success does go right across both the ability range and all the subjects offered. Whilst especially pleased with our performance this year, it is acknowledged by the Department for Education and more locally that we are a school which is able to perform highly year-on-year.”

n At Culford School many pupils study iGCSE mathematics which is not included in all league tables. Most of these pupils achieve A* or A grades.