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Essex: Number of students getting five or more A*-C grades in GCSEs goes up

PUBLISHED: 23:15 23 January 2014 | UPDATED: 23:16 23 January 2014

Changes being made at High school

Changes being made at High school

Essex’s education chief last night welcomed news that GCSE results in the county are improving.

The latest secondary school league tables, released yesterday, show that there was a slight rise in performance in the GCSE exams last summer in Essex, compared with the previous year.

A total of 60.5% of pupils achieved five or more A*-C grades, or equivalent, including English and maths – the minimum level expected by the government at the end of Key Stage 4.

This was up 1.5% on the 59% recorded the year before, and puts the county in 82nd place in the country –while Suffolk is still towards the bottom of the table in 137th place.

Ray Gooding, Essex County Council’s cabinet member for education and lifelong learning, said: “I would like to congratulate all pupils and teaching staff on excellent results at Key Stage 4 and 5 last year. I am delighted to see we are making improvements in GCSE performance and that we continue to have a higher average point score per student than the national average at A-level.

“I would particularly like to congratulate the four schools that have ranked exceptionally highly in the league tables and Tendring Technical College for their achievements as one of the top 100 schools for having the best results in advanced vocational qualifications. These achievements prove that Essex has some of the best schools and educational settings across the country.

“Improving education and ensuring every child in Essex goes to a good or outstanding school is of utmost importance and we are dedicated to ensuring we invest in education, through supporting schools to make improvements and deliver the best outcomes for children and creating new school places and new schools across the county.”

In north Essex there were varying levels of success. At Clacton Coastal Academy, 45% of students taking GCSEs achieved the benchmark, while at Manningtree High it was 53% and Clacton County High School recorded a pass rate of 66%. At Philip Morant School in Colchester the figure was 70% and at Tendring Technology College it was 72%.

Colchester County High School for Girls achieved 100% pass rate for five A*-C grades and was rated the top school within the local authority at this level. Colchester Royal Grammar School also had a 100% success rate and was ranked the third in the county for GCSEs and first for A-levels.

But at the National Union of Teachers, Essex’s general secretary Jerry Glazier, said the figures are “a narrow judgement that the Government uses to try to make a broad judgement about a school’s performance”.

He added: “You have to judge schools holistically and take into consideration the conditions in which it is operating and the challenging circumstances its teachers are facing.

“Schools need to be supported to improve in all areas. Using league tables to judge a school can be challenging and demeaning to a school’s well-being.”

However, Tendring District Council’s cabinet member for education and skills, Stephen Mayzes, said he felt benchmarking exam results had value.

He said: “Unlike Ofsted inspections, which can be subjective to a certain extent depending on the day a school is visited, exams offer raw data which enables parents to make a choice over where they would like to send their children.

“We are working closer with schools in Tendring and I am pleased that better grades are being achieved across the county.

“But it’s important we try and ensure we have the jobs for our young people when they leave school.”

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