Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 12°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Suffolk: Education chiefs fear county’s ranking in national GCSE table could fall even lower after ‘unfair’ changes to system

16:38 08 July 2014

The first GCSE results are being published

The first GCSE results are being published

Archant

Suffolk’s poor position in the national GCSE league table is in danger of falling even lower following an “unfair” shake-up of the result recording system, education chiefs have warned.

shares

The county was ranked 137th out of 151 local authorities in England for GCSE results in 2013, when 54.6% of pupils achieved five or more A*-C grades.

It was a rise from 50.5% in 2012, but below the current national average of 61%.

But education officials have raised fears Suffolk could be the victim of a false “declining picture”, claiming the overhaul of the recording system, which compares the performance of counties, will unfairly affect the county due to it having a large number of students taking exams early.

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said: “For several years, students have been able to take their GCSE early. This means that if they get the result they expected, they can then focus on other subjects for their final exams.

“If they don’t, they can re-sit them in the summer. The student’s best grade was recorded as part of the school’s, county’s and overall national results.

“However, changes to the way results are recorded, brought in from the end of September 2013, mean that if a student takes an ‘early entry’ exam, only that grade will be recorded in official figures – regardless of whether or not the student re-takes the exam and gets a better grade at a later date.

“Because of this change, any county that has a relatively high proportion of students taking early entry exams could see their results appear to drop, even if students are actually doing better.

“As some Suffolk schools have a large number of students taking exams early, some of the county’s educational professionals have raised concerns that official figures could falsely portray a declining picture.”

Sue Cook, Suffolk County Council’s director of children’s services, insisted students will not be affected by the change, saying: “The problem comes when schools, and the local authority, are judged against other areas.

“Put simply, the best results achieved following the hard work and dedication of the students and their teachers are unlikely to be fully reflected in the league tables.

“We recognise that this is national government policy but have serious concerns about the extent to which it will impact on Suffolk.”

Graham White, secretary of the Suffolk branch of the National Union of Teachers, said the “unfair” league table may discourage some pupils from sitting early exams.

Madeleine Vigar, principal at Castle Manor Academy in Haverhill and chair of Suffolk Association of Secondary Head teachers (SASH), echoed concerns the national league table will not be an “accurate reflection” of the upcoming GCSE results.

She said: “Year 11 students in Suffolk schools have worked extremely hard this year. They have been ably supported by school leaders and teachers to achieve the very best that they can. Students’ final GCSE examination grades will indicate that they have made good and outstanding progress.

“SASH members find that the November examination results spur students on, giving them the confidence to aspire and progress further in their studies. How many people fail their driving test the first time and then go on to become excellent drivers?”

GCSE results are set to be released on August 21.

shares

2 comments

  • So in other words the headline will shortly read - Education standards continue to slip in Suffolk - at least by getting this story out first, SCC Education can try to shift the focus and blame (they're top of the league table for that!)

    Report this comment

    dale craven

    Tuesday, July 8, 2014

  • What is unfair about the new system? Doesn't everyone have the same choice to make about when to take the exams? If Suffolk has such poor results then more attention needs to be placed on better teaching rather than hoping that results will improve by taking the exam again and again.

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Bury Magistrates' Court

Suffolk will be one of just six English counties with a single magistrates’ court if Ministry of Justice closure proposals go ahead.

A new free school will be established in Bury St Edmunds

A new free school will open in Bury St Edmunds, specialising in science and engineering, in 2017.

An Abellio Greater Anglia train at Colchester

A defective track in the Harold Wood area is affecting services from across the region.

View of Diesel Generator and Transformer Sets at Existing Flexible 
Generation Facility

More than 30 years after Cliff Quay power station was taken off the grid, electricity generation could return to its site – but on a very different scale.

Proposed housing site in Poplar Lane , behind the Holiday Inn ,Ipswich.

Almost 500 new homes could be built on the edge of Ipswich in a move which has prompted concern among local residents.

South East Suffolk Magistrates Court

Two former co-workers at a Trimley St Martin shop and post office have been charged with defrauding the business of nearly £9,500.

Cliff Quay power station, Ipswich, was badly damaged by a fire in September 1982. It never generated electricity again.

Ipswich power station dominated Cliff Quay during the decades after the second world war as it provided power for the National Grid.

The scene of the crash in Norwich Road.

A drug-driver who was at the wheel of a Mitsubishi towing a speedboat when it collided with an Ipswich bridal shop has been disqualified from driving.

Police accident sign

A truck careered off Felsham Road outside Cockfield, near Bury St Edmunds, this morning.

Bradley Wiggins, far left, riding through Woodbridge during the first stage of the 2012 Tour of Britain

Tour of Britain spectators will get to see champion rider Sir Bradley Wiggins racing through Suffolk again when it comes to county this month.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages