Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 5°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

The scene of a one car collision with a tree on Ashbocking Road near Henley.

Police have found a man who had gone missing after a road traffic collision between a car and a tree in Ashbocking Road, Henley on Thursday night.

Abellio Greater Anglia

Transport user groups have called for more train services in Suffolk after new footfall statistics showed increase at stations across the region.

Bones at Ipswich Museum could be loaned to help medical science research

Skeletal remains of medieval monks at Ipswich Museum may hold the key to solving a modern medical puzzle.

The Aldeburgh food and drink festival at Snape Maltings

Snape Maltings’ rich food and drink heritage is set to continue to evolve and grow when Aldeburgh Music takes over ownership in the next few weeks.

A pothole

Potholes which currently have to be repaired in 24 hours could be left unattended for five days under proposals being considered by Suffolk County Council.

Health chiefs in Suffolk have reaffirmed their commitment to tackling unhealthy lifestyles in the county as new figures revealed a major rise in hospital admissions where patients were diagnosed as being obese.

Ballot papers. Library image.

The Conservatives have won back a seat at County Hall in the Bocking by-election.

Halstead sign

An Essex man accused of repeatedly kicking another man causing a serious injury to his groin has claimed he was acting in self-defence.

Protesters gathered in Fairfield Road in Framlingham to protest about the proposed housing development.

Survey responses from a Suffolk town at the centre of a heated housing campaign have shown support for new homes – of a certain sort.

Man in court over alleged fraud after telling couple further work needed doing to the roof of their home

An alleged rogue trader accused of doing work to the roof of a bungalow belonging to a Suffolk couple in their 80s without their agreement has claimed they asked him to do the work.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages