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Suffolk: Fears for county’s ‘lost generation’ of school pupils

PUBLISHED: 15:31 25 January 2013 | UPDATED: 15:31 25 January 2013

Graham White, Suffolk NUT

Graham White, Suffolk NUT

Archant

SUFFOLK is in danger of creating a “lost generation” as the county plummets towards the bottom of another education league table.

That was the warning from a leading union official in the county as schools and education officials studied the latest figures from the Department for Education.

Graham White from the National Union of Teachers said: “My feeling is we are sacrificing the few for the benefit of the many – but I don’t think the many will benefit. We are certainly going to lose a generation.

“Our biggest concern is we are closing down very successful schools and why – that just doesn’t seem to make sense to me.”

The publication of the national league tables showed that Suffolk now comes below authorities like Wigan, Warrington, Wigan and Liverpool when it comes to the proportion of students gaining five or more grade A*-C GCSEs including English and maths.

The county partially blamed the controversy over the marking of GCSE English papers last year for the fall in its results – and the results from individual schools fell significantly.

King Edward VI Upper School in Bury St Edmunds saw the proportion of its students getting give good GCSEs fall from 64% last year to 53% this year.

Northgate High School in Ipswich saw its figures fall from 77% to 66% and while Holywells High in Ipswich saw 32% of its students reach that level in 2011, its successor school Ipswich Academy had just 23% of pupils reaching that level.

Graham Newman, the county’s cabinet member for education, said that the results only reiterated the need to complete the School Organisation Review.

He said that amidst the disappointing overall performance, there were some examples of “remarkable good news” in the results.

He said: “We have got some teachers who have improved their A-levels but have suffered the worst with GCSEs.

“We just have to keep pinching ourselves and keep reminding ourselves that the young people we are doing this for are the ones going through this.

“We need to stop thinking about ourselves and put the children first.”

The news about the high school results comes just a month after Suffolk’s primary schools fell to third from bottom from the league tables for key stage two (11-plus).

The plight of education in Suffolk has resulted in the launch of the “Raising the Bar” initiative in an attempt to boost results – although experts warn it could take years to dramatically improve results.

5 comments

  • An astonishing response from Mr Newman..."We need to complete the School Organisation Review!" How can this drop in ALL areas of pupil attainment be blamed on the SOR process?? It simply does not make sense! Whatever next Mr Newman?

    Report this comment

    Provocateur

    Friday, January 25, 2013

  • "Graham Newman, the county’s cabinet member for education, said that the results only reiterated the need to complete the School Organisation Review." I now truly believe this man has delusions of being the reincarnation of Nero. SOR isn't the answer - because to most perfectly sane people, it was never the problem.

    Report this comment

    SideshowBob

    Friday, January 25, 2013

  • Quite astonishing how the evidence is either ignored or misconstrued by SCC. It is clear to those who care to look at the evidence objectively that SOR is one of the main factors behind the falling behind in performance. Let's have a bit of honesty PLEASE!

    Report this comment

    pandamanc

    Friday, January 25, 2013

  • Interesting comment from Mr White. A fee years ago a group of concerned parents in Saxmundham believed Mr Newman's SOR was not what they wanted for their children. Many objected, said they were fools, many of those detractors are now the ones screaming foul at Newman and County. These Sax parents stuck to their guns. They didn't like how Newman "leads" education services so they opted out. Years of hard work later and Sax Free School is open and going well. Thanks to these parents and the Free School parents now have a real choice. Put up with the council's incompetence and constant meddling or opt out of county control. Hindsight is a fine thing, but the foresight those Sax parents had was finer still...

    Report this comment

    EricL

    Friday, January 25, 2013

  • If as the council representative stated so few parents turned up for a school meeting it isnt SOR that needs to happen but for parents to be reminded they have the resposibility to educate their children. Schools are there to help them in this vital role.

    Report this comment

    jennifer jane

    Saturday, January 26, 2013

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

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