How well has your child’s school performed in the latest GCSE league table for Suffolk?

Students at work at Debenham High School Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Students at work at Debenham High School Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Suffolk schools at the top of a league table for GCSE level are celebrating their continued success.

Attainment at key stage 4 has dipped in the county in 2019 compared to the previous year, according to the latest figures from the Department for Education (DfE), but is in line with the national average for state-funded schools.

The data features schools' Progress 8 scores, which shows how much progress pupils at the school made between the end of key stage 2 and the end of key stage 4 compared to pupils across England who got similar results at the end of key stage 2.

In Suffolk the score stands at -0.02 for 2019, but was 0.08 in 2018, while the national average for this year is -0.03.

Debenham High School in Stowmarket is once again the highest performing school in Suffolk with a score well-above average, followed by Copleston High School in Ipswich, East Point Academy in Lowestoft, Hartismere School in Eye, Bungay High School and Farlingaye High School in Woodbridge, all with above-average scores.

Students at work at Debenham High School Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Students at work at Debenham High School Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Julia Upton, headteacher at Debenham High School, which had a Progress 8 score of 0.69, said her school is "thrilled" to be top in the county, and amongst the very best in the country.

"Our success in examinations is the result of the development of the whole child, creating opportunities for them to learn within and beyond the classroom.

"Staff have worked hard to understand the rigour and challenge of the new GCSEs and the foundations for this are lain as soon as students arrive in year seven, building knowledge and skills over a five-year journey.

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"I congratulate all the students who achieved such success last summer and thank all the staff at Debenham High School for their hard work and commitment to our young people."

Andy Green, principal of Coppleston High School, which had the top Progress 8 score in Ipswich with 0.38, said: "I am very pleased and put it down to the hard work and commitment of students and staff. Students have bought into additional exam skills sessions after school and the attendance at weekend and holiday sessions is always very high.

"We are also lucky to have highly-skilled expert teachers and they do a superb job with the students every lesson. We aim to maximise every minute of learning time available."

St Benedict's Catholic School revealed the highest Progress 8 score in Bury St Edmunds with an above average result of 0.28 - a significant increase on the previous year's result of 0.08.

County Upper School in Bury St Edmunds revealed a score of -0.08, but as a 13-18 school it only educated students for part of the period covered by Progress 8.

At the bottom of the table The Ashley School, a residential special school in Lowestoft, achieved a well-below average score of -1.56, with only 20 students included in the measure.

Headteacher Sally Garrett explained for her school, where 100% of pupils have a cognitive disability, the statistic was essentially "meaningless" as only a handful of students would be able to take Progress 8 qualifications, such as English, maths and science.

She said: "We are one of the only special schools that will appear in the table. In one way we are exceptional in that we do help those that can access these GCSEs."

The Ashley School has just been awarded an outstanding rating by Ofsted school inspectors, who praised the school for providing "highly effective services that consistently exceed the standards of good".

Suffolk also dipped in attainment for English and maths at GCSE in 2019, with 39% of pupils achieving grade 5 or above compared to 41.3% in 2018. This sits against a national average of 43% last year and 40.2% the previous year.

Graham White, press officer for Suffolk National Education Union (NEU), said we shouldn't get "really hung up" on the statistics, adding what mattered was "every pupil should do their very best and teachers should do their best by their pupils".

"I think Suffolk is doing ok on the results. Clearly we can always do more and we can always do more for each pupil, but we need to have the money in schools at classroom level to deliver the very best for these pupils and getting hung up on exam results with a narrow curriculum is not the way to improve education for pupils."

Mary Evans, cabinet member for children's services, education and skills, said it was "encouraging" to see pupils in Suffolk continue to make better progress than the national average.

"Through our Raising the Bar programme we continue to support, influence and challenge schools to drive up educational attainment. We are committed to ensuring that our schools support every child and young person to reach their full potential," she said.

Measures to drive up improvements include the Suffolk Learning Improvement Network (SLIN), which utilises peer reviews for headteachers to share good practice with other schools.

-Some schools do not appear in the search bar as data was not available or applicable for them.

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