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

Graham White, Suffolk NUT

Graham White, Suffolk NUT - Credit: 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.

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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.

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