Suffolk students maths and science boost

THE academic performance of Suffolk schoolchildren in maths and science is continuing to improve, while English standards holding up better than the national average, according to league tables published today.

THE academic performance of Suffolk schoolchildren in maths and science is continuing to improve, while English standards holding up better than the national average, according to league tables published today.

The figures, released by the Department for Education and Skills for Key Stage 3, also show the county is the second best in East Anglia when it comes to the percentage of pupils reaching the expected standard in the three core subjects.

The league tables, which monitor the level of performance among 14-year-olds, has Thomas Mills High School in Framlingham claiming the top spot for the third year running, while St Benedict's School in Bury St Edmunds is second and Hadleigh High School third.

The average points score per pupil in Suffolk for this year was 35.8 - a slight improvement on 12 months ago when the figure was 35.1.


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Meanwhile the collective percentages of pupils in the area reaching Level 5 (the required standard) in English, maths and science is 232, compared to 235 in Cambridgeshire, 228 in Essex and 227 in Norfolk.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said: “Improvements have been made in maths and science and are above the national average. In English, results have dropped nationally, but in Suffolk they have dropped less than elsewhere and performance remains significantly above the national level.

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“Although results have increased there is clearly room for improvement and our county-wide school improvement plan is intended to help achieve this.”

At the other end of the scale Westbourne High School in Ipswich was ranked the lowest in the county, followed by Castle Manor Business and Enterprise College in Haverhill and The Denes High School, Lowestoft.

Last night union representatives warned league tables were not the fairest way to judge the performance of pupils.

Martin Goold, county secretary for the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said: “As ever, the league tables simply follow very closely the index of social advantage and deprivation for each catchment area.

“They are very de-motivating for staff and pupils in those schools which are working hard in the most difficult circumstances - they need investment and encouragement, not confirmation that they are working with the most demanding children and families.”

Chris Lines, executive member of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) for Essex, Southend, Suffolk and Thurrock, said: “First of all the pupils and teachers should be congratulated for their hard work because it seems they've done well.

“However in terms of league tables we as a union don't feel they serve any useful purpose. They merely set one school against another at a time when the government is talking about schools working together.

“Particularly at Key Stage 3 people tend to take little notice, either because parents have already decided where their children will go to secondary school or because pupils are more interested in how they will get on in their GCSEs.”

Phil Illsley, branch secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), added: “League tables only give a rough guide and are unfair on schools when we all know there isn't a level playing field. Therefore they can mislead parents rather than help them.”

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