School League Tables 1998: Hull trying to improve results

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Indy Lifestyle Online
INNER CITY blight spreads across the bottom of the school league tables. The local authorities notching up the lowest GCSE scores read like a Who's Who of urban deprivation.

Bottom of the table is Hull, where only 22.8 per cent of children got five or more good GCSEs this summer.

The city has a population of 270,000 and the whole range of inner-city problems. Middle-class suburbs were left outside the city line when the council was formed by local government reorganisation in 1996.

But Eric Reed, the city's assistant director of education, said efforts were underway to repair the foundations of the education service. He said: "There was a problem of low standards in literacy and numeracy which had to be addressed. There were also some low expectations of children's achievements. The new authority said it was going to give our children the best chance. Our whole effort has been to ensure that if you are in Kingston-upon-Hull you have as good a chance as anywhere else."

The city's schools have produced an 8per cent increase in scores on the national tests for seven-year-olds, and up to a 14 per cent increase in marks in tests for 11 year olds.

Hull now has an education action zone and a regeneration project based on youth education and lifelong learning. Education officers have been working on improving teaching styles, and setting targets for pupils. They say the drive has already cut the number of pupils leaving school with no qualifications. The council's target for raising results is yet to be published, but is said to be "substantial".

Mr Reed said: "We have been putting the foundations in place and are beginning to see the results. We are quite confident that given time we will see substantial improvement."