English and maths results to be revealed separately

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The Independent Online

Schools will be forced to disclose their maths and English GCSE results separately in league tables of exams from this autumn in an effort to improve standards in basic skills.

Schools will be forced to disclose their maths and English GCSE results separately in league tables of exams from this autumn in an effort to improve standards in basic skills.

The idea is aimed at plugging a loophole that allows schools to climb to the top of the tables even if their pupils fail to obtain top A* to C-grade passes in either of the two subjects.

It follows a report obtained by The Independent this year which showed that hardly any of the schools singled out as the most improved in the country had achieved their ranking through improving results in English or maths.

More than half the pupils in seven of the top 10 schools had failed to get A* to C-grade passes in either subject. Almost all relied on putting pupils in for GNVQs (vocational qualification) in information technology or science, which are deemed to be worth the equivalent of four GCSE passes by the Government's exams watchdog, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

Many educationalists regard the use of vocational qualifications to boost league table rankings as a "scam". The system means a pupil can be recorded as having obtained five top-grade passes - the main measure for ranking schools - if he or she has a GNVQ in information technology and a GCSE in, say, religious education.

David Brown, the author of the report, said schools regarded as "failing" by ministers because less than a quarter of pupils got five top-grade passes were, in fact, doing better than those topping the most improved list in the three Rs.

Now the Education Secretary, Ruth Kelly, has ordered that schools will have to show the percentage of pupils getting top-grade passes in maths and English separately. A pilot scheme will be launched after this year's exams for publication in the exam league tables this winter. It is expected to be introduced nationwide the following year.

John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, said the Government was right to put a strong emphasis on maths and English but added: "I still think A* to C-grade passes is a very poor reflection of the job that the school is expected to do."

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