Excluded pupils fail to make the grade comes bottom

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The Independent Online

St Paul's Community Foundation, Birmingham, is bottom of the GCSE tables, the only school in England where not one pupil had at least one C grade pass. It is among 71 schools to miss the Government's target that all schools should get at least 20 per cent of pupils up to that level by 2004.

St Paul's Community Foundation, Birmingham, is bottom of the GCSE tables, the only school in England where not one pupil had at least one C grade pass. It is among 71 schools to miss the Government's target that all schools should get at least 20 per cent of pupils up to that level by 2004.

But St Paul's is unique; the 44-pupil school, which had just five pupils of GCSE age last year, takes only children who have been excluded from other schools, or failed to fit in. "Our results tend to vary very much from year to year," said Anita Halliday, the headteacher. "In the past year, the pupils had been in the school for only a couple of years, and that is not enough time to recover from setbacks they may have had earlier."

The school's statistics, published without details of its circumstances, led John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, to repeat his claim that the league-table exercise was "deeply flawed". Ministers said schools that failed to meet the 20 per cent target could become privately sponsored academies, a new type of school backed by Tony Blair.

Two academies are among the bottom dozen. Manchester Academy has only 8 per cent of pupils achieving five A* to C grade passes and a new academy at Peckham, London, has 12 per cent.

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