Must do better: 200 secondary schools on Government 'hit list' after failing to reach target for GCSE passes

 

Nearly 200 secondary schools are on a Government “hit list” after failing to reach its minimum target for GCSE passes, exam league tables showed today.

The figures revealed 195 schools had failed to get 40 per cent of their pupils to obtain five A* to C grade passes at GCSE including maths and English.

In addition, around one in four state secondary schools failed to get any of their pupils to obtain two A grade and a B grade passes in the A-level subjects most sought after by universities, according to a new measure included in this year’s tables.

Publication of this year’s league tables led to a “health warning” from leaders of the country’s secondary schools.

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said a number of schools had only failed to reach the target as a result of last year’s GCSE English grading fiasco, where the boundary for a C grade pass was raised between the January and June sittings.

“This year’s performance data has been skewed by the issues with GCSE grading, particularly English,” he said.  The High Court is set to rule later this month on whether there should be a judicial review of last year’s grades.

Schools below the floor target - which was raised from 35 per cent to 40 per cent this year - can face closure or been forced to be academies with the headteacher facing the sack. If the figure had been raised to 40 per cent last year, a further 51 schools would have been on the list.

Meanwhile, a list of the bottom 200 schools with the worst GCSE results includes around 60 of the Government’s academies, even though, overall, academies saw a 3.1 percentage point improvement in their results - five times as much as the average improvement.

“Michael Gove (the Education Secretary) will be facing a dilemma as to how he addresses the number of academies that are failing his imposed floor targets,” said Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers.

“Local authorities no longer have the right to step in and address issues in academies such as falling standards. This is now the responsibility of the Secretary of State who, it would appear, is going to be kept quite busy.”

On the question of schools failing to get pupils to obtain two A’s and a B grade at A-level in “facilitating” subjects for top universities, Dr Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group, which represents 24 of the most research intensive higher education institutions, said: “We agree A-level choices really matter.

“Too few students realise that some subjects and subject combinations can keep open wider degree course options at leading universities.”

Stephen Twigg, Labour’s education spokesman, said: The fact that many A-level pupils do not get the top grades for university is worrying.”

The “facilitating” subjects include English Literature, maths, physics, biology, chemistry, geography, history and languages.

The league tables also show that fewer than one in six state school pupils qualify for the Government’s new English Baccalaureate, exam league.

The results tables show only 16 per cent obtained top grade A* to C grades in the five subjects covered by the EBacc; English, maths, the sciences, a foreign language and a humanities subject - history or geography.

The figure is only a one percentage point increase on last year’s league tables despite tremendous pressure on headteachers to put pupils in for the five subjects.

The top performing school in GCSE exams was Colyton Grammar School in Devon with the 117 pupils who sat the exam all obtaining at least five top grade passes.

The bottom school, though, was also a selective state grammar school - Pate’s in Cheltenham - but this was because it refused to enter pupils for the GCSE English exam on the grounds it did not stretch them enough.

“We decided to move our English curriculum to an IGCSE (available internationally and based on old O-level lines), not currently counted in the league tables, because we decided that particular curriculum included a greater depth of learning - having fewer texts but students looking at them in greater detail,” said headteacher Russel Ellicott.

“We are secure in the knowledge that we have chosen the right curriculum.”

The figures also show a growing number of academies are offering the EBacc, 88 per cent, an increase of six percentage points on the previous year.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
News
i100
Sport
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Sport
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

WORLDbytes: Two-Day Intensive Camera training and Shoot: Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th March

expenses on shoots: WORLDbytes: Volunteering with a media based charity,for a ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 4 Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: A school in Tameside is currently l...

Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teaching Assistant

£50 - £70 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Tradewind are currently looking for ...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Advisor - OTE £30,000

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review