School exam league tables: The comprehensive that's rated 'good' but isn't hitting the Government’s minimum target
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Thursday 24 January 2013
A comprehensive school rated as “good” by inspectors is languishing below the Government’s minimum target of 40 per cent of pupils getting five top grade passes at GCSE including maths and English.
King Richard School in Portsmouth is only there because of the grading controversy over last summer’s GCSE English exam.
Its pupils had been expected to achieve a 55 per cent success rate in terms of the numbers achieving five A* to C grade passes at GCSE including English and maths but - after the boundaries for a C grade pass were raised between the January and June sittings of the exam - the school only scored 38 per cent.
The school, a specialist arts college with more than 700 pupils, now joins 194 others on the list of those that failed to reach that target. Schools on that list can be forced to become academies or even face closure.
Executive headteacher Brian McClarin said: “The drop in our...figure is not the result of any weakness in our English teaching, which remains excellent, but from the re-grading of C grade boundaries.
“This has been a well-publicised national fiasco, a blatant attempt to manipulate figures without a shred of concern for the young people whose lives it has impacted on.”
He added that there had been a steady year on year improvement in GCSE results at the school before the grading crisis - and the number of pupils leaving the 11 to 16 school to continue in education rising from 40 per cent to 94 per cent.
In its report on the school, education standards watchdog Ofsted: “The achievement of the students is good...The quality of teaching is good.”
“The best teaching is usually seen in English, maths, science and the specialist subjects of dance and drama,” it added.
Adam Dare, the school’s headteacher, said: “I think that having a respectable Ofsted report will mean that action won’t be taken. There’s also still some way to go on the examination results.” The High Court is expected to rule later this month on a call for a judicial review from headteachers, schools and pupils of last year’s grading.
“I’ve actually got no objections to league tables,” he added. “There is a lot of really excellent information in them and it seems to me just looking at one number doesn’t tell you how well a school is doing.
“I’m obviously bitterly disappointed that - in terms of the five GCSEs - we’re quite close to the bottom in Portsmouth but we show the best value for high ability students and the best value for low ability.”
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
Instagram of US airport security chiefs: Lipstick knives and IED training kits among items seized
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber reach almost £154,000 on eBay
Israel-Gaza crisis: Eight killed in Gaza Strip cafe while watching World Cup semi-final
Supermoon 2014: When and why will the moon look bigger and brighter this summer?
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
- 2 Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber reach almost £154,000 on eBay
- 3 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 4 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 5 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
£33000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly successfu...
Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Randstad urgently seeks a qualif...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Liverpool: We are looking for someone who can t...
£120 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: **Science Teacher Urgently ...