July 28 2014 Latest news:
Friday, June 20, 2014
Norwich is the worst-performing city in England for GCSE results, according to new data released by the Department for Education.
Concerns about education in Norfolk are not new, but the latest government figures which single out Norwich as the worst part of the country for GCSE performance make worrying reading.
Last year Norfolk’s first two academies - The Open Academy and City Academy Norwich - under-performed.
City Academy has come under government scrutiny since then, with the Department for Education issuing a pre-warning notice, saying standards there were “unacceptably low”.
However, the latest data suggests this summer’s GCSE results could see a real improvement. Many will demand nothing less.
The analysis shows that more than half of 16 years olds in the city left school last year without achieving the government’s ‘gold standard’ of at least five GCSEs at grades A*-C, including English and maths.
A government league table released in January already highlighted concerns about how Norfolk compared with other local education authorities, showing the county falling 20 places to 138th out of 151, with 54pc of pupils achieving the expected standard.
However, yesterday’s figures analyse the 2013 GCSE results by more detailed geographical areas and put the spotlight firmly on Norwich.
They show that 45pc of pupils in the city achieved the expected standard - the lowest in the country - with Great Yarmouth third worst, on 47.3pc.
Last year, the three bottom-ranked state schools in Norfolk were in the city, with City Academy Norwich, Sewell Park College and The Open Academy all falling below the government’s floor target of 40pc of pupils achieving five GCSEs at grade C or above, including English and maths.
David Brunton, principal of City Academy, where 24pc of pupils achieved the gold standard, said specific problems with the English department caused last year’s “blip”.
He said: “We have been working on a specific action plan during the year and we are hoping to get back on track to the trajectory that we were on, and to be in the mid-40s.”
He said the school had a new staff team for English, which was helping recover the situation, but it would take two years for the full effect of the changes to work through the system.
Education chiefs at County Hall said the county was on track to improve this year.
James Joyce, chairman of the Children’s Services Committee, said: “Our administration acknowledged at the outset that attainment by students in Norfolk is simply not good enough which is why we have set out on an ambitious programme of improvement. This will take some time to achieve but everyone is absolutely determined to drive standards up.
“At this week’s Children’s Services Committee, we heard about improving results at Key Stages 2 and 4 and data collected from all of the county’s schools show that 60pc of students are now predicted to achieve 5 A* to C grades including English and Maths this summer.
“This bodes well for Norfolk GCSE performance this summer and would represent a significant improvement on last summer’s results.”
What do you think about standards in our city’s schools? Write, giving full contact details, to Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.