Six things to look out for as schools in our region report their GCSE results

Students celebrate their GCSE results at Hethersett High School. Picture: Denise Bradley Students celebrate their GCSE results at Hethersett High School. Picture: Denise Bradley

Thursday, August 21, 2014
8:36 AM

With thousands of GCSE students in our region receiving their GCSEs this morning, here are six things to look out for as schools start to report their overall results.

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How do Norwich schools perform?

In June, Norwich was named as the worst local authority area in the country for last year’s GCSE results. Last summer, the spotlight particularly fell on Norwich’s first two academies - The Open Academy and City Academy Norwich - after they fell through the government’s floor standard.

Will the city do better this year?

Will Norfolk match the county council’s predictions?

Last year 54pc of Norfolk’s GCSE students achieved the government’s gold standard of five GCSEs at A*-C, including English and maths, well below the national average of 60pc.

This year, Norfolk County Council has been closely monitoring school’s data, and has predicted the county will improve by six percentage points, matching last year’s national average.

We should know by this afternoon whether they have done this.

Will there be problems with maths and English?

Early indications suggest some headteachers across the country are reporting concerns about results in English and maths - the key subjects both for students and for school league tables.

Will this be a problem in schools in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire? Will schools be appealing against more individual exam results than usual?

How do different types of schools perform?

Most of Norfolk’s secondary schools are now academies - either stand-alone academies that govern themselves, or sponsored academies, which are part of a wider organisation.

Will there be any difference between academies and non-academies, between stand-alone and sponsored academies, and between schools in local and national academy chains?

Will results schools report today be the same as their league table results?

One change to the GCSE system this year is that only a student’s first attempt at an exam will be included in league tables. In previous years, a student’s best results - sometimes after a number of re-sits - were included.

However, some schools may today still chose to report GCSE results that portray them in the best possible light, and include re-sits which will be excluded from the official league tables.

Schools that do not use re-sits, or do not include them in the results they report today, may feel they are being disadvantaged.

We may have to wait until the official government league tables come out in January to see whether there is any discrepancy.

Will schools fall below the government’s floor standard?

Schools are at risk of early Ofsted inspection and being converted into academies if fewer than 40pc of pupils get at least five GCSEs at grades A*-C, including English and maths.

And academies that fail to achieve this will come under close scrutiny from the new regional schools commissioner.

Watch that 40pc threshold very closely.

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