GCSE league tables round up: region improving, but mixed news for individual schools

Time for a selfie for GCSE students as they get their results at Wymondham High Academy.Picture by S

Time for a selfie for GCSE students as they get their results at Wymondham High Academy.Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Newly-published GCSE league tables have shown results in our region are continuing to improve, although Norfolk and Suffolk remain in the bottom third of national rankings.

Teenagers who sat their exams last summer helped the two counties continue to narrow the gap with the England-wide average, while Cambridgeshire jumped above it.

The league tables, which updated provisional data released in October, saw nine high schools in Norfolk,

and six in Suffolk, record a double-digit increase in the proportion of pupils gaining the government's 'gold standard' of five GCSEs at A*-C, including English and maths.

Wymondham College topped the table locally, with 87pc pupils meeting this standard, placing it in the top 10pc of state schools in England.

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Its principal, Jonathan Taylor, said: 'Having arrived in Norfolk as a new principal in September 2014, there's a growing culture of Norfolk schools working together, and I think that's starting to impact on achievement levels in the county.'

Hethersett Academy, Dereham Neatherd and Notre Dame High School, in Norwich, also saw more than two-thirds of pupils achieve the gold standard, while Hartismere School in Eye was the top-performing school in Suffolk.

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Overall results in Norfolk and Suffolk remained below the England average of 57.1pc for state-funded schools, but both continued their steady rise up the table.

In Norfolk, 54.9pc of teenagers achieved the gold standard, a 2.2 percentage point improvement on 2014, taking it from 136th out of 151 in 2013, to 102nd in 2015.

James Joyce, chairman of Norfolk County Council's Children's Services committee, said: 'The latest GCSE results are extremely encouraging and show that we are certainly moving in the right direction. Norfolk's gold standard results have risen by a greater margin than most schools nationally compared to last year.'

Suffolk's 54.5pc put it in 106th place, compared with 141st in 2012, while Cambridgeshire moved from 89th to 51st. Suffolk County Council said its Raising the Bar strategy was 'having a really positive effect'.

There were mixed fortunes for individual schools.

Five Norfolk schools fell below the government's floor standard of 40pc of pupils gaining the gold standard, including the Hewett School, where performance dipped in a year when it was at the centre of controversy over its proposed academy conversion.

City Academy Norwich, at 27pc, performed worst. It was the third year it came below 30pc, putting it among the 100 worst-performing schools in England, as was Thomas Clarkson Academy, in Wisbech.

City Academy received an official warning about 'unacceptably low' standards from regional schools commissioner Tim Coulson in September.

A spokesman for the TEN Group, which sponsors the school, said: 'We are continuing to liaise closely with Mr Coulson and his team on the progress we are making and we are confident that City Academy Norwich will achieve significant improvements in results this year.'

Ormiston Victory, in Costessey, and Ormiston Denes, in Lowestoft, were also among schools that recorded poor results for two years running, but a Department for Education spokesman said academies operate under more robust accountability system than local authority schools.

He added: 'Clearly, performance at City Academy Norwich, Ormiston Victory Academy and Ormiston Denes Academy is not good enough but we are working with all three schools to ensure rapid improvement takes place.'

Wymondham College, Stradbroke High, IES Breckland and Hethersett Academy were in the top 10pc in England for value added, which shows how much pupils improved since primary school.

This was the last year the gold standard will be used. It will be replaced by the Progress 8 measure, which aims to capture the progress pupils made at high school.

Do you have an education story for us? Email martin.george@archant.co.uk

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