SCHOOLS and education chiefs in York are today celebrating the exam successes of pupils with the publication of Government league tables.
But in York, North and East Yorkshire, as in other parts of the country, for many schools the number of pupils getting the “gold standard” of five or more A*-C grades at GCSE fell and many have blamed the fiasco over the marking of GCSE English exam papers.
Trevor Burton, head teacher at Millthorpe School in York hit out at the Government for publishing the league tables while a challenge to the results is still making its way through the courts. With 53 per cent of pupils getting five or more A*-C grades including English and maths Millthorpe placed eleventh out of 13 in the league for York secondaries.
Mr Burton said: “We are very disappointed in our low result and shocked that the Government is still prepared to go ahead and publish figures that are currently being disputed through the courts.
“It is the English language GCSE marks that’s resulted in our figures being as low as they are and next year they will be far higher.”
The tables published today by the Department of Education show that many York schools achieved their best-ever results and well above the national averages.
Meanwhile, North Yorkshire County Council said the region had topped the Yorkshire and Humberside league table and had been ranked 13th out of 150 authorities nationally for the number of pupils gaining five or more GCSE A*-C grades. The council said overall scores, and those of many individual schools, had shown "strong improvements", with education chiefs describing the results as "stunning".
Among the top performing state schools in York was Fulford School where 76 per cent of pupils achieved five or more GCSEs at A*-C including English and maths. Fulford ranked third behind private schools St Peter’s and Bootham in the league of York secondary schools based on the number of pupils getting five or more A*-Cs including maths and English at A-level.
Head teacher Steve Smith said: “I am very pleased with the results which reflect the hard work and commitment of the students and the quality of teaching here at the school and that we ensure that students leave here with the best possible education which gives them the passport to go on to the next step in their lives.
“We are also very pleased with our A-level results which show our average point score was again excellent.”
North Yorkshire County Council said today that the region was now in top ten per cent of local authorities for GCSE results, and its schools were improving at a faster rate than the national average.
More than 65 per cent of pupils gained at least five A*-C grades including English and maths, compared with a 59.4 per cent average nationally, with a six per cent rise in pupils who achieved a C-grade or better in maths, taking it up to 76 per cent.
Selby High School and Brayton High School both saw their rates for five or more A*-C grades, including English and maths, rise by ten per cent, while North Yorkshire also topped the Yorkshire and Humber regional table for achievement in the English Baccalaureate, awarded to pupils who achieve at least a C-grade in five specific subjects, and came 20th nationally. More than 22 per cent of pupils attained this, 3.7 per cent above the national average.
For post-16 students, North Yorkshire was 15th nationally for points per A-Level entry and 17th in the country for the percentage of students gaining three A*-A grades at A-Level. Almost 88 per cent of North Yorkshire pupils gained at least three A-Levels or their equivalent.
"This is a really stunning set of results," said Coun Arthur Barker, the county council's executive member for schools.
"The figures show our county's schools prepare our young people very well for their next steps into training or further and higher education. This means they are able to access the full range of choices, including access to the top universities.
"These results once again show North Yorkshire's commitment to ensuring all students can meet their full potential, and that strong partnerships between schools themselves and between schools and the local authority have led to even higher standards."
As previously reported by The Press, some schools and local authorities have mounted a legal challenge, which is currently still going through the courts, over GCSE English marks, after regulator Ofqual said that last summer's results would not be regraded.
After national results were published in August, angry head teachers claimed that boards had raised grade boundaries in English have way through the academic year amid fears that too many children were going to get a C.