Headteachers’ pride in pupils

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HEADTEACHERS at north Northumberland schools were pleased with achievements in the Government’s GCSE and A-Level performance tables released last week.

But with over 200 sets of data released for each school in the country, both Amble’s James Calvert Spence College (JCSC) – Acklington Road and Alnwick’s Duchess’s Community High School (DCHS) did better in some measures than others.

Alongside the percentage of pupils who gain five GCSEs including maths and English, the value added (VA) measure shows the improvement of pupils from the start of their secondary education (Key Stage Two) up to GCSEs (Key Stage Four) but including other qualifications, taking into account that pupils have different starting abilities.

However this is complicated in Northumberland as, due to the three-tier system, this incorporates two years of middle school, relying on the performance of feeder middle schools as well.

The capped average points score per pupil incorporates all examinations while there is also an average points score per pupil for GCSEs alone.

At JCSC, the VA rating of 1005.6 placed it above the national average (1000) while its capped average points score of 337.7 was slightly below the county average of 343.5.

Its average points score for GCSEs was well down on the county average of 270.3 at 209.5 with the percentage of pupils achieving five or more GCSEs at grades A* to C including English and maths dropping from 49 per cent in 2010 to 38 per cent last year.

At A-Level, JCSC saw an average points score of 617.9 with 89 per cent of students gaining two or more A* to E grades and 65 per cent gaining three or more.

Executive headteacher of the Coquet Federation, Christine Graham, said: “We are very proud of the achievements of all of the students that took formal examinations in 2011.

“By the end of key Stage 5 (A-Level) average point scores rose for the third year running confirming for us the hard work and diligence of our Year 13 students and their teachers.

“Our Year 11 cohort were very different from their predecessors the year before but, given their starting points, they made good progress.

“While the proportion of students gaining five A* to C grades including English and mathematics was less than in the previous year the proportion of students gaining five or more GCSE grades rose significantly and was above the national average. Our average capped point score rose and our average total point score increased significantly.”

DCHS saw the percentage of its pupils gaining five or more GCSEs jump nine per cent from 55 in 2010 to 64 last year above the county average of 57.7 per cent. Its average points score for GCSEs was well above the county average at 312.4.

Its capped point score was also above average at 347.3 although its VA rating fell below the national average to 993.8.

At A-Level, 100 per cent of students at the Duchess’s achieved achieved two or more A* to E grades while 88 per cent achieved three or more, well above the county averages of 92.3 per cent and 78.5 per cent.

Its average points score per student at A-Level was 719.2, above the county average of 714.8.

Headteacher Maurice Hall said: “Overall, as a school, we continue to be very pleased with the progress we are making year on year. As a community school we need to cater for all abilities.

“If individual parents or members of the local community want to find out more about what these league tables show and the difficulties in interpreting them I strongly suggest that they contact their local school for further information.”

Elsewhere, Berwick Community High School had a VA score of 1025.2 with 61 per cent of pupils gaining five or more GCSEs. King Edward VI (KEVI) School in Morpeth had a VA of 1014.1 and a GCSE rate of 71 per cent. At Longridge Towers, 92 per cent of pupils gained five or more GCSEs.

At KEVI, the average points score per pupil at A-Level was 864.8 while at Berwick High it was 842.7 and at Longridge Towers 744.3.

l Only the very highest quality qualifications will be included in future secondary school performance tables, the Department for Education announced on Tuesday.

At the moment there are 3,175 so-called equivalent qualifications accredited and approved for study by 14 to 16-year-olds, all of which count in the tables.

But from the 2014 Performance Tables (published in January 2015), just 125 of these qualifications (3.9 per cent of the current total) will count.