GSCE league tables divide boys and girls

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The GSCE gender gap in Horsham district schools was laid bare for the first time in England’s school league tables - released last Thursday.

Some schools showed little deviation in the amount of boys and girls achieving five or more GCSEs between A* to C including English and Maths.

But Horsham’s Tanbridge House School, which saw a huge 13 per cent overall increase to 77, saw 81 per cent of boys, but 73 per cent of girls achieving five or more GCSEs between A* to C.

At Steyning Grammar School the trend was reversed with girls doing far better than boys, 67 to 56 per cent.

Jules White, headteacher at Tanbridge, said: “We are delighted that our results across all ability ranges are so strong.

“The government’s Raise on Line database confirms that the ‘value added’ to both boys and girls performance is ‘significantly positive’.

“Tanbridge House does, however, believe that results provide just one of several key indicators upon which to judge our school or any other.”

Steyning Grammar, which also had 93 per cent of A-level pupils gaining three or more grades between A* and E, was not able to comment on the results this week.

The Weald School in Billingshurst had 72 per cent of pupils achieving five or more GCSEs, up five per cent from last year, but headteacher Peter Woodman thought that any data should be tempered by what a school feels like to a student or parent. He said: “The Weald School was extremely happy with their GCSE and A-level results for 2012. The school recorded a third successive increase in results.

“The Weald does extremely well in terms of league tables, but we are more concerned with making sure that the overall experience that a student receives is the important factor. A school experience is more than just a table of data.” The Weald also had 92 per cent of its students gaining three or more A-levels between A* and E.

Girls-only school Millais, in Depot Road, Horsham, recorded a figure of 86 per cent for GSCEs.

Leon Nettley, headteacher, said: “We were delighted by the results this year and they clearly demonstrate our strengths across the board. The headline figures of 86 per cent five plus A*-C including English and Maths and 63 per cent of pupils obtaining the English Baccalaureate stand out against national benchmarks, and demonstrate the high academic standards we challenge ourselves to achieve year on year.”

Boys counterpart Forest School in Horsham had a GSCE tally of 62 per cent, but headteacher Siobhan Denning said: “We are very proud of what the boys achieved last year. Unfortunately a number of our pupils in both English and Maths were affected by last summer’s exams fiasco and the moving of grade boundaries that impacted on our 2012 results compared to the previous year.

“Notwithstanding this we retain our position among the top ten schools in West Sussex.”

Staff from the English and Maths departments at Forest helped affected pupils resit their exams.

Horsham’s College of Richard Collyer saw 87 per cent of its pupils achieve three or more A-levels between A* and E, and principal Jackie Johnston said the fact that the points per A-level entry indicator put them seventh in sixth form colleges nationally was an outstanding achievement. Around a quarter of its university applicants cemented places at Russell Group universities.

A year after many Horsham schools branded the Department for Education’s figures incorrect Farlington School for Girls, near Broadbridge Heath, said that the GSCE figure of 82 per cent on the DfE website for 2012 was not accurate.

Louise Higson, headmistress at Farlington, explained: “We were absolutely delighted with our GCSE results in summer 2012. The girls achieved an overall A* - C pass rate of 94.2 per cent. 91.7 per cent of the pupils achieved five A* - C, including English and Maths, not 82 per cent as reported.”

Christ’s Hospital once again excelled, with 98 per cent of GSCE pupils gaining five or more A* to C grades, while 96 per cent of students bagged three or more A-levels between A* and E. Christ’s Hospital’s headmaster, John Franklin, said: “Whilst we don’t believe these tables are the sole measure of the pupils’ success, we are delighted with our strong position. We are extremely proud of all of our pupils who have done so well.” It also came out top in West Sussex for the GCSE Baccalaureate.

Carole Baker, headmistress at Towers Convent School in Upper Beeding, added: “We are delighted with our results in that 13 of our 45 girls got all of their results at A* or A, sadly two girls were affected by Mr Gove’s last minute English grade boundary changes and got D grades.

“Although one has since re-sat and gained a C grade her result has not been included but these are only statistics and we deal with individuals. The girls and staff worked really hard and deserve a pat on the back.”

To view the full statistics visit the DfE’s website at www.education.gov.uk/schools/performance/index.html