District schools say league tables don’t provide the whole picture

GCSE students at Christ's Hospital
GCSE students at Christ's Hospital

SCHOOLS across the district have criticised official league tables showing GCSE exam results even though they are achieving well above the government’s set target.

The UK league table published last Thursday showed that 107 secondary schools in England failed to meet the government’s basic targets of a student pass rate of 35 per cent.

West Sussex was ranked 65th out of 152; higher than East Sussex at 70th and Brighton at 129th.

Eight schools in the Horsham district achieved more than the county average of 68 per cent, with an average of 78 per cent.

Results in the district ranged from 100 per cent at The Towers Convent School in Upper Beeding to 60 per cent at Steyning Grammar School.

The statistics reveal the proportion of candidates getting five A* to C grades at GCSE including English and Maths in 2010 and 2011.

However, schools in the district have called the results from 2010 ‘misleading’ and ‘incorrect’.

For example, charitable private school Christ’s Hospital was shown to have no pupils passing GCSE maths in 2010, but a 97 per cent pass rate last year.

The Weald in Billingshurst and private girls’ school Farlington School at Broadbridge Heath were both shown to have large jumps in achievement between the 2010 to 2011 too.

The schools put this down to the league tables not including statistics in 2010 for candidates who received five A*-C grades in their IGCSEs (International GCSEs).

Sean O’Boyle, director of studies at Christ’s Hospital, told the County Times that the International GCSE is an ‘exceptionally rigorous qualification which places particular emphasis on terminal examination assessment, while reducing or eliminating coursework’.

It is thought that the IGCSEs act as good groundwork for students going on to take A-Levels.

Read what the schools have to say and the full story in today’s County Times.