GCSE grades in Hackney have improved significantly, according to new figures. Tower Hamlets and Croydon also saw better results, while Lewisham recorded a decrease in students receiving five or more ‘gold standard’ A*-C grades.
The figures were released last week by the Department for Education.
In Hackney, students achieving the ‘gold standard’ of five or more GCSE A*- C grades (including maths and English), increased by 3.2 per cent to 60.2 per cent. Lewisham, however, recorded a drop of 0.5 per cent to 55.6 percent.
The figures indicate that the national average grade for state-funded schools has increased slightly from 2010/11 as the percentage of pupils achieving the A*-C (including English and Maths) rose 0.6 per cent to 58.8 per cent in 2011/12.
In 2012 Hackney Council regained control of its schools after a contract to oversee the schools with a private company, The Learning Trust, expired. The trust now exists as a department within the council.
Last year Hackney’s GCSE performance was below the national average, but with this year’s improvement they were above the national average of 58.8 per cent.
The best performing school in Hackney was Mossbourne Community Academy, famous for delivering some of England’s best state school results.
The figures indicate that their new principal Peter Hughes has built on the success after succeeding Sir Michael Wilshaw in 2012.
The students improved their performance by 7 per cent to 89 per cent of students achieving five or more A*-C grades.
Meanwhile Lewisham is the only ELL borough to have declining results, and also to have failed to meet the national average benchmark.
In a statement, Lewisham Council referred to last year’s marking controversy, when Ofqual raised grade boundaries to compensate for generous marking.
“We are pleased that many schools in Lewisham achieved their best ever results and that overall Lewisham is continuing to make good progress in the GCSE exam results.
“There was a very slight drop in the overall results this year, but the unfair downgrading of the GCSE English exam paper last summer, affecting more than 150 students, will have had an impact.”
Martin Powell-Davies, Secretary of the National Union of Teachers in Lewisham also attributed the drop in grade averages to the English exams. He told EastLondonLines:
“The 2012 figures will also have been skewed by the unfair shifting of the grade boundaries in English and other GCSE subjects, against which a legal challenge has been lodged by Local Authorities, the NUT and other concerned parties.”
However, in spite of the downgrading of English results , the national average GCSE performance in fact improved, as did the results in the majority of EastLondonLines boroughs,
Powell-Davies feels that the drop could be over-interpreted: “The figures may indicate a very slight drop in Lewisham but, London’s schools have been showing a consistently upward trend in GCSE results.”
“This is a remarkable success, particularly given the poverty and pressures facing many families living in the capital.”
Croydon and Tower Hamlets achieved the highest number of pupils receiving five A*-C grades, including English and Maths, out of the ELL boroughs. Grades in Croydon increased by 1.2 per cent to 62.2 per cent in the GCSE student performance. In Tower Hamlets, the number increased by 0.3 per cent to 61.8 per cent.
Some of the high performers In Croydon are Harris City Academy Crystal Palace with 99 per cent and Coloma Convent Girls’ School with 94 per cent of students attaining at least five or more A*-C grades.
EastLondonLines reported in December 2012 on the poor exam result at Croydon’s Westwood Girls’ College and the proposal of turning it into an academy. The final statistics show that their 35 per cent figure is the lowest in EastLondonLines boroughs.
Amongst the high performers in Tower Hamlets were Sir John Cass Foundation and Redcoat Church of England Secondary School with 82 per cent and Mulberry School for Girls gaining 74 per cent.
In terms of expected progress in English and Maths between Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4, students in all of the four EastLondonLines boroughs are making better progress than the national average. Nationally the figures are 68 per cent of pupils making expected progress in English and 68.7 per cent in Maths.