Suffolk GCSE results blow

LESS than half of Suffolk's 16-year-olds are leaving school with five GCSEs at the A*-C standard, new league tables published today will reveal.

Tom Potter

LESS than half of Suffolk's 16-year-olds are leaving school with five GCSEs at the A*-C standard, new league tables published today will reveal.

The figures - which put the county's standards below the national average - are another blow to education chiefs who are trying to increase student achievement.

And it comes just days after it was revealed the county's 11-year-olds are seriously under-performing at Key Stage Two level.

Suffolk ranked a lowly 124th out of 152 local authorities in average points scored per pupil at GCSE or equivalent level, while an average of only 48.7percent of pupils were awarded at least five A* to C grades including English and maths.

But Suffolk County Council's schools chief Graham Newman said he was “100percent supportive” of the action plan currently being followed and was confident results will improve in 2010.

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Results were more favourable for the council at higher education level with Suffolk coming 32nd of 152 local authorities for average A-level points scored per candidate.

Though GCSE successes were achieved by privately funded schools in Ipswich, state run schools generally faired poorly, with two high schools - Chantry and Holywells - ranked among the bottom 200 in the country.

Orwell High in Felixstowe and The Denes High in Lowestoft also finished in the bottom 200, while Stoke High School, Ipswich, was one of the worst 200 for persistent absence.

Kirkley High, in Lowestoft, fell into the bottom 100 state schools nationally, according to measures used to assess 11-16-year-olds which take into account the impact certain external factors have on the progress of individual pupils.

Mr Newman said the council needed to be innovative in its approach to ensuring all Suffolk children achieve their full potential, adding: “We need to raise our expectations and aspirations for improved attainment for Suffolk children, to equip them for the future. We are confident results will improve in 2010.”

Sally Rundell, assistant director of learning and improvement, said targeted schools had so far responded well to school improvement service advisers, adding: “Head teachers are determined to focus on key strategies to raise attainment for Suffolk pupils.”

The news wasn't all bad for the regions schools, some of which performed well, including Haverhill's Castle Manor business and enterprise college and Holbrook High School which both ranked among the top 200 improved schools.

Ipswich High School and Ipswich School were listed in the top 200 schools of any type at GCSE level, an achievement acknowledged by Ipswich School head Ian Galbraith, who said: “What matters to us hugely are the things that aren't measured by league tables.

“Our key ethos is that children can work hard and play hard and still do well. Academic success is not diminished by enjoying sport, music or drama.

“We are very proud to be an Ipswich school with a strong community feel.”

Ranked by the average percentage of candidates getting at least five A* to C grades at GCSE, including English and maths.

A = Average percentage of pupils getting at least five A* to C grades at GCSE or equivalent including English and maths

B = Local authority's average points score per pupil at GCSE or equivalent

Suffolk is 91st out of 152 for A and 124th out of 152 for B


Cambridgeshire 56.2 408.8

Essex 50.2 411.0

Norfolk 50.0 394.4

SUFFOLK 48.7 401.5

Click here to see the league tables for SuffolkClick here to see the Suffolk tables