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School league tables offer cold comfort for Tenbury and Ludlow
HOPES remain that a High Court decision will put right a wrong that put a stain on the record of Tenbury High School.
National performance league tables have been released ahead of the decision whether to overturn controversial English exam results that reflect badly, and it is claimed unfairly on the school.
Tenbury High School – a specialist science and mathematics college – was particularly badly affected by the changes to the marking of English examinations.
As it stands, 47 per cent of Tenbury High School students achieved the Government benchmark of five GCSE passes at grades A-C.
This was compared with the 64 per cent that would have been the case if examiners had not moved the goal posts.
“We had our best exam results ever but these were hugely distorted by the fiasco of the marking of English papers,” said headteacher Stuart Cook.
“The school had some remarkable results with a 100 per cent pass rate in subjects like biology, chemistry and physics where we also had pass rates of over 80 per cent at grades A and A star.”
Another major impact has been a huge discrepancy in the apparent performance of boys and girls.
The figures show at Tenbury High School 60 per cent of girls achieved five passes at A-C including English and Maths it was just 35 per cent for boys.
Whilst nationally girls normally do slightly better than boys Mr Cook believes that there were particular reasons why the difference was so great at Tenbury.
“By a quirk we had an exceptionally gifted cohort of high achieving girls but on top of this it was the boys that were mostly badly affected by the issue with the English exams.”
Ken Pollock, who represents Tenbury on Worcestershire County Council and is a governor at the school, is angry about the way the marking was changed.
“It was quite wrong the way in which the marking boundaries were changed and set a very bad example to children who need to be able to respect the integrity of the examinations system,”he said.
He believes that a harsher marking regime was applied in the summer of 2012 to cor rect undue leniency in the past and that this was unfair in correcting one wrong with another.
It is not known when the High Court judgement on the marking of the English papers will be released.
Another bitter pill to swallow for Ludlow school
DISAPPOINTING figures in a national league table of exam performance of schools have rubbed salt into the wounds created by last year’s re-grading chaos for Ludlow School.
Students across the region are still waiting for the English marking fiasco to be resolved after schools throughout the country were af fected by changes in the marking rules for GCSE examinations last summer.
The issue is now awaiting a High Court adjudication but has left schools in Ludlow and other south Shropshire market towns feeling hard done by.
And now the latest league tables published last week show the number of pupils at Ludlow School achieving five or more GCSE passes at A-C grades, including maths and English is 48 per cent, a drop of nine per cent on the previous year – worse than was predicted.
However, headteacher Phil Poulton, despite being “frustrated and angry” for those who took exams in June, is keen to not read too much into the figures, given the re-grading issue.
“Though English results did dip nationally, it was possibly not such a big issue for us, with us being only six per cent below the prediction,” he said.
“The June grade boundary changes cost us up to 11 per cent overall. However, our English language results have always been very similar to our literature results, which rose by eight per cent to our best-ever level.
“So, we remain very disappointed that instead of getting our best-ever English language results we ended up with a dip. “The local authority and Ofsted have always acknowledged the high quality of English at the school, yet this was not reflected by the June results.
“If we had entered our students in January we would be talking about our best ever results – it is clearly wrong that games have been played with students and their qualifications. It is those students, and students nationally who took the June examination, for whom I feel frustrated and angry.
“In literature, out of the entire year group re-mark in September, 65 per cent had their marks increased – those initial types of mistakes are clearly unacceptable.
“All we can do is work harder than ever, in terms of teaching, learning and revision, so as to ensure that even if this happens again, students in Shropshire are not affected.”
Based upon the results as they stand 48 per cent of students at Ludlow School achieved five or more GCSE passes at grade A-C including English and Maths, nine per cent down on last year.
Ludlow School reversed the position in almost every other school with 52 per cent of boys gaining the benchmark pass level compared with 45 per cent of girls who almost always do better.
At Bishops Castle Community College the overall performance was much better than in 2011, with 57 per cent of students gaining five or more A-C grades including English and Maths, compared with 50 per cent a year earlier.
And the more usual better performance of girls over boys reassured itself with 67 per cent of girls achieving the benchmark compared with 47 per cent of boys.
At Lacon Childe School in Cleobury Mortimer 57 per cent of pupils got five or more A-C grades including English and Maths.
The girls outperformed the boys by a narrow margin.
Statistically Church Stretton School topped the league in south Shropshire with 68 per cent of students gaining the benchmark grades, which was slightly better than in 2011.
However, the girls outshone the boys with a 75 per cent success compared with 64 per cent for their male counterparts.
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