As many questions as answers over new GCSE tables

PUBLISHED: 12:04 31 January 2007 | UPDATED: 14:25 07 September 2010

THE government s new tables of GCSE results have tested Haringey s schools to the limit. A national benchmark of the number of pupils gaining five A* to C passes included English and maths for the first time this year, causing several schools to plummet d

THE government's new tables of GCSE results have tested Haringey's schools to the limit.

A national benchmark of the number of pupils gaining five A* to C passes included English and maths for the first time this year, causing several schools to plummet down the league.

Greig City Academy in Hornsey found itself at the bottom of the class with just 15 per cent making the new grade. It has now been rated one of the worst schools in the country.

But when it came to value-added scores (which measures pupils' improvement) Greig's was the best in the borough (1028.3) and in the top six per cent in the country. And the school's overall GCSE pass rate, which saw 61 per cent of pupils gain five good GCSEs regardless of English and maths, was above the national average.

Deputy headteacher David Hearn said the new benchmark is causing confusion and does not adequately reflect students' achievements.

He said: "The results (for five A* to C grades including English and maths) were disappointing. But league tables are never a level playing field.

"Twenty-five per cent of the kids who sat those exams here started after year 9, and half of them had English as a second language, so they were competing with students who have lived here since birth and speak English at home. We were at a disadvantage.

"Performance tables fulfil an important role but you do need to look beyond them. Greig was in the top six per cent of schools in the country for value added, which tells a totally different story."

Highgate Wood School also fell below the national average with 43 per cent of students getting five A* to C grades including English and maths.

Headteacher Patrick Cozier said: "What has happened here is not significantly different to the national average (48.2 per cent).

"The results in English and maths are generally strong, most students do leave with a grade C or above in both, but they don't always have the other three subjects to go with them.

"Our results under the new measure have been going up every single year, and that demonstrates the commitment we have to helping students get those grades."

Mr Cozier added: "The main issue about results is to look in terms of the progress of students across the five years.

"The overwhelming majority of our students met the targets this year - next year I hope they will exceed them."

The school has started to organise extra revision classes and will be providing more support to students to try and ensure better results this summer.

At Fortismere in Muswell Hill 65 per cent of students gained five good GCSEs including English and maths. The national average was 45.8 per cent. But the percentage of pupils gaining five A to Cs, irrespective of the two core subjects was 71- down from 77 per cent last year.

Councillor Liz Santry said: "All our schools are working hard in helping their students improve their skills in English and maths.

"Our new sixth form college will also be offering courses in English and maths. I am confident that Haringey will continue to make very good progress in closing the gap with national results."

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