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Drop in GCSE results for Camden state schools blamed on marking scandal

12:00 01 February 2013

Cllr Angela Mason.

Cllr Angela Mason.

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Camden Council’s education chief has blamed a drop in GCSE grades across the borough’s state schools on last summer’s national marking scandal.

Friends Anna Gausen (left) and Lucie Haines celebrate recieving their GCSE results at top performing South Hampstead High School last summer. Picture: Nigel Sutton.Friends Anna Gausen (left) and Lucie Haines celebrate recieving their GCSE results at top performing South Hampstead High School last summer. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Every state secondary in the borough performed worse in 2012 compared with the previous year’s results – except for Maria Fidelis Roman Catholic Convent School and Regent High School, both based in Somers Town.

The results, published by the Department for Education (DfE) last week, show Maria Fidelis enjoyed a nine per cent improvement on its 2011 GCSE results, with 67 per cent of pupils achieving five A* to C grades, including English and Maths.

Regent High performed even better, with 62 per cent of pupils achieving five A* to C grades in 2012, a 13 per cent rise on the previous year.

But Cllr Angela Mason, Camden cabinet member for children, insisted both schools performed better than the rest because they avoided last summer’s GCSE English marking scandal by entering their pupils into January exams.

She said: “There’s no doubt that the GCSE results were disappointing for some schools in Camden. A number of the schools were affected by the marking scandal.

“There’s quite a distinct difference between schools that put their kids in for the January exams and schools that put their kids [forward] in the summer when the marking boundaries changed.”

Tens of thousands of GCSE pupils nationwide chose to resit English exams after a decision from AQA and Edexcel exam boards to increase the boundary for a grade C in GCSE English between January and June.

The decision left many pupils with lower than expected grades.

Unsurprisingly, the DfE figures revealed independent schools topped the GCSE and A-level league tables across Camden and Haringey.

Channing all-girls school and Highgate School, both in Highgate, were the best performing schools in Haringey, while University College School and all-girls South Hampstead High School, both in Hampstead, topped the tables in Camden.

All four schools had 100 per cent of pupils achieving five A* to C grades including maths and English at GCSE.

However Henrietta Barnett School, in Hampstead Garden Suburb, lived up to its reputation as one of the best state schools in the country, as pupils achieved even better results than the top four independent schools.

All students at Henrietta Barnett achieved five A* to C grades including maths and English at GCSE and the school had the highest average A-level points score across Barnet, Camden and Haringey.

Camden’s top performing state school at GCSE was La Sainte Union Catholic Secondary in Dartmouth Park for the second year running, with a 70 per cent pass rate, while Haverstock School in Chalk Farm had the lowest GCSE pass rate at 48 per cent.

Pupils at Camden School for Girls, in Kentish Town, topped the A-level results tables with the highest average point score of 886.2.

In Haringey, Fortismere School, in Muswell Hill, was the borough’s best performing state secondary, with a GCSE pass rate of 73 per cent and average A-level points score of 862.2.

Greig City Academy in Hornsey had the lowest GCSE pass rate at 44 per cent, but improved significantly on its 2011 pass rate of 37 per cent.

Last week’s DfE figures also include the government’s new English Baccalaureate (EBacc) performance indicator, seen as the template to replace GCSEs in the future.

It measures the percentage of students in a school who achieve grades A* to C in English, mathematics, two sciences, a foreign language and history or geography at GCSE level.

This year’s figures also include a brand new performance indicator measuring the percentage of pupils at each school achieving three A-levels at AAB grade or higher.

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