Camden’s Education chief defends borough’s low post-16 results as league tables are released

Cllr Angela Mason and Cllr Oliver Cooper. Picture: Sam Volpe/Jessica Franks-Keyes

Cllr Angela Mason and Cllr Oliver Cooper. Picture: Sam Volpe/Jessica Franks-Keyes - Credit: Archant

Pupils at Camden’s sixth forms and colleges are among the lowest achieving in the country, new figures show.

According to statistics released by the government on A-levels and 16-18 results, pupils finishing post-16 education in the borough have an average point score (APS) of 28.11. This is an equivalent to a low-grade C.

It puts the borough at the bottom of the league tables, only being propped up by Sandwell in the West Midlands, Swindon, and Southhampton and Portsmouth.

Neighbours Haringey fared better, with 32.26, Westminster had 34.37 and Barnet made it into the national top-10 with 35.85, which compares to a low B grade. Camden had the most entries in inner London with 2,228.

The numbers are worked out by awarding points for each qualification. The sum of these is then divided by the number of qualifications they have done.

Camden Council's schools chief Angela Mason said the figures are "not a like-for-life comparison" and praised its sixth form results.

She said: "We are very proud of the achievements of our family of schools and further education colleges. I was particularly pleased by the results at LaSWAP, the joint sixth form for four Camden secondary schools - Acland Burghley, William Ellis, Parliament Hill and La Sainte Union - which increased by 3 points, 29.7 to 32.9, from their 2018 figures.

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"The provisional figures show that the average points score per A-level entry in Camden in 2019 [in sixth forms] is higher than the previous year - up from 29.5 to 32.58, despite significant changes to the exams nationally over the last three years.

"A significant number of students in colleges also do not live in Camden or attended Camden schools pre-16, which [...] mean they are distorted and not a like-for-like comparison."

Camden's Conservative opposition leader, Cllr Oliver Cooper accused education bosses at the town hall of being in denial.

He said: "Camden has buried its head like an ostrich with its problems. It has been in denial about its declining school standards for quite a long time. It has missed opportunities that other schools have taken up. Reports put forward by officers and cabinet members claim everything is hunky dory, but it's not."

He added that the school's leadership needed to be trusted more and given more free reign from the council, suggesting that the free school and academy model would allow them to do this.

He said: "Camden has one outstanding secondary school, Camden School for Girls. It's renowned nationally for the high academic standards and serious traditional curriculum that it has.

"While that's not a free school or an academy, it has more freedom to make decisions. There is not a high amount of trust put in school leadership. It's the one thing that the borough is rated very highly on. They should have more power and control over their schools."

There will be a debate at Camden Council's last meeting of the year on November 25.