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The number of underperforming secondary schools rises

Posted on: Thursday, January 29th, 2015

The number of state secondary schools said to be underperforming has doubled, it has been revealed.

School performance data released by the Department for Education – based on last summer's exam results – showed that around 330 schools failed to get 40 per cent of pupils gaining five good GCSEs including English and maths, and meet the expected standards.

This represents a substantial rise from the 154 recorded last year.

Despite the fact that exams have been changed to become more challenging and resits have been banned from school tables, very little improvement has been seen.

This means that only a student's first attempt at a qualification is included for league table purposes. This was aimed at ending the practice of schools entering pupils for resits to boost their ranking.

Commenting, education secretary Nicky Morgan said: "For too long pupils were offered courses of no value to them and schools felt pressured to enter young people for exams before they were ready.

"By stripping out thousands of poor quality qualifications and removing resits from tables, some schools have seen changes in their standings.But fundamentally young people's achievement matters more than being able to trumpet ever higher grades."

In addition, the scores of some of the top private schools have ended up bottom of the tables.

This includes even some of the most established schools such as Eton, Harrow, Winchester and St Paul's Boys'.

In fact, leading schools, such as Cheltenham Ladies' College, Eton, Harrow, Winchester, Oundle and Marlborough, are now reported as having no percentage of pupils attaining the government's benchmark of five GCSEs at grades A*-C including maths and English.

On average just 56.6 per cent of pupils in state schools in England achieved five GCSE passes including maths and English last year.

This represents a drop of four percentage points on 2013, when 60.6 per cent of pupils in state schools achieved the standard.