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New GCSE school league tables welcomed by head

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 02, 2011

Christine Thompson

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A HEAD teacher has welcomed the publication of test results she claims ‘will give parents a clearer view of what examination success means in Burton’.

Christine Thompson, who leads Abbot Beyne School in Osborne Street, Winshill, spoke after the Government released the first rankings of schools’ performance in GCSEs to exclude equivalent qualifications such as BTECs and GNVQs.

The move is part of a restructuring of league tables designed to give parents a clearer picture of school standards.

It has been taken in the light of concerns that vocational courses are not as academically demanding as GCSEs and that some pupils are being pushed into taking them to boost league table rankings.

Under the old-style league tables, which show the percentage of pupils gaining five A* to C grades including non-GCSE vocational equivalents, Abbot Beyne comes bottom in the Burton area with 65 per cent.

It trails De Ferrers Academy (82), John Taylor High School (81), Paulet High School (76), Blessed Robert Sutton Catholic Sports College (74), Thomas Alleyne’s High School (70) and Paget High School (66).

However, under the new GCSE-only tables, Abbot Beyne is third with 62 per cent, behind John Taylor (74) and Thomas Alleyne’s (64), but above Paulet (60), Blessed Robert Sutton (58), De Ferrers (52) and Paget (42).

Mrs Thompson said: “We welcome the publication of further details which will give parents a clearer view of what examination success means in the town.

“We have always taken the view that we have a duty to offer our students courses and qualifications that are valued, have currency and will keep pathways open for them.

“Our approach is in line with Government thinking and our success is at last acknowledged.”

The different pictures of examination success given by the two types of league tables are highlighted further when Abbot Beyne is compared against their respective national averages.

Under the tables which include vocational qualifications, 75.4 per cent of pupils achieve five A* to C grades — well above the Winshill school’s 65 per cent.

However, under the table which ranks schools according to GCSE results only, the national average is 56 per cent — well below Abbot Beyne’s 62 per cent.

Vocational subjects include qualifications such as retail, hospitality, sport and travel and tourism.

Some counted in league tables are thought to be worth the same as four GCSEs, despite taking half the time to teach.

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  • Burton Mail  |  April 03 2011, 2:44PM

    This surprised me a lot. Paget being at the bottom of the new league table? I went to Paget, and left sixth form in 2009. When my year did our GCSE's, we were told we were one of the highest schools on the table. But now, to learn that after nearly three years of leaving Paget, to hear that the GCSE's have gone downhill? Shock is an understatement. Is it because the pupils don't want to learn, and pass them or is it due to the teaching?