GCSE Results: It’s only going to get tougher

Good work: From the left Tom Stubbs, Jessica Lowe, Emily Thompson, Emma Garner, Faye Lowe, Victoria Clegg and Cherrie Bilton celebrated success but Sheffield Springs Academy is still in the Government's official danger zone.
Good work: From the left Tom Stubbs, Jessica Lowe, Emily Thompson, Emma Garner, Faye Lowe, Victoria Clegg and Cherrie Bilton celebrated success but Sheffield Springs Academy is still in the Government's official danger zone.
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SIX Sheffield secondaries remain in the Government’s official danger zone, a final analysis of this year’s GCSE results has revealed.

Last summer Education Secretary Michael Gove said at least 35 per cent of pupils needed to be achieving five A*-C passes, including all-important English and maths.

That rate was up on the 30 per cent demanded by the previous Labour government and which had been in place for several years.

CLASS ACT: Find out how South Yorkshire students did in our GCSE results special pull out - only in The Star today, Tuesday, August 30.

Schools consistently failing to make the grade - referred to by ministers as a ‘floor target’ - could in future be forced to turn into academies or could be taken over by a successful neighbouring school.

The six city schools still below 35 per cent are Sheffield Springs Academy, Parkwood Academy, Newfield, Hinde House, Firth Park and Chaucer.

A seventh school, Abbeydale Grange, also only achieved a 26 per cent pass rate but has now closed.

Chaucer had the worst results in the city with a pass rate of 25 per cent, down five on 2010.

City education chiefs have already taken action to sort out problems there by twinning it with Tapton, with the Crosspool school’s headteacher David Bowes stepping in to give advice and guidance. In the longer term Mr Bowes hopes to steer Chaucer to academy status.

Firth Park’s results took a tumble this year, down nine per cent to 26, while Newfield dropped 10 per cent to 34.

Hinde House remained static on 34 per cent, while Springs was down one per cent on 31. Parkwood was up three per cent, from 28 to 31.

It will be an even tougher challenge for city schools next summer as Mr Gove is planning to increase the floor target still further to 40 per cent to tackle what he calls a ‘culture of low expectations’.

And by 2015 schools will be expected to be hitting the 50 per cent mark - currently roughly the average for all Sheffield schools put together. Several poor results across the city this year mean Sheffield is unlikely to make significant progress when national league tables are compiled at the end of the year.

Fir Vale, previously a notable success story, saw its pass rate dip seven per cent to 40, while All Saints RC High was down nine on 51.

Coun Jackie Drayton, Cabinet member for children, young people and families, said she expected the city’s final aggregate pass rate to be around 50 per cent.

“This will provide a good solid foundation for future progress in the city,” she added.