THE number of teenagers in Sheffield who scored at least five Cs at GCSE this year has risen - bucking the national trend which saw overall figures drop for the first time in a decade.
Statistics show city schools are back on track, as the total of young people who gained five GCSEs from A* to C, including English and Maths, rose by six percentage points.
Figures released by the Department of Education show that more than half of the city’s pupils - 55.2 per cent - made the grade in their results this August.
Last year, the figure stood at 49.4 per cent, which led to Sheffield Council being placed 139th out of 152 local authorities in the UK.
It comes at a time when the national average has slumped, from 58.9 per cent in 2011 to 58.6 per cent in 2012, the first fall since the government changed the way it collects the figures.
Education bosses have welcomed the news as proof that work to improve grades, often used as a benchmark by employers or in further education, is having an impact after Sheffield slipped down national tables.
Sheffield jumped to 112th in the rankings following the release of the figures - its biggest one-year leap.
The success has been put down to the dedication of staff at schools such as All Saints Catholic High School in Granville Road, where the crucial pass rate rose from 68 per cent from 50 in 2011.
Bob Sawyer, headteacher at All Saints, said: “The improvement was excellent for All Saints but we ought to recognise as a city the work done by all schools and all headteachers who have worked to bring about significant improvement against a stationary result in terms of the national picture.
“It is a credit to all of the teaching staff at all schools who have helped bring about this for the children of Sheffield.”
The figures also show a boost in the percentage of Sheffield’s young people who made the expected level of progress between the end of primary school and sitting their GCSEs, with 67 per cent of Sheffield’s young people making good progress in English, up two percentage points on last year and compared to a drop of four percentage points nationally.
In Maths, 65 per cent of Sheffield’s pupils made good progress, up seven percentage points from last year compared to an improvement of under four percentage points nationally.
Coun Jackie Drayton, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for children, said: “I’m delighted about the improvements in performance the city has made this year. They are a credit to our young people and the schools that have supported them.
“Our big ambition is to ensure every child and young person in Sheffield achieves their full potential. Closing the gap between Sheffield’s performance and the national average is an important step in the right direction to achieving this.
“We will continue to work with schools, parents, carers and young people to improve still further on these outstanding results.”