Friday, January 16, 2009

British Labour's children fail to make the grade at GCSE: Half leave school unable to read, write or add properly

Fewer than half of teenagers finish compulsory schooling with a basic set of GCSE qualifications and one in five fails to gain a single C grade, official figures revealed yesterday. Results for the first pupils to go through their entire education under Labour show that more than 340,000 16-year-olds failed to meet the Government's secondary school benchmark - five GCSEs at C grade or higher including English and maths. More than 135,000 failed to achieve even one C grade last summer.

The figures also show that more than 375,000 secondary pupils - around one in seven - are being taught in comprehensives which Gordon Brown has threatened with closure unless their results improve. A total of 440 schools face being shut down or taken over if their GCSE performance fails to get better by a 2011 deadline. Nearly a third of these schools expect to remain in the doldrums at least until 2010 - putting them at grave risk of closure, according to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Last year, just 47.6 per cent of candidates finished compulsory schooling with a basic mastery of the three Rs and three other GCSE subjects or their vocational equivalent. Results were up on 2007 but progress is half what it needs to be if ministers are to meet a 53 per cent Treasury target set for 2011. The figures also showed that 21 per cent of pupils failed to achieve a single C grade in any GCSE subject, although five per cent achieved C grade standards in vocational qualifications deemed equivalent.

At the other end of the spectrum, one in seven schoolchildren - 14.2 per cent - achieved three A grades at A-level. Grammars, faith schools and part-private academies were revealed as more effective at raising exam standards than so-called 'bog-standard comprehensives'. But the figures for GCSEs suggested attainment in the core subjects such as the three Rs is rising more slowly than for other subjects. The proportion gaining any five GCSEs rose almost four percentage points but the numbers able to count English and maths towards those five qualifications - the Government's preferred measure - went up just 1.3 points. Fewer than one in three students achieved at least a C in a modern foreign language.

The national data, was published ahead of school-by-school tables due out today. The Prime Minister set a minimum standard in 2007 requiring schools to ensure at least 30 per cent of pupils achieve the secondary performance benchmark, and identified 638 schools which fell below the threshold. Under the National Challenge scheme, they are given extra help and monitoring - sometimes including conversion into academies - to ensure they meet the deadline. A total of 440 schools, educating some 375,000 youngsters, remain below the threshold and figures from local councils show that 59 out of 214 schools for which predictions were made are expected still to be languishing below 30 per cent in 2010.

Schools Secretary Ed Balls will attempt to reinvigorate the National Challenge programme today. 'We need to continue to concentrate on the remaining schools and ensure we are giving them the support and challenge they need to make sure no child is left behind,' he said. But Tory schools spokesman Michael Gove said: 'Sadly, too many children are still being educated at schools which the Prime Minister classes as failing, and the gap between richer and poorer schools is widening.'


And these are the schools that Britain's sub-moronic socialists want to abolish:

Grammar schools are taxpayer supported but their pupils are selected for admission on the basis of proven scholastic ability, which is only partly true of private ("independent") schools

Grammar school pupils outperformed their privately educated counterparts at A level by a record margin last summer, piling more pressure on the beleaguered fee-paying sector. As the recession forces many middle-class families to question whether they can afford private education, new figures reveal that the average grammar school pupil attained 73 more A-level points than those educated privately. The points system, in which an A grade is worth 270 points, is used by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service to assess applications to higher education.

The latest statistics, based on last year's results, show that a quarter of all grammar school pupils achieved at least three A grades at A level, the highest level to date. The average A-level score achieved by grammar pupils was 966, compared with 893 in the independent sector. Independent schools still have a higher percentage of straight-A pupils, but the gap has narrowed.

It was another record crop of exam results, with the largest annual increase in GCSE top grades in almost 20 years. Nearly two thirds of pupils (65.3 per cent) were awarded five good GCSEs (A* to C), up from 63.3 per cent and the biggest jump since 1990.

Comprehensives scored an average of 727.8 A-level points per pupil, while the average for the state sector as a whole was 757.4. The proportion of pupils passing the Government's tough new threshold of at least five C grades including English and maths rose 1.3 percentage points to 47.6 per cent. It still means that fewer than half of all pupils achieved the standard. About 100,000 pupils failed to gain at least one Grade C. Only half of pupils attained two science GCSEs and only a third passed a modern language. Girls strengthened their dominance. Almost 70 per cent gained at least five good GCSEs, compared with 60.9 per cent of boys.

About one in eight A-level candidates achieved at least three A grades. More girls got A grades in A-level maths, further maths, physics, chemistry and economics than boys. Boys did better at A level in modern languages, usually a female strength.

Nearly a third of the schools threatened by the Government with closure last summer face a reprieve after improving. Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, categorised 638 schools as "National Challenge" institutions last year because fewer than 30 per cent of pupils achieved five good GCSEs. That has dropped by a third to 440. John Dunford, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "The focus on raising achievement in these schools, particularly in maths and English, is producing results and it is regrettable that the task was made more difficult by the . . . torrent of consultants, plans and meetings that followed."

State school successes included Perry Beeches, in Birmingham, named last year as one of the worst performing schools but now one of the most improved. It went from having 21 per cent of pupils achieve five good GCSEs to 51 per cent.


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