North Somerset schools fall short of national average as GCSE results tables released

GCSE pupils were given grades 9-1 for the first time this year in English and maths.

GCSE pupils were given grades 9-1 for the first time this year in English and maths. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The newly-released GCSE provisional results show only two North Somerset schools scored above the national average for pupil progress.

The Department for Education has released tables which compare how schools performed in the new progress 8 and attainment 8 measures.

All schools in North Somerset achieved above the attainment 8 national average, but four of the six schools in the area fell below the national average when it came to progress.

Progress 8 measures a school based on how its pupils’ develop, looking at their results at the end of primary school compared to the end of secondary school.

The attainment measure looks at a student’s average grade across eight subjects, with English and maths counting twice. A school’s attainment 8 score is made of the average of all its students’ scores.

Backwell School topped the table for development, securing 0.21, compared to the national average of zero, while Nailsea School fell short, scoring -0.51.

However when the number of pupils scoring A*-C including English and maths are compared, the standings change.

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Backwell School still tops North Somerset schools with 78 per cent of pupils achieving five or more A*-C and 9-4 grades but Nailsea is comfortably in the middle of the table with 65 per cent.

Gordano School was the only other school in the area to surpass the national average for progress, scoring 0.19.

This year saw the introduction of the new 9-1 GCSE grading system, which was rolled out nationwide in English and maths.

It saw pupils receive a numbered grade in the two core subjects, where a 4 is considered a pass and the higher the number, the better the achievement.

The A*-U grading system was still used for other subjects but this will cease to exist by 2018.

Jon Reddiford, North Somerset’s secretary for the National Union of Teachers said they were ‘not happy’ with the new method of comparing schools.

He added: “In effect this forces schools to push students into studying the ‘traditional’ subjects and few others.

“The results are not necessarily a true reflection, as there are so many other factors such as students being on appropriate courses, class size, amount of teaching time and access to textbooks and resources which with funding cuts is increasingly tricky.”