The latest GCSE performance data released from the government show improvements in education provision in Norfolk and Suffolk.
The annual performance league tables, judged on the government’s ‘gold standard’ of pupils attaining at least five A*-C grades including maths and English, is the last time schools will be ranked in this format.
It is heartening across Suffolk to see improvements in progressAndrew Bloom
From next year schools will be ranked on a broader range of results across eight subjects, dubbed Progress 8.
The latest figures, released by the Department for Education (DfE) yesterday, show that in Suffolk, 54.5 per cent of pupils in the summer gained that gold standard, compared to the national number of 57.1 per cent for state funded schools.
Suffolk increased its performance by 2.8 per cent while in Norfolk, 54.9 per cent made that standard, an improvement on the 2014 figure of 52.7 per cent.
In 2014 the national figure was 56.6 per cent — which means both authorities are closing the national gap.
Hartismere School came top of the class in Suffolk out of all the state funded schools in the county, with 76 per cent meeting the government’s target, while at Stradbroke High School there was an increase of 16 per cent making the grade, rising from 54 per cent in 2014 to 70 per cent in the summer.
Stradbroke High School headteacher Andrew Bloom said while he was pleased GCSE results had improved as shown by the raw results, it was the progress data of pupils he felt was more important.
Mr Bloom’s school was ranked fourth in the county using this method, with a value added (VA) score of 1038.6. It is calculated by measuring the progress made by pupils from the end of Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 4, using their best eight exam results, including maths and English bonuses. Measures above 1000 represent schools where pupils on average made more progress than similar pupils nationally, while measures below 1000 represents less progress.
Four Suffolk schools in the Diss Express area in this category were placed among the top eight in the county.
“It is heartening across Suffolk to see improvements in progress,” he said. “It is being seen as key more by the DfE and Ofsted, and is more important than raw results.
“For parents, it is important to have access and understand that schools are adding value and if they are, how much are they adding to the children.”
Regarding the introduction of the new measuring system for schools from next year, Mr Bloom added: “I think that if you have got good teaching in the school, and you are offering a balanced curriculum, I don’t think it will have much of an effect on results.
“Progress 8 has been highlighted in the last two or three years and we have had our Progress 8 shadow data anyway and it looks very positive for the schools in this area.”
Diss High School was placed seventh of all schools in Norfolk, with 66 per cent of pupils achieving five A*-C including maths and English.
In more positive education news, not one school in the Diss Express area was deemed to be “underperforming” by the government, when fewer than 40 per cent of pupils meet the ‘gold’ standard.
2015 GCSE Results - ‘gold’ standard / value added score
Norfolk: Diss High School - 66 per cent / 1025.8
Old Buckenham High School - 62 per cent / 1006.1
Attleborough Academy - 61 per cent / 1019.5
Archbishop Sancroft High School - 54 per cent / 1011.0
Long Stratton High School - 53 per cent / 972.4
Suffolk: Hartismere School - 76 per cent / 1029.5
Thomas Mills High School - 72 per cent / 1028.0
Stradbroke High School - 70 per cent / 1038.6
Debenham High School - 68 per cent / 1031.2