Yorkshire improves but school tables show north-south divide in GCSE results remains

Picture: PA
Picture: PA

YORKSHIRE’s SCHOOLS rankings have soared as a result of a shake up of GCSE performance tables, new figures reveal.

The region has traditionally been ranked bottom or close to it in tables showing how many pupils achieve at least five good GCSEs, including English and maths.

However it has fared much better this year a new system introduced by the Department for Education which measures the progress of pupils across eight subjects during their time at secondary school.

Under this Progress 8 system the performance of Yorkshire schools ranked fourth highest out of the nine regions in England.

The change in the rankings does not mean Yorkshire pupils are passing more exams but means that the latest official tables give more recognition to the progress they are making from 11 to 16 compared to others nationally.

Yorkshire has a better progress score than anywhere else in the North or Midlands.

However using the old official measure of pupils getting at least five A* to C grades, including English and maths, Yorkshire schools are still among the worst performers.

DfE figures published today show that 54.9 per cent of pupils in the region achieved this benchmark. This was down slightly on 2015 when 55.1 per cent achieved

Of the nine English regions only the West Midlands and East Midlands had lower scores for pupils getting five good GCSEs including English and maths.

The figures show a North South divide in pupil attainment remains.

Provisional data from this year’s courses show those in London and the south east of England are out-scoring their counterparts across the country.

Some 66.5 per cent of pupils in the outer London catchment scored A* to C in English and maths, ahead of the likes of the South East (65.5 per cent) and inner London (64.7 per cent).

Only 59.9 pe rcent of pupils at schools in the West Midlands achieved the same grades - the worst in England, according to the data - below the Yorkshire awhich scored 60.4 per cent.

Angela Rayner, Labour’s shadow education secretary, described the North-South divide as “deeply concerning”.

She said: “Many children are performing well and we should celebrate the teachers and schools working tirelessly to help children get good grades.

“However it is deeply concerning that children in the North and the Midlands still appear to be lagging behind their southern peers.

“The difference in geography should not mean a difference in attainment - Government plans for more grammar schools will do absolutely nothing to address this.

“We need to be supporting excellent teaching and leadership in all our schools right across the country to drive up standards, and concentrating on making sure all children are given the opportunity to fulfil their potential, not just a lucky few.”

The figures are the first to include the Progress 8 data, the new benchmark based on the progress pupils make from the end of primary school up to their results across eight GCSE subjects.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said: “Today’s data will help parents identify how well the schools in their local area are performing - ensuring they have the best information available to make that important decision on the right secondary school for their child.

“I am pleased to see that there are more GCSEs being taken in the core academic subjects, those that give students the widest range of opportunities.

“Our focus is on removing unnecessary barriers to creating even more good school places and the introduction of Progress 8 scores will ensure we measure schools on how they support every child to achieve their full potential.”