London authorities among best-performing for GCSEs

09:30 24 January 2013

The Department for Education released data showing schools

The Department for Education released data showing schools' GCSE and A-level performance. File picture: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

London is home to seven of the 10 local authorities with the highest percentages of pupils receiving top GCSE grades.

The Department for Education (DfE) today released data showing performance in GCSEs and A-levels for all schools and colleges in England.

Among the authorities which had the highest percentages of pupils getting at least five A* to C grades at GCSE and equivalent qualifications, including English and maths, were Kensington and Chelsea, Sutton, Redbridge, Kingston upon Thames, Westminster, Barnet and Bromley.

In Kensington and Chelsea 79.6 per cent of pupils achieved the measure, making it the second best performing authority behind the Scilly Isles.

Sutton was third with 75.9 per cent of pupils getting at least five A* to C grades and GCSE and equivalent qualifications, with Redbridge in fifth with 70.6 per cent.

Kingston upon Thames was sixth with 70.1 per cent, Westminster seventh with 69.9 per cent, Barnet ninth with 69.2 per cent and Bromley 10th with 68.9 per cent.

A-level performance data was also released. This showed just one London authority, Sutton, in the top 10 authorities as ranked by the average A-level points score per student. Sutton’s students achieved an average of 832.4 points, placing it second nationally behind Reading, where the average points score per pupil was 871.2.

The A-level results come the day after Education Secretary Michael Gove announced plans to separate AS-levels from A-levels.

Teenagers taking A-levels will no longer sit exams after one year, and will instead be tested at the end of their two-year course.

The new A-levels will be taught from September 2015, which is the same time as GCSEs are set to be replaced with new English Baccalaureate Certificates (EBCs).

The plans have been criticised for “turning the clock back” by Shadow Education Secretary Stephen Twigg, while Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), also sounded a note of warning, describing the plans as “a classic case of fixing something that isn’t broken”.

Nationally the data released today shows that one in four schools and colleges are not producing any students with top grades in subjects that will help them win a place at a leading university.

In total, 195 schools in England, collectively teaching around 167,000 children, are falling below the government’s new floor target for secondaries, the figures show.

This means that less than 40 per cent of their pupils are gaining at least five GCSEs at grade C or higher, including English and maths, and students are not making good enough progress in these two core subjects.

For the first time this year, the government has also published figures on the numbers of pupils at each school or college that are scoring at least two A grades and a B at A-level in “facilitating” subjects.

These are subjects that are preferred, or required more often, by Russell Group universities, which are considered among the top institutions in the UK.

An initial analysis of the latest statistics suggests that at around 600 schools and colleges - just over one in four - no A-level student scored AAB in facilitating subjects.

The latest tables also include figures on the number of pupils achieving the government’s new English Baccalaureate.

Overall, 16 per cent of state school pupils achieved the EBacc this year. Around 88 per cent of sponsored academies - which usually take over failing schools - are offering the EBacc, the DfE said.

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