School league tables: GCSE performances across the district

Headteacher Mike Cook outside Heckmondwike Grammar School. (D521A404)
Headteacher Mike Cook outside Heckmondwike Grammar School. (D521A404)

The GCSE performance of the majority of secondary state schools in the district has fallen after recent changes to exam rules.

New league tables, published by the Department for Education yesterday, show most schools in North Kirklees had fewer pupils achieving five A*-C grades at GCSE including maths and English.

Heckmondwike Grammar School performed best in the area with 98 per cent of its pupils meeting the standard.

The school saw a two per cent decline from its perfect pass-rate the year before.

It ranked 98th in the top 100 best performing schools in the country.

Headteacher Mike Cook said: “We are delighted that the students of Heckmondwike Grammar School once again did so well in their GCSE and A level examinations last summer.

“We are very pleased with their superb attainments and also with the outstanding progress they made, taking account of their starting points, which is far ahead of expectation or national averages.

“Our students and staff are ambitious and dedicated, and these results are a tribute to their hard work and cooperation.

“We are in the middle of qualification reforms, GCSEs and A levels are being restructured and made harder, demands on young people continue to increase. Our students are prepared for these challenges and will make it their business to succeed whatever the prevailing framework requires.”

Thornhill Community Academy, Manor Croft Academy and Batley Business and Enterprise College all failed to reach the government’s target of 40 per cent.

According to the latest league tables, Thornhill was the worst performing school in the area with only 17 per cent of its pupils meeting the standard.

The school’s performance fell by 37 per cent on the previous year – the highest decline in the area.

But Thornhill Community Academy headteacher Jonny Mitchell said the real figure for his school should have been higher and that the latest tables were “almost meaningless this year”.

He said some pupils’ results were omitted because their first attempt was only in an English literature exam which did not include the English language element.

He added that when the same pupils then sat a combined literature and language GCSE this was not included as it was classed as their second attempt.

Mr Mitchell said: “Many other schools have suffered in a similar way, although there have been other factors which have impacted on published figures, including the non-reporting of anything other than first entry in exams and the removal of exam components in English, such as the speaking and listening assessment which used to constitute 20 per cent.

“Although we are technically below the floor target, we are quite some way above it, as has been the case for the last four years consecutively.

“My only disappointment is that such figures are damaging to the future prospects of some schools who have been significantly hit by pointless tinkering with rules and regulations on what qualifications count.

“The Department for Education has stated that 2013-14 results are not comparable to other years but this is of little consolation to students going forward.

“It is certainly damaging to the relevance of the tables themselves, which are almost meaningless this year.”

Westborough High School had the highest increase in the area with five per cent.

The drop in results for many schools comes after changes to exam rules and the way GCSE scores are measured.

Across the country, the number of secondary schools considered to be under-performing has doubled.

The drop in results for many schools comes after changes to exam rules and the way GCSE scores are measured.

The changes included only pupils’ first attempt at a GCSE counting towards schools’ league table score and the some vocational qualifications being removed.

Some of the head teachers affected by the changes have said the results do not reflect the actual performance of their pupils.

North Kirklees GCSE school league tables:

(Pupils achieving five A*-C grade GCSEs including English and Maths)

• Heckmondwike Grammar School - 98%

• Batley Grammar School - 78%

• Mirfield Free Grammar and Sixth Form - 63%

• St John Fisher Catholic High School - 62%

• Batley Girls’ High School - 59%

• Castle Hall Academy Trust - 59% • Whitcliffe Mount - 59%

• Westborough High School - 51%

• Spen Valley High School - 43%

• Manor Croft Academy - 39%

• Batley Business and Enterprise College - 39%

• Thornhill Community Academy Trust- 17%