Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

The Four Schools That Are Failing Pupils

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

The Four Schools That Are Failing Pupils

Article excerpt

Byline: LINDSAY BRUCE

THOUSANDS of Teesside's teenagers are being let down by their failing schools.

Latest GCSE tables revealed that four Tees secondary schools failed to meet new criteria aimed at driving up standards - which could result in closures if they don't make improvements.

Freebrough Academy in Saltburn, North Shore Health Academy in Stockton and two Middlesbrough schools - Unity City Academy and Oakfields Community College - have now been classed as 'below the floor' for educational standards.

The figures, released by the Department for Education, rank schools in league tables for best and worst performances - with those failing being warned they face closure or being "taken over" if improvements can't be made.

None of Teesside's schools appear in the country's top 200.

But because Middlesbrough has a small number of senior schools, now with two failing, it is now ranked among the worst performing local authorities for education in the country.

The news comes just weeks after the Gazette revealed that one in five primary schools in Middlesbrough is also under-performing.

A spokesman for Middlesbrough Council said: "These results are obviously disappointing, but it is important that they are seen in the context of Middlesbrough's position among the most deprived local authority areas in the country.

"However significant improvements have been made over the last five years, and we will continue to support all our schools to ensure we give our children the best possible start in life.

"Last year 39% of students achieved five GCSEs at grades A*-C (including English and maths). Although this represented a small dip on the previous year's figure, it remains part of a trend which has seen a 10% increase over the last five years, and it is hoped the figure will continue to rise."

To be classed as failing there must be: * Less than 35% of pupils achieving five GCSEs at grade A*-C including maths and English; * Less than 74% of students improving their performance in English, and * Less than 66% of students improving their performance in maths.

A school must be falling short in all three areas to be classed as "below the floor".

Poverty also factors into the new results.

As well as showing there are 107 UK schools now below par, the tables also suggest that hundreds of secondaries are failing their poorest pupils.

Just a third (33.9%) of teenagers from disadvantaged homes gained at least five Cs in their GCSEs (including English and maths), compared to 58.2% of all pupils attending state schools. …

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