School Scores a Double in League

Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England), January 13, 2010 | Go to article overview

School Scores a Double in League


Byline: DAN WARBURTON

A SCHOOL in the North has picked up an unwanted double in GCSE league tables published today.

Excelsior Academy in Scotswood, Newcastle, has the eighth worst results in the country and is also third in the country for persistent absence.

The school opened in September 2008 to take over from the former West Gate Community College.

But its first year of GCSE results saw only one in eight leaving with at least five good GCSEs that included English and maths, while one in four pupils were classed as persistently absent.

Excelsior's executive principal, Phil Marshall, said: "Excelsior Academy opened as a brand new academy in September 2008.

"Prior to then all students went to a different school. These results are from students who took their GCSE examinations after they had only been at Excelsior for seven months out of their five years' secondary education.

"At the time they joined us they had already completed three fifths of their examination courses. It is not appropriate, therefore, to attribute the results of a secondary education, that was not delivered at Excelsior, to the Academy.

"Attendance of our younger pupils is now meeting national expectations. However, when you include the attendance records of older pupils, who have a long history of absenteeism, the figures do not reflect what is happening at the Academy where this year's attendance - for all year groups - is vastly improved."

The league tables saw Central High School in Newcastle named as the region's top school, while Emmanuel College in Gateshead is the top state school.

Hilary French, headteacher at Newcastle Central High School, said: "Obviously we are delighted, it's a testament to the hard work of the girls and teaching staff.

"You don't get these results without years and years of dedication, The results also underpin the importance of single sex education and what can be achieved." Parkside Sports College in Crook, County Durham, was the fourth best value added school in the country - which measures how much schools improve their pupils - while Berwick High in Northumberland and Sunnydale College in Shildon were among the country's most improved schools.

North Tyneside was the region's top performing education authority, being ranked 45th in the country, followed by Gateshead, Northumberland and County Durham. …

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