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News - 25 January 2013

A quarter of schools miss top university grades

In league tables drawn up by the BBC based on the latest official government data on pupils' academic achievement:

Of the 2,540 schools teaching A-levels, 594 (23.4%) had no pupils with the two As and a B in the subjects recommended for top degree courses.

The data also shows some 215 schools missed the new government target of 40% of pupils obtaining five A*-C GCSEs.

Only in two schools did more than 70% of pupils obtain two As and a B in what is known as the "facilitating" subjects favoured by the 24 Russell Group of some of the leading universities. And in only 16 schools did 50% or more pupils achieve these grades.

In 208 schools (8%) of the total a quarter of pupils or more reached the grades in these subjects.

Dr Wendy Piatt, director general of The Russell Group, said:
"It's important that students make decisions based on their individual circumstances. We encourage all prospective students to check the entry requirements for their chosen course before applying to a particular university."

Joy Mercer, director of policy at the Association of Colleges, said the achievement of three A-levels was a "blunt descriptor" and that would give a poor reflection of colleges and sixth form colleges where students were encouraged to combine vocational qualifications and A-levels within a very demanding programme.

At GCSE level nationally, 59.4% of pupils in both maintained and independent schools reached the government's benchmark of five GCSEs (or equivalent qualifications) graded A* to C, including English and maths - up from 58.2% in 2011.

However, The Department for Education hailed the success of its academy schools in the performance data. It said sponsored academies were improving results at a record rate - more than five times as quickly than in all state-funded schools - with an increase of 3.1 percentage points. This compares to a 0.6 percentage point improvement across all state-funded schools.

General Secretary of the Nasuwt teaching union, Chris Keates, said: "Everyone recognises that there is more to be done to ensure that the best is being achieved for every child, but the government's approach of manufacturing deficiencies to seek to justify its flawed education policies, rather than celebrating success is counter productive and divisive."

Peter Ham Auditor and Head of Schools and Charities at ABDS comments:
“It is the first time this information on school performance has been published by the Department for Education. The figures demonstrate the degree to which England's education system remains polarised with Fee-paying, selective independent schools and grammars dominate the top of the list.”

If you need any help and advice on Schools and or Charities, contact ABDS to discuss how we can help.

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