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Wednesday, December 16, 1998 Published at 14:10 GMT


Wales closes exam results gap on England

The tables show wide variations in exam results between schools

Click here for our listings of the school results

Schools in Wales have moved closer to government targets for GCSE examination results.

The 1998 performance tables for secondary schools in Wales reveal that 46% of 15 and 16-year-olds achieved five or more GCSEs (or their vocational equivalent) at grades A* to C, an improvement of two percentage points on last year.

By 2002, the Welsh Office wants 54% of pupils to be at this level.

Two years ago, the proportion of Welsh schoolchildren receiving five or more top-grade GCSEs was more than two percentage points behind results in England. Now it has closed to just 0.3 of a percentage point.

[ image: Peter Hain:
Peter Hain: "I am encouraged that we continue to close the gap with England in most of the key indicators"
The Welsh Education Minister, Peter Hain, said: "This is another fine performance from schools in Wales and our pupils, teachers and parents should be congratulated on the standards achieved."

The proportion of pupils achieving five or more grades A*-G also rose two percentage points, to 82%.

But the average score of A level students has remained static at 16 points.

"This is the third year that we have achieved this level of performance and we now need to move on to the next level," said Mr Hain.

The tables show that St Brigid's School in Denbighshire was the state school in Wales with the best top-grade GCSE results in 1998 - 85% of its 15 and 16-year-olds achieved five or more at grades A* to C.

The worst GCSE performance by a mainstream school was recorded by Glan Ely High School in Cardiff, where just 6% of pupils received five or more at grades A* to C.

Ysgol Tryfan in Gwynedd achieved the best A level results for a state school with an average points score per exam entry of 7.4.

The tables have again come in for criticism from teachers' unions.

The Secretary of the National Union of Teachers in Wales, Gethin Lewis, said: "A school's results reflect the neighbourhood it is in. The tables do nothing to help pupils from deprived communities

"We need to look at how pupils are improving are improving on their previous best, not an overall school figure."

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