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Thursday, 16 November, 2000, 00:04 GMT
Sutton schools best at GCSE
exam candidates
Students' achievements reflect on education authorities
Buckinghamshire has been toppled as the local education authority in mainland England with the best performing schools at GCSE level.

The borough of Sutton in Surrey claims top spot in this year's school league tables, with 63.4% of its students getting the top A*-C grades.

Rutland and Buckinghamshire tie for next place with 61.6%.

A higher proportion of Buckinghamshire's students failed to get any exam passes at all - but it has 10 times as many secondary schools.

Click here to see how authorities compare.
Click here for the main school tables.

The leader of Sutton council, Mike Cooper, said: "I am delighted with these results and extend my congratulations to all the students in our schools who have again done so well.

"The results reflect all the hard work and commitment by students, teachers and our staff."

Across-the-board success

The council is particularly pleased because on a broader measure of all its students' GCSE performance - the average point score of 46.6, against a national average of 38.5 - Sutton also comes top in mainland England.

Its director of education, Ian Birnbaum, said the authority had worked very closely with its 13 secondary schools over a number of years.

"We have pursued something we call 'academic tutoring' which is a link between target setting at school level and individual target setting. That's obviously helped.

"But our schools are good schools. Witness the tremendous demand there is for them. So it's an acknowledgement of how good education is in Sutton."

Dr Birnbaum said they would not be resting on their laurels, however.

"Targets that we had set for two years hence are virtually met now so we need to go back to our schools and look for some new ones, and schools will want to do that."

Hull still struggling

Top overall for the fifth year is the tiny Isles of Scilly education authority - but it has only one secondary school, where 13 children took their GCSEs this year, which is regarded as an unreliably small number statistically.

The Isles of Scilly schools advisor, Peter Clifton, said small class sizes were a great advantage.

"We also have a very supportive community which still believes in education and gets behind the work the students do."

At the bottom of the LEA table once again is Kingston upon Hull, only 24.4% of whose students managed five or more top GCSEs.

Its truancy rate is one of the highest in England and is almost three times the national average.

The authority said things were now improving in earlier school years but said bright pupils tended to leave after primary school.

Poor truancy record

The assistant director of education, Andrew Swallow, said: "We have actually hit a majority of our targets. Unfortunately, A*-C GCSE passes is not one of them.

"Of course, it is unacceptable and we're very disappointed but we've done the analysis and we're extremely confident there is room for quick improvement in the areas needed."

But he said a significant factor was that every year at the end of primary schooling more than 200 pupils left the area for social reasons and did not go into its secondary schools.

"These are children who have the potential to get five A to C grades at GCSE," he said.

"The teaching in Hull schools was deemed better than national standards in a government report this year."

Truancy rates were the third highest in the country after Knowsley - the next worst area on GCSE performance - and Westminster.

According to the official government measure, the proportion of half-days lost to unauthorised absence in Hull schools was 2.9%.

"We haven't tackled the issue of truancy with parents," Mr Swallow said. "We need a partnership which works because if 40% of some school years are not at school they can't learn anything."

The table below shows all England's education authorities ranked on the percentage of their pupils who got at least five GCSE grades A*-C, with the percentage who got none and the unauthorised absence rate. City of London is excluded - it has no secondary schools.

Click the name of any authority for details on all the schools in its area, including independent schools.

LEA GCSEs none abs.
Isles of Scilly 76.9 0.0 0.1
Sutton 63.4 3.5 0.5
Rutland 61.6 0.5 0.6
Buckinghamshire 61.6 4.2 0.5
Kingston-upon-Thames 61.3 6.9 1.0
Wokingham 59.9 3.7 0.5
Redbridge 59.6 0.8 0.7
Poole 59.5 3.1 0.6
Bromley 59.4 3.4 0.6
North Yorkshire 59.3 2.8 0.5
Windsor and Maidenhead 59.2 2.4 0.6
Surrey 57.6 4.3 0.8
Barnet 57.5 4.8 1.1
Harrow 57.2 3.3 0.7
Bath and NE Somerset 57.1 3.1 0.6
Cheshire 57.0 3.4 0.8
Gloucestershire 56.9 3.0 0.5
Shropshire 56.4 3.0 0.6
Trafford 56.4 3.4 0.8
West Berkshire 56.0 3.8 0.4
Havering 55.9 3.8 0.5
Wiltshire 55.5 4.4 0.6
Hertfordshire 55.4 4.2 0.7
Somerset 55.3 3.2 0.5
Solihull 55.1 3.5 0.5
Hampshire 54.9 3.6 0.9
Dorset 54.6 4.4 0.7
West Sussex 54.5 3.9 0.7
North Somerset 53.4 3.8 0.7
Herefordshire 53.4 3.8 0.7
Suffolk 53.3 3.8 0.8
Southend 53.3 5.4 1.4
Bury 53.0 2.2 0.5
Cornwall 52.6 3.3 0.4
York City 52.6 4.4 1.2
Lincolnshire 52.6 4.9 0.8
Cambridgeshire 51.7 5.1 0.8
Stockport 51.7 5.8 1.0
Kent 51.3 4.1 0.6
Slough 51.3 4.2 1.3
Richmond-upon-Thames 51.1 4.4 1.8
East Sussex 51.0 3.9 1.2
Camden 51.0 5.9 1.6
Essex 50.8 4.1 0.9
Cumbria 50.6 4.3 0.6
Warrington 50.5 2.7 0.6
Oxfordshire 50.3 5.2 1.4
Torbay 50.3 5.5 1.0
Derbyshire 49.9 4.0 1.0
East Riding of Yorks 49.9 4.7 0.9
Hammersmith and Fulham 49.8 0.6 2.3
Bexley 49.7 4.5 1.1
Lancashire 49.6 4.3 0.9
Northumberland 49.6 5.2 0.9
Warwickshire 49.5 4.8 0.7
Bedfordshire 49.4 4.8 0.9
national averages 49.2 5.6 1.0
Devon 49.1 3.8 1.0
Wirral 48.7 6.1 0.6
Leicestershire 48.5 4.6 2.3
Dudley 48.4 3.6 0.8
Sefton 48.4 4.8 0.7
Norfolk 48.2 5.0 0.9
Worcestershire 48.2 5.8 1.1
Staffordshire 48.1 4.3 0.6
Telford and Wrekin 48.1 5.2 0.9
Bournemouth 48.1 5.6 0.8
Hillingdon 47.9 4.8 1.5
Kensington and Chelsea 47.9 10.8 1.8
Northamptonshire 47.8 5.7 0.9
South Gloucestershire 47.7 3.8 1.4
Plymouth, City of 47.5 4.3 0.6
St Helens 47.4 7.6 1.1
Brent 47.3 3.8 1.0
Wigan 46.7 5.3 1.1
Bracknell Forest 46.6 3.9 0.9
Hounslow 46.5 4.2 1.0
Ealing 46.1 1.5 1.2
Enfield 46.1 2.9 1.7
Reading 45.7 10.4 1.0
Redcar and Cleveland 45.6 5.7 1.1
North Tyneside 45.2 5.6 0.8
Darlington 45.0 4.4 1.6
Gateshead 45.0 8.4 1.3
Isle of Wight 44.8 6.0 1.5
Nottinghamshire 44.3 5.5 1.4
Swindon 44.1 6.1 0.8
North Lincolnshire 43.8 3.0 1.0
Kirklees 43.8 6.3 1.5
Stockton-on-Tees 43.7 4.5 0.8
Medway 43.7 4.9 1.0
Brighton and Hove 43.7 6.9 1.1
Calderdale 43.6 5.3 0.7
Wakefield 43.2 4.7 0.7
Croydon 42.6 3.2 0.7
Oldham 42.4 5.9 1.5
Tameside 42.1 3.9 1.2
Peterborough City 41.8 6.0 0.9
Wandsworth 41.6 3.0 1.0
Bolton 41.3 5.3 1.2
Derby City 41.3 6.5 0.9
Rotherham 41.1 5.4 1.2
Sheffield 41.1 8.5 1.9
Milton Keynes 41.0 6.4 0.6
Birmingham 40.8 5.8 1.6
Coventry 40.8 7.5 1.3
Merton 40.5 7.4 2.1
Leeds 40.4 8.3 2.0
Durham 40.3 6.2 1.1
Blackburn with Darwen 40.0 6.7 1.4
Southampton 39.8 5.2 1.2
Luton 39.7 3.2 0.9
Thurrock 39.7 6.3 1.3
Waltham Forest 39.7 6.5 1.4
South Tyneside 39.3 5.4 0.5
Wolverhampton 38.7 5.8 1.3
Sunderland 38.4 4.8 1.0
Barking and Dagenham 38.3 3.0 1.7
Rochdale 37.9 7.4 1.4
Halton 37.7 3.7 1.6
Walsall 37.0 6.7 0.8
Doncaster 36.8 8.6 2.3
Westminster 36.7 5.3 3.1
Newham 36.3 0.0 2.7
Blackpool 36.1 6.3 1.9
North East Lincolnshire 35.8 6.7 1.8
Hartlepool 35.7 6.8 1.6
Salford 35.5 4.4 1.3
Liverpool 35.3 8.1 1.6
Newcastle-upon-Tyne 35.0 11.0 1.6
Barnsley 34.9 7.2 1.9
Lewisham 34.8 6.0 2.8
Middlesbrough 34.6 9.6 1.4
Leicester City 34.1 7.2 1.9
Portsmouth 34.0 7.5 1.9
Stoke-on-Trent 33.8 6.1 1.2
Bradford 33.8 8.4 2.6
Tower Hamlets 32.7 2.5 2.5
Greenwich 32.4 6.9 2.0
Hackney 32.2 6.8 2.2
Southwark 32.1 2.0 1.9
Lambeth 31.7 3.0 1.1
Sandwell 31.7 7.9 1.6
Bristol City 31.2 10.4 2.3
Haringey 30.3 7.0 2.3
Manchester 30.3 7.3 2.0
Nottingham City 28.7 11.0 2.8
Islington 26.5 8.3 2.0
Knowsley 25.0 11.3 3.2
Kingston upon Hull City 24.4 10.5 2.9

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See also:

29 Jun 00 | Education
Schools cash in after councils shamed
29 Jun 00 | Education
How much councils pass on to schools
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