Page last updated at 12:08 GMT, Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Thousands fail to get GCSE target

girls celebrating their results
The statistics relate to results published in August 2008

More than 340,000 pupils in England failed to get five good GCSE grades - including English and maths - last summer, official figures show.

And one in seven schools - a total of 440 - failed to ensure that at least 30% of their pupils got five A*-C GCSEs, including the two core subjects.

By 2011, the government wants no school to be in this position under its 400m National Challenge scheme.

The statistics are drawn from school league table data due out on Thursday.

These overview statistics were published by the Department for Children, Schools and Families ahead of the main tables of school-by-school results, and update provisional figures released last October.

Overall, 47.6% of pupils in England achieved the equivalent of five or more grades A*-C, including English and maths, in 2008.

This means 342,195 completed their compulsory education without achieving those results, regarded as the minimum standard required for employment or further education.

Some improvement

While 440 schools failed to meet the government's target of 30% of pupils getting these results, there is an improvement on previous years.

In 2007 and 2006, 631 and 783 schools respectively failed to meet the target.

Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Ed Balls, said: "This is no time for excuses - I want every child to go to a good school and that means every school getting above 30%.

"We are putting in the extra resources to help heads reach this and local authorities will shortly be announcing their plans to make sure all schools reach this target by 2011.

"I'm also really pleased that today's results show a continued improvement in the results of academies, which are often in the most deprived communities, and yet are improving their results faster than other schools."

Shadow children's secretary Michael Gove said: "Sadly, too many children are still being educated at schools which the prime minister classes as 'failing', and the gap between richer and poorer schools is widening."

General secretary of the NASUWT Chris Keates said: "It is disgraceful that some schools will be labelled as failing simply because they have not yet met, for a variety of reasons, a set of arbitrary numerical targets.

"These schools are no less committed than any others to ensuring all young people meet their full educational potential. They need support not condemnation."



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SEE ALSO
GCSE attainment has risen again
16 Oct 08 |  Education
University fears over A* grades
08 Feb 08 |  Education
No quick exit from GCSE challenge
18 Aug 08 |  Education

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