Page last updated at 13:30 GMT, Thursday, 16 October 2008 14:30 UK

City bottom of GCSE league tables

Education bosses said absenteeism contributed to the poor performance

Schools in Hull are back at the bottom of the GCSE league tables in England.

Provisional results show 29.3% of pupils gained the government benchmark of five A* to C grades, including maths and English, down from 30% last year.

In 2007 the city moved off the bottom, being ranked 149th out of 150 local education authorities, but has dropped to 150th again in 2008.

Judith Harwood, Hull council's head of learning, said: "Clearly, as a city we are not where we should be."

The results for Hull contrast with the national performance which showed, on average, 47.2% achieved the target, up 0.9% on last year.

High pupil absence rates and last year's devastating floods, which affected many of the city's schools, had made improvements difficult to achieve, the council said.

Floods impact

"There are a range of factors that we continue to address and which are a barrier to a significant rise in GCSE improvements across the city," said Ms Harwood.

"Absence is still a major factor and we are doing a lot of work to keep children in school and engage with families about the importance of learning.

"If a child is not in school their learning will be affected, every lesson counts.

"Our priority is to improve outcomes for pupils with achievement being central to health and well-being and future prospects.

"Obviously last year we had the additional impact of the floods, which significantly affected some schools' progress when a lot of resources and teaching time was lost, not to mention the social and emotional impact on pupils and families."

She said the council had been working closely with the Department for Children, Schools and Families to provide additional support for schools and teachers.

Individual action plans have been produced for each school in a bid to raise standards.

"Our challenge now is to build on the foundation that we have in place to improve education for all pupils," added Ms Harwood.

Meanwhile, in the neighbouring East Riding of Yorkshire results have improved with 52.3% of pupils gaining the benchmark, up from 50.7% in 2007.

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