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Schools on roll of honour

CHESHIRE'S 46 secondary schools seem certain to have improved on last year GCSE results and the same goes for their classmate colleagues in Wirral.

CHESHIRE'S 46 secondary schools seem certain to have improved on last year GCSE results and the same goes for their classmate colleagues in Wirral.

Last year 57% of Cheshire pupils achieved five or more A to C grades compared to a national average of 49.2% in England as a whole.

It was the sixth consecutive year that averages had improved in the county's schools and placed Cheshire 16th among 148 English education authorities in the GCSE listings.

Early indications -­ with some schools still to register their results ­- pointed to another rise in standards.

But in line with the national trend, the rise will probably be smaller than in recent years.

County school manager Joan Feenan said: 'Whilst each year it becomes harder to improve, I'm delighted to say Cheshire has not only managed to maintain the momentum, but also to register results which are considerably higher than the national average.'

She added: 'Teachers, support staff and parents are all to be congratulated for the support they have given our hard working youngsters.'

And in Wirral the picture is more or less the same.

Wirral's cabinet member for education and lifelong learning, Cllr Phil Davies (Lab), said: 'The GCSE results show Wirral secondary schools have once again been very successful.

'The improvements which schools have reported come on top of their successful performance already recognised by Ofsted ­ Office for Standards in Education.

'Headteachers have reported some outstanding individual successes. Once again there is much to be proud of and I offer my sincere congratulations to the pupils of Wirral who have worked so hard to achieve their well deserved results.

'The teachers, parents and governors who have supported our students also deserve our thanks for the invaluable contribution they have made to this success.'

Nationally, 57.1% of the 5.6million subjects taken by more than 650,000 pupils were graded A* to C, and 16.1% received grades A* or A. In addition, girls out-performed boys in 35 subjects out of 37.

The results mean that since 1987, the last year of O-levels, the proportion of subjects graded A to C ­ equivalent to an O-level pass - has risen by 43%, while the proportion awarded the top grades, A* and A, has shot up by 137%.

Paul Sokoloff, exam board spokesman, said if grades did not go up year by year, 'the education system would be failing young people'.

Results were improving because teaching was better, pupils were working harder, the examination system had become 'more transparent', revision guides were now among the best-selling non-fiction books and league tables acted as a spur to achievement.

Keen to join in the celebrations, union leaders said success had been achieved against the odds.

Maths was the subject taken by the largest number of candidates - 690,000 -­ though it also recorded one of the lowest A-C pass rates, at 50.1%, and one of the lowest proportions of A* grades, at 2.8%.

The only subjects in which boys did better than girls were biology and physics, both taken by a relatively small, and declining, number of the most able pupils.

The subjects in which the gap in favour of girls was greatest were art, design and technology, English literature, drama, religious studies and French.

Before the introduction of the GCSE, with its emphasis on coursework, the gender gap was small or non-existent.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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