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Concern over county's exam results

PUBLISHED: 09:45 05 January 2010 | UPDATED: 09:04 01 August 2010

EDUCATION chiefs have written to every headteacher in Suffolk as concerns grow about exam performance in the county, it has emerged.

GCSE results in Suffolk are below the national average and are among the worst 25% of similar counties.

EDUCATION chiefs have written to every headteacher in Suffolk as concerns grow about exam performance in the county, it has emerged.

GCSE results in Suffolk are below the national average and are among the worst 25% of similar counties.

And the performance of 11-year-olds at Key Stage Two also show the county falling behind similar authorities - and getting worse.

Now top education officers at the county council are trying to address the problems and get Suffolk back to the position it held a decade ago when it was seen as one of the best local education authorities in the country.

Headteachers of both primary and secondary schools were sent letters from the county's director of children's services at the start of the academic year.

This expressed concern about the Key Stage Two and GCSE results.

Headteachers were also called to meetings with senior officers to discuss how they could deal with issues and improve results in their schools.

Graham Newman, cabinet member for children and young people, said it was vital that schools got to grips with problems surrounding exam results.

He said: “This is the most important issue facing schools in Suffolk, right across the county. And it is something that has to be addressed now.”

The county has set up a “Schools Improvement Service” to help schools improve the chances of their pupils - and to offer advice to teachers and other staff.

There is also new advice on monitoring pupils' progress being prepared for both primary and senior schools.

Mr Newman said the work had to focus on improving results - and he was confident that the steps being taken to boost support now would pay dividends.

He said: “By offering more support to schools, and giving schools more chance to share best practice I am sure results will improve.”

Results had slipped because of difficulties in recruiting teachers and in some respects the county had been a victim of its success.

Mr Newman said: “People have seen no shortage of well-paid jobs that you don't need good qualifications for - but those days are over.

“As technology replaces many of those jobs, it becomes more important to get good exam results and that is a message that has to go through schools.”

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