Islington schools worst for GCSEs and truanting in London
PUBLISHED: 07:06 27 October 2011 | UPDATED: 10:57 28 October 2011
» Schools in Islington have suffered a double blow as they posted the worst GCSE results in London – and the highest truancy rates.
Fewer than half of the 1,355 pupils who sat the exams this summer achieved the benchmark five A* to C grades, including English and maths, the Department for Education (DfE) revealed this week.
The figures showed standards fell for the first time in years – slipping from 50 per cent to the lowest in the capital at 48.9 per cent and the 11th worst in the whole of England.
Islington Council’s schools chief Cllr Richard Watts blamed bad English results for dragging the overall results down.
He said: “We had far more kids getting Ds in English than other boroughs, but if you look at how many people got five A* to C grades not including English and maths, it jumps up hugely.”
Cllr Watts insisted these were Islington’s best-ever GCSE results because 74.5 per cent achieved five good passes in any subject – up 2.5 percentage points on last year.
He added: “Islington schools are transformed from where they were 10 years ago, but the results show there is more work to do.”
The DfE also revealed 8.2 per cent of pupils were persistent absentees – the highest figure in the whole of London.
This means that 1,561 children missed about a month of school time or more – despite the council hitting 288 parents with fines of £50 to £100, taking 19 cases to court and holding 92 formal non-attendance meetings to try to resolve matters.
The council said that attendance levels have increased over the past five years and that this year’s rise equates to around 30 students borough-wide.
Nicola Baird, of Prah Road, Finsbury Park, a parent and governor at Highbury Fields School, in Highbury Hill, Highbury, said: “If you are in school, you are more likely to learn and to get good GCSEs. There’s a correlation.”
“But I’m happy with the education my girls are getting.”
“It’s not acceptable that Islington is at the bottom, but the schools are getting better year after year.”
The statistics also reveal that only around two-thirds made “expected progress” in English and maths – the lowest of any inner London borough.
Cllr Terry Stacy, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition at Islington Council, said: “Our schools have made excellent progress over the last 10 years, but Islington’s Labour councillors need to tell us what has happened after their first year in charge – and whether this is just a blip or a wider problem.”
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