The academic performance of children in the poorest schools has
improved two and a half times faster than children in other
schools, GCSE/GNVQ results have revealed.
Provisional GCSE statistics for England published last week
showed the percentage of all pupils achieving good grades at GCSE
has risen. This year 52.6 per cent of pupils gained five or more
grades A*-C or their GNVQ equivalents – a rise of 1 per cent. The
number of pupils achieving good grades in schools in challenging
circumstances rose by 2 per cent compared with 0.8 per cent for
schools in better-off areas.
The overall rise in results, however, falls short of government
targets which are for an average rise of 2 percentage points a year
from 2002 to 2006.
Education minister Ivan Lewis said many schools in challenging
circumstances had made impressive strides. “For the second year
running the poorest schools have improved significantly faster than
the rest. They are narrowing the gap.”
In December 2000 the government introduced a scheme to support
schools in challenging circumstances beginning with 70
institutions. In April 2001 the scheme was extended to all schools
where 25 per cent or fewer pupils achieved five GCSEs at A*-C.
Lewis welcomed the improvements but added “more needs to be
done. We must ensure that all children fulfil their potential”.
– The Statistical First Release 29/2003 is available at