Dismay over failure to recognise grades

A borough school has hit out at government tables after they were given zero passes at GCSE.

Kings Priory School say the school tables fail to reflect the achievements of a number of schools around the country.

Last summer, the Tynemouth School saw 84 per cent of Year 11 pupils achieve A* to C grades, including English and maths.

But as the school was one offering an iGCSE in English rather than the GCSE examination, government statistics recorded the schools as zero A* to Cs.

Deputy head of curriculum for English, Craig Leather, said: “Pupils were entered for English iGCSE as a legacy prior to our becoming an academy.

“It is a huge shame that the league tables no longer recognise iGCSEs, which are very challenging examinations.

“For our pupils to have gained such excellent results and yet to be reported as ‘0’ A*-C is saddening, especially as our English A* to Cs was 94 per cent. Nonetheless, it certainly does not take away from our pupils’ achievements.”

Kings Priory School principal Gill Hewlett said: “Keeping iGCSE English was best for last year’s pupils to ensure that their studies were not disrupted.

“League tables aside, we are delighted to know that we would otherwise be one of the top performing schools in North Tyneside with wonderful pupils who work very hard.

“We’re always seeking to even better ourselves, but we will be ensuring our pupils, parents and communities understand what our pupils have accomplished.”

iGCSEs are favoured by many schools, particularly independents, as the assessments are regarded as more rigorous.

Following a government shake up of league tables earlier this year, these examinations no longer count as the English and Maths measure, causing hundreds of schools to see their GCSE results drop to “0”.

Kings Priory School, as a former independent turned Academy in 2013, delayed moving away from the iGCSE qualification until their current cohort had completed their iGCSE course despite government pressure.

Current and future cohorts at the school will be entered for Cambridge Assessment’s newly accredited IGCSE English, which is included in league tables.