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Saturday, 02 August 2014

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Three north Cumbrian schools under-performing, says Government

Three north Cumbrian state secondary schools – including Carlisle’s two troubled Richard Rose academies – are falling below the Government’s floor standard for success at GCSE, new figures confirm today.

Download: School league tables (Appleby-Samuel King's) summary

Download: School league tables (Samuel King's (cont)-William Howard)

The two troubled academies and Beacon Hill Community School in Aspatria are among 154 schools across the country that are under-performing, according to the Department for Education.

Schools fall below the floor standard if fewer than 40 per cent of year 11 pupils last summer achieved five or more good GCSEs, graded C or above, including English and maths and if pupils’ progress is not good enough in the two core subjects.

Today’s school performance tables show that just 35 per cent of the 191-strong cohort at Richard Rose Central Academy made the grade.

Beacon Hill also saw 35 per cent of its year 11 pupils – a group of 34 pupils – achieve five or more A*-Cs at GCSE or equivalent, including English and maths. The figure was 33 per cent at Richard Rose Morton Academy. All three schools are also behind on pupils’ progress.

The figures come on the back of news that both of the academies are in special measures.

The Morton school, on Wigton Road, was put into special measures less than two weeks ago following a damning report from Ofsted.

Inspectors visited before Christmas and found the Morton academy is providing an ‘inadequate’ standard of education.

Central Academy is in special measures too. It fell into the same category a year ago.

Details of a recent follow-up visit by Ofsted inspectors are due to be published soon.

Confirmation of the academies’ failure to improve upon poor exam results in the past come as new leaders bring in changes to drive up standards at the two schools.

United Learning, a chain of academies across the country, is taking over the two schools from the Richard Rose Trust.

A spokesman for United Learning said: “We have said all along that these results were both disappointing and unsatisfactory.

“As United Learning takes control of the two academies, we are introducing major changes to the running of both schools in order to secure improvement.

“There is a substantial way to go, however, but we are pleased that the initiatives that we have been putting in place since September have been recognised by Ofsted as being the right ones.”

He added: “We need to embed effective and permanent improvement in both these academies. It will take time but we will do so, fully aware that every day impacts on the education of our students.”

The Department for Education has reiterated its policy which states that schools falling below the floor standard and have a history of under performance face being taken over by a sponsor and converted into an academy in a bid to raise standards.

The Government says its figures today show how results in sponsored academies, which take over previously under-performing schools, continue to improve.

It says the proportion of pupils achieving five or more good GCSEs, including English and maths, has risen by 2.3 per cent, compared to 1.8 percentage points across council-run schools.

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