THERE are six secondary schools in Leeds which have failed to hit tougher new GCSE targets – three of which are among the worst performing in the country, new league tables have revealed.
The figures show that despite improved results almost half of the 16-year-olds in the city did not get five good GCSEs including English and maths in 2012.
Ministers have raised the minimum GCSE targets this year with all schools expected to get 40 per cent of pupils to this standard.
However figures published yesterday show several Leeds schools were well below this with three in the bottom 40 nationally.
City of Leeds School, in Woodhouse, was the worst performing in the city with just a quarter of the school’s 85 eligible pupils achieving the desired grades.
Head teacher Georgiana Sale said the “mountains the school had to climb were absolutely enormous” with pupils from 55 different nationalities on the roll.
Two other Leeds schools saw less than 30 per cent of pupils achieving five A* to C GCSEs including English and maths: Swallow Hill Community College, in Armley, and Primrose High School, in Burmantofts.
However some head teachers have warned that the latest figures are flawed because of an ongoing legal challenge over the way in which thousands of English papers were marked after grade boundaries were moved.
Leeds City Council played a key role in a campaign calling for papers to be remarked after accusing exam boards of moving the goalposts between January and June.
Christopher Walsh, head teacher of Boston Spa School, said that teachers and students were facing a “double injustice” with pupils having being denied C grades last summer and now schools being ranked based on unfair results.
Despite the controversy over the marking, the level of pupils achieving five good GCSEs including English and maths increased in Leeds last summer to 55 per cent compared with 53.7 per cent in 2011.
Ms Sale said City of Leeds School was progressing and that teaching was good. She said the school caters for pupils of 55 different nationalities, to which English is a secondary language to the “majority” of them.
She added: “If you think about the barriers we have to overcome, you go into a classroom and you might have 25 kids in there and 20 might not have English as their mother tongue.”
Having presented certificates at the school yesterday, the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Coun Ann Castle, said: “I feel pretty sure that, given half a chance, Ms Sale will be able to turn the school around.”
South Leeds Academy, E-ACT Leeds East Academy and Carr Manor Community School also had less than 40 per cent of pupils making the benchmark.
The heads of both Primrose High and Swallow Hill were unavailable for comment yesterday. (Jan 24)