Sunderland schools get to grips with English Baccalaureate

Year 11 pupils at Argyle House School, Sunderland
Year 11 pupils at Argyle House School, Sunderland
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LEAGUE tables published today show schools in the city are forging ahead with the English Baccalaureate.

A number of Sunderland’s schools showed huge improvements in the percentage of children achieving the EBacc, which was a measure of success introduced by the Government in 2010.

Although, not a qualification in itself, the measure recognises when a student has achieved top grades in the core subjects of English, maths, two sciences, a language and either history or geography.

Biddick Academy saw a rise of 18 per cent in the number of young people reaching the EBacc benchmark, from four per cent in 2012 to 22 per cent last year. Farringdon Academy and Monkwearmouth Academy both saw rises of 15 per cent and St Anthony’s Girls’ Academy had an increase of 13 per cent.

The Venerable Bede CE Academy saw a 17 per cent rise, to 29 per cent, in the number of pupils gaining the EBacc and the Tunstall Road school was also the city’s best performing state secondary with 72 per cent of students gaining the gold standard of five or more GCSEs at grades A*-C, including maths and English, an 18 per cent rise on last year.

Across the city the number of pupils clinching the top benchmark fell slightly from 62.6 per cent in 2012 to 60.1 per cent last year, putting it in line with the national figure of 60.6 per cent.

Councillor Pat Smith, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services in Sunderland, said: “Pupils and students in our schools and in Sunderland College all worked very hard with great support from their teachers, governors and their families to achieve their excellent exam results. All deserve to be congratulated.

“Performance tables are useful reminders about levels of achievement, but can never accurately reflect the amount of commitment involved in reaching these excellent grades.

“The long-term picture in our schools and in the college is improving results in A Levels and GCSEs, significant progress in tests in early years and primary stage, and students looking forward to their next steps in education and training with greater confidence.”

Independent school Argyle House clinched the city’s top slot in the league tables for GCSEs with 92 per cent of pupils gaining five or more grades A*-C, including English and maths, and equal to St Anthony’s Girls’ Academy, 52 per cent of the young people gained the EBacc.

Chris Johnson, headteacher at the Thornhill Park school, said: “This year, Argyle House School pupils have, once again, excelled in their exam performances. It is the combination of family environment, academic rigour and dedicated teaching that has again made Argyle House top of the town.”