Provisional GCSE results show Suffolk and Norfolk are on the rise

Lisa Chambers, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for education.
Lisa Chambers, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for education.
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Provisional GCSE results released today show Suffolk’s 16-year-olds have performed better than the national figure for the first time since 2007 while Norfolk’s youngsters are continuing to narrow the gap.

The statistics from the Department for Education show 53.4 per cent of Suffolk pupils achieved five or more A*-C grades including English and Maths. The national figure for all schools was 52.8 per cent.

Suffolk’s results have increased by 2.6 per cent from last year’s provisional results and see Suffolk rise 17 places in the overall league table, going from 124 to 107.

Suffolk is making significant improvements with a higher percentage of pupils making the expected levels of progress in English and Maths –the county climbs from 110th to 75th in maths and from 119th to 87th in English (out of 151 local authorities).

Students making expected progress in English have narrowed the gap to the national figure, from a gap of 3.5 per cent to 0.7 per cent. Expected progress in maths is now at the national figure whereas last year’s provisional results showed Suffolk as 3.6 per cent below.

Cllr Lisa Chambers, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for education and skills, said: “Congratulations to all our students across the county for their excellent Key Stage 4 results. It’s extremely encouraging that these provisional results show Suffolk above the national figure. It is also very pleasing that progress has continued in the core subjects of English and maths.

“These latest figures show that students, parents and schools are working well together to achieve positive outcomes for our young people. Ofsted has recognised that our Raising the Bar strategy is moving us in the right direction - these results reaffirm this strategy is enacting the change we desired.”

Meanwhile, the provisional results show that Norfolk’s schools have narrowed the gap on the national average for the second successive year.

The early results suggest the county has climbed 35 places up the national league tables over the last two years, with a 16 place jump since 2014.

Today’s statistics show that 53.8 per cent of students achieved five A* to C grades, including English and maths - compared with 52 per cent on the same day last year (an improvement of 1.8 percentage points).

Nationally the improvement was 0.2 percentage points for state-funded schools, up from 55.9 per cent to 56.1 per cent. Progress in maths in Norfolk is particularly strong – 67.3 per cent of students made expected progress in the county, putting Norfolk above the national average of 66.6 per cent.

The news follows rapid improvements in both assessment results for five-year-olds and phonics results for six-year-olds this year. Reading performance for seven-year-olds has also gone above the national average for the first time.

Inspection data from the last academic year also shows that the proportion of ‘good’ Norfolk schools has increased at a greater rate than that seen nationally, with 22,000 more Norfolk children now attending good schools than in 2013. Eighty-one percent of Norfolk’s schools are now judged to be at least good by Ofsted.

The improvements follow a relentless focus on raising standards from all of those working in education in the county.

Two years ago Norfolk County Council launched its strategy A Good School for Every Norfolk Learner, highlighting its determination to further challenge and support schools to improve.

Education leaders across the county have backed the strategy, showing a shared commitment to raise standards.

James Joyce, chairman of the Children’s Services Committee at Norfolk County Council, said: “We want every child in the county to receive an excellent education. This has been a focus for the council and all of our partners over the last two years and Norfolk’s schools and academies have risen to the challenge.

“Today’s results are testament to the shared hard work and commitment of all of those working in education in Norfolk, particularly headteachers, teachers, governors and academy trusts. However, that commitment must and will continue.

“We want Norfolk’s children to be achieving above the national average and for every child in the county to attend a good or outstanding school. These provisional results show that this can be achieved and we must remain steadfast in our strategy to support and challenge Norfolk’s schools to do their very best for the county’s children.”