Thursday, January 11, 2007

Education League Tables highlight Labour's 'spin'.

There can be no excuses, our record is poor, very poor.

I wait to hear what the official 'spin' from South Tyneside Council is on the issuing of the English Secondary Schools League Tables which clearly show that Labour politicians have been successfully pulling the wool over our eyes for at least the last four years. These League Tables now have a special weighting built in for the 'basic' subjects English Language and Mathematics, put there by a Labour government determined to raise the bar in educational standards. Having made use of Education Maintenance Allowances as a 'carrot' to keep youngsters in education and out of the dole queues, the government wanted some proof that our students and teachers were doing something useful, positive, and worthwhile with their time, they wanted to know that our young people would eventually leave the education sytem well prepared for the outside world and ready to hunt down their first job.

Well the bad news, in this Borough, is that they are not! Many of our secondary schools lag far behind the national averages and have done for at least the last four years, we only have a handful of schools that could claim to be keeping up, and only two schools that could claim to be making great progress with our children.

Less than half of our pupils are attaining five GCSE's at grade C or above, this is a terrible condemnation of Labour's educational policies in South Tyneside, and a disastrous waste of talent, potential, and opportunity. Years of spin and deceit have deluded our politicians into thinking they had 'got it right' in the 'award winning' arena of South Tyneside, they had built a culture of accepting every 'award' handed out like confectionery and hyping up it's importance well beyond the level that ought to have been attached to these computer generated certificates that even our children could make. Yet the real awards, the GCSE's, have failed to materialise, only two of our schools, Whitburn Church of England and St. Wilfred's Roman Catholic returned figures showing more than 50% of pupils attaining the necessary benchmark GCSE's, the rest fell from 50% at Harton Technology College down to a miserable 26% at Mortimer Comprehensive. Our schools don't even fare well against our neighbouring authorities in Sunderland, Gateshead, Newcastle, and North Tyneside.

The average percentage of pupils gaining five or more GCSE's at grades A-C (including English and Maths) is 45.8%, these are the figures for the Tyne Wear area:

  • North Tyneside 47.9%
  • Gateshead 45.0%
  • South Tyneside 39.5%
  • Sunderland 33.9%
  • Newcastle-upon-Tyne 33.5%

However, within each borough there are schools where more than 50% of the pupils gained five or more GCSE's at grades A-C (including English and Maths):

  • Newcastle-upon-Tyne 7 schools
  • North Tyneside 6 schools
  • Sunderland 5 schools
  • Gateshead 4 schools
  • South Tyneside 2 schools

There is no way to put 'gloss' on these results, they show clearly that our pupils will take the money, take the easy options and shy away from the subjects that prospective employers want them to do well at! I shudder to think what type of "spin" will be produced by the manadarins at the Town Hall, I have already posed questions to the Press Office and Cllr. Jim Foreman the Lead Member for Lifelong Learning, and suggested to them that the time has come to introduce an element of compulsion to ensure that English Language and Mathematics get the importance they deserve.


League Tables from the BBC.


As expected the Labour controlled South Tyneside Borough Council, and the local press have both managed to "spin" the results out of all proportion and claim massive achievements and progress - surprise, surprise. Both focus their attentions on a handful of schools including Whitburn Church of England School, and St. Josephs Roman Catholic School, and both make great play on the "value added" results. It's odd that the local newspapers go out of their way to heap praise when clearly the only real improvements to be gleaned from these figures happens after the English and Maths results are excluded!

Math game for kids at diff educational sites will dramatically improve comprehension and test scores.

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