Newly-published figures from the British Ministry of Education have shown yearly exam results for England's secondary schools, and 329 schools did not meet minimum government standards in 2015. Compared to the previous year, this figure is not very different, but it is twice the number in 2013 when only 154 institutions fell short.
More than a quarter of a million children failed to meet the State's minimum GCSE standards and gained five good GCSE grades. That amounts to 7.3% of all secondary schools students, writes Sarah Cassidy of The Independent. The headline GCSE passing grade rose slightly to 57.1% in 2015, compared to 56.6% the year before.
In 2015, London had the lowest rate of underperforming schools at only 3.8 %. The highest rate of 18.5% belonged to the schools of East Midlands.
The statistics showed that the best performing in terms of GCSE pass rates was the Isle of Scilly, which had only one school. It was followed by populous regions such as Kingston upon Thames in London and Trafford in Greater Manchester. Last year's winner, The London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, dropped to 11th place in 2015 with a 67% success rate.
Asked about his opinion on the new GCSE figures based on last summer's grades, schools minister Nick Gibb commented that the government would do its best to cope with the underperformance.
Further, the statistics also proved that the gap between disadvantaged students and their peers has tightened since 2011, writes Richard Adams of The Guardian. On average, 36.5% of children defined as disadvantaged earned five good passes, compared with 64% of all students. In 2015, the gap was 28% compared with 27.4% the year before.
As Eleanor Harding from The Daily Mail notes, migrant children in England are outperforming their peers. Children whose mother tongue is not English earned better GCSE results in 2015 than native speakers in metropolitan areas such as London, the South East and the North East. Overall in the UK, 56.5% of migrant children received five or more A*-C GCSE grades, compared to 57.5% of non-migrants. In London, it was 61.3% against 60.7%.
According to official statistics, some 10,000 students had to leave British secondary schools in the run-up to their GCSE courses, write Warwick Mansell, Richard Adams and Patrick Edwards of The Guardian. The data raises again the question about the league-table pressures on the schools to move students who are unlikely to cope well with the standards. Thousands of pupils were excluded, moved to special schools or into institutions for children with behavioral issues.
Last year, the renowned Education Datalab think tank published a report concluding that some schools were moving away "challenging students" to increase results. In an interview with The Guardian, Rebecca Allen, director of Education Datalab, recommended changes in the league-table pressures so that they reflected the number of years a student spent in a given school.