We need to take a closer look at this year's GCSE results. The North-East has 10 schools in the Top 360 comprehensives in England and Wales, ranked according to average points score. The reality behind all the joyous self-congratulation is actually quite a sorry tale.
Nobody disputes the crucial importance of basic literacy and numeracy, essential as they are to learning and training at all levels.
So, let us take a critical look at the results achieved by the Top 10 comprehensives. The salient results are contained within the statistics for five or more GCSE Grades A* to C, including mathematics and English. Thus the Top 10 comprehensives in the North-East have an average score of 63.4%.
The proper way to look at this is to consider that 36.6% of these pupils failed to secure at least a Grade C in maths and English.
In three of the Top 10 schools, the failure rates were 52%, 50% and 49%.
We need to remind ourselves that these figures represent only high achieving comprehensive schools. This does not say much for the rest.
The people of the North-East must take their problems on board. Such woeful ignorance of basic English and mathematics is a shame that clouds the whole region.
CARLO MENOCCHIO, Durham