THEY’RE the best-performing schools in the region ... and now they’ve been recognised by the Government.
The top North East establishments for GCSE success were congratulated by Schools Minister David Laws, who sent a letter of praise hailing how they performed in exams last summer.
The letters to a handful of schools follow the publication of school league tables last month, which showed more teenagers are leaving school with at least five A* to C grades.
Schools singled out for praise in our region include Emmanuel College, in Gateshead; St Wilfred’s RC College and Whitburn CofE Academy in South Tyneside; Southmoor Community School in Sunderland; Washington School; St Leonard’s RC Comprehensive; Durham Community Business College and Fyndoune Community College, in County Durham.
Writing to the headteacher of each, Mr Laws said: “I would like to congratulate your staff, governors and pupils for their hard work and success and thank you for your leadership in continuing the drive towards high standards of educational achievement.”
Speaking about Emmanuel College’s GCSE success, principal Jonathan Winch said: “If there is an Emmanuel formula it is to have the highest expectations of each student and to put character development in first place.
“This result recognises the hard work and determination of our students and the outstanding commitment and care that our dedicated team of staff demonstrate every day.”
Last summer, 99.5% of Emmanuel College students gained the benchmark five A* to C grades, with 86.8% hitting the target including English and maths.
Several subjects achieved a 100% A* to C pass rate including biology, chemistry, physics, German, music, graphic products and applied IT.
Last month’s secondary school performance tables revealed the gap between pupils on free school meals and all other pupils achieving five or more top grades, including English and maths, is at its lowest for five years.
In 2013/14 the Pupil Premium, which aims to support young people from poorer families, is £900 per child from reception class to Year 11. This is an increase of 45% per pupil compared with 2012/13.
Mr Laws added: “I am pleased to see the appalling attainment gap between the poorest pupils and their peers narrowing.
“This is indeed encouraging, but we must get rid of it completely. We are targeting more funding than ever before to help all children meet their full potential, whatever their background.
“Through the Pupil Premium, schools have the opportunity to make a real difference in improving children’s life chances.”