Teenagers in the Bradford district have bucked the national trend as the latest figures reveal that they achieved improved GCSE results this summer in the face of a national decline.
But despite that, Bradford continues to lag behind national and regional averages for the number of students scoring the benchmark five A* to Cs at GCSE, including English and maths.
According to figures published by the Department for Education yesterday the number of students achieving that standard in Bradford was 52 per cent, compared to 47.5 per cent last year.
Across England and Wales, however, the average fell from 59 per cent to 58.6, while across Yorkshire and the Humber, the figure rose from 54.6 per cent to 56.8 per cent.
Bradford’s figure has increased by 4.5 percentage points year-on-year compared with the Yorkshire and Humber increase of 2.2 percentage points and the national decrease of 0.4 percentage points.
Councillor Ralph Berry, the Council’s executive member for children’s services, said work was going on in the district to close the gap, but the fiasco around this year’s English GCSE exams had also “damaged” Bradford’s performance.
He said: “We are working hard to make sure we are trying to close that gap. What happened with the English results was deeply frustrating because were it not for that the progress could have been that much better.
“We believe that progress has been made and the messing around with the English exam has actually damaged the overall view of Bradford’s performance, but we are not alone in that.”
Overall, Bradford was the 12th most improved local authority out of the 151 where GCSEs are taken.
The number of 16 to 18-year-olds awarded three or more A* to A grades at A-level in Bradford fell from 5.8 per cent to 5.6 per cent, which mirrored the national fall from 12.8 per cent to 12.5.
Kath Tunstall, the Council’s strategic director for children’s services, said: “These record GCSE results are a testimony to the hard work of the students and all who have supported them to bring about this achievement.
“These are provisional results and we await the validated results with interest.”
The number of students in Bradford gaining five A* to C GCSE overall also rose from 79 per cent to 81 per cent, compared to a national rise from 79.6 per cent to 81.1 per cent.
Councillor Roger L’Amie, the Council’s Conservative Group spokesman for education, said: “The fact that the key A* to C including maths and English is still behind the national and regional averages is a cause for serious concern.”
Councillor Jeanette Sunderland, leader of the Council’s Liberal Democrat group, said she was pleased for those who had achieved but said it was “disappointing” the authority still lagged behind.
She said: “What we need to see is that step change that we were promised and that goes back a number of years now, and we are still lagging behind which is really disappointing.
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