School slams the GCSE table

Battle Abbey School has criticised Government GCSE League Tables as being ‘misleading’.

In response to an article published in the Battle Observer last week ‘Claremont is top in class tables’ Battle Abbey School were quick to claim the data that generated the tables was flawed, omitting some subjects altogether and “painting an unrealistic and unfair reflection of school results.”

James Dennett, from the school said: “This issue was highlighted recently in the National Press and the tables have been branded “nonsense” by most private schools because of a controversial change in which qualifications are recognised by the Department for Education.

“The Government this year phased out international GCSEs, favoured by many private schools as more rigorous, from its performance data.

“Richard Harman, chairman of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, which represents many leading independent schools, said these omission made the tables “absurd”.

“He said several of the UK’s most highly performing independent schools and others offering this excellent qualification will now appear to be bottom of the class in the Government’s rankings.

David Clark, Headmaster of Battle Abbey School, said: “We would like to congratulate Claremont on their GCSE results but would like to point out that the tables as published do not take into account results in the more difficult iGCSE grades.”

James Dennet went on to say: “Several other top Schools in East Sussex including Battle Abbey School and Eastbourne College, who are traditionally two of the top performing Schools in the area, were penalised by the grading system for offering iGSCEs to their pupils. Eastbourne College are always listed as achieving 0% in the tables despite generally excellent academic results.

“As one of several schools in Sussex who have suffered as a result of the policy of omitting IGCSE results we feel it only fair to point out that had the more rigorous iGCSEs been taken into account the GCSE table would look very different.

“In fact had iGCSE Maths been taken into account Battle Abbey School would be second in the table.”

Last year’s GCSE results saw 90 percent of Battle Abbey students securing all A* - C grades with 92 percent of all pupils achieving at least five passes.

Mr Clark said: “In fact 49 percent of all grades were either A or A*.”

He added: “The shift in focus away from coursework to exams saw a slight dip in overall pass rates nationally and we are no different.”