There have been calls to revamp Peterborough’s education system as the city slumped further down league tables.
The national provisional scores for pupils taking GCSE and equivalent were released this week, with figures showing the attainment of 16-year-olds and progress they make while at secondary school.
For attainment, Peterborough’s score declined from 42.1 to 41.9 (the national average is 44.3) - leaving the city ranked in the bottom 10 authorities in the country - ranked 144 out of 152.
For progress the score fell from -0.07 to -0.20 (the national average is -0.03) and the national ranking has fallen from 87 to 124.
The proportion of students achieving a grade 4 (equivalent to a grade C in past GCSE results) or above in both English and mathematics in Peterborough was 55.4 per cent, with 35.3 per cent achieving a grade 5 or better.
National outcomes are 59.1 per cent for grade 4 and above and 39.9 per cent for grade 5 and above. This outcome means that Peterborough schools’ outcomes have improved by 1 per cent since 2017, and the gap to the national average has closed by 1 per cent. The city’s national ranking has improved by 2 places to 142 out of 152.
The results come just a month after the city finished rock bottom for primary school exam results.
Following the latest results, Councillor Lynne Ayres, Peterborough City Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, said: “Whilst we are extremely disappointed with our position in the national rankings, we are pleased to see another increase in outcomes for pupils in Peterborough schools. This shows progress is being made and we continue to actively work with schools and partners to drive forward further improvements.
“We had hoped to see an improvement in the rate of progress made by students between age 11 and age 16, and are disappointed in the decline in the outcomes and national rankings for this measure.”
Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya said more needed to be done to improve.
She said: “There is undeniably a crisis in teacher recruitment and enormous challenges facing our schools under the current Government. I believe the Government’s fixation with structures has distracted school leaders and created panic in the schools system, at the expense of raising standards. We are 2.4 percentage points below the England average, so I do believe we can do more to improve.”
Cllr Shaz Nawaz, leader of the Labour group on Peterborough City Council added: “Our hardworking teachers and students do their best, but these results are a damning indictment of how education has been run in our city; there’s been a toxic mixture of national and local policies which have led to these results.”
Peterborough City Council no longer runs mainstream secondary schools in the city, and authority leader Cllr John Holdich refused to comment about the latest figures, and said: “It is our view that a comment should come from the chair of secondary heads.”
Dennis Kirwan, principal of Orton Bushfield Academy and chair of the Secondary School Heads in Peterborough said: “The 2017/18 unvalidated results published by the DfE yesterday demonstrate that whilst there are some strong outcomes there is further work to be done across the city.”
North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara said: “This relatively new ranking system does not provide a like for like comparison with the education system when local authorities ran the schools so a present day comparison between the two systems is difficult to make.
“That being said, these results are disappointing. Below average is not where we want to be and our local children deserve much better.
“The academy system has put control of running schools back into the hands of teachers, governors and school leaders and in the schools where the results are poor, they need to ask some searching questions as to the way forward.”