THE fortunes of a school ranked in the bottom 200 in the country for last year’s GCSE results look to have taken a turn for the better after praise from a Government minister.
Dyke House Sports and Technology College, in Hartlepool, is just one of 16 top-performing schools in the North-East and North Yorkshire which were among 400 UK schools congratulated with a letter from Schools Minister David Laws.
The school achieved impressive results for pupils achieving eight GCSEs, which could be in any subject, not necessarily English or maths in the summer of 2012.
The Mail reported last month that the Mapleton Road-based school was rated as one of the worst 200 in the country for last year’s GCSE results, which school headteacher Andrew Jordon blamed on the English marking row for the poor performance.
But new data shows a staggering 100 per cent of the school’s pupils achieved five or more A*-C grade GCSEs. English Martyrs’ School recorded 89 per cent of students achieving the same status, with High Tunstall College of Science having 80 per cent, St Hild’s Secondary School with 71 per cent and Manor College of Technology with 62.
The Hartlepool average was 79.1 per cent and the national average was 81.8 per cent.
Mr Laws’s letter to the school 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.”
Just 37 per cent of students at the school achieved five A*-C GCSE grades including maths and English last year, way short of the 60 per cent target set by the school.
But Mr Jordon had said the English results, which caused national outrage last year, had a 23 per cent impact on the school’s results. Reflecting on the pat on the back from Mr Laws, Mr Jordon said he felt “reassured that despite the fact certain things didn’t go so well last year, other things are still going in the right direction”.
He added: “We were quite surprised to get the letter because on other statistics we didn’t do very well, largely because of the fiasco that happened around exam-marking.
“There are certain measures we did do very well on last year, it was really only the English we didn’t do very well on.
“Because the maths results and other GCSEs within the school have improved so much and we have got good results in other GCSE subjects, we think that’s why we are in this category and are being praised.”
He paid tribute to the Year 11 group who achieved the results and staff who went through change as they moved from the Dyke House site to the former Brierton school site while the Mapleton Road school was being transformed under the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) scheme.