More than 40% of 16-year-olds on the Isle of Wight failed to pass their English and Maths GCSEs this year, according to the Department for Education.
Figures for the 2017-18 academic year show that 46% of students didn’t reach the required passing grade in English and Maths.
Those 489 students are now facing compulsory resits in June next year.
New grading system for GCSEs
A total of 1,070 students took their GCSEs this year. Most of the exams are now graded on a 1-9 scale under the new system.
A pass grade, previously a C, is now a 4, with the top score of 9 reflecting the need for a grade higher than the previous A*.
The Government has defined a grade 5 as a ‘strong pass’, which would fall between a B and a C in the old system.
More girls than boys
Girls were more successful than boys, with 58% of girls achieving a grade 4 or above in English and Maths compared with 51% of boys.
The gap narrowed at grade 5 and above, with 34% of girls getting a ‘strong pass’ compared with 33% of boys.
System leaves many students feeling crushed, rather than proud
The Association of School and College Leaders, an education union, said that publishing how many pupils achieved a ‘strong pass’ is “an extremely confusing message for young people, their parents and employers”.
General secretary Geoff Barton said:
“The result is that many young people will have felt deflated and uncertain after taking this summer’s exams, despite having worked their hardest.”
“It cannot be right that we have a system which leaves so many students feeling crushed, rather than proud.”
Part of school ranking
Pupil attainment at GCSE level and individual pupils’ progress since starting secondary schools also form part of the school ranking system.
GCSE students on the Isle of Wight had overall attainment scores that were worse than the scores of other students in the South East, and behind the national average.
Progress scores show that a typical GCSE student from the area did worse than other pupils in England who started secondary school with similar results at Key Stage 2.
Less than 1/4 sat English Baccalaureate (EBacc)
The Department for Education wants more 16-year-olds to take English Baccalaureate (EBacc) subjects – English Language, English Literature, Maths, History, Geography, modern languages and the sciences.
The proportion of students taking at least five EBacc subjects, and their average scores, now contribute to school league tables.
The Government wants to see 90% of students taking the five ‘pillars’ of the EBacc- English, Maths, Science, History or Geography and a modern language – by 2025.
But on the Isle of Wight less than a quarter of the pupils opted for the EBacc.
NEU: 90% target is “delusional”
The National Education Union, which represents teachers, said that the Government’s 90% target is “delusional” and should be abandoned, arguing that the EBacc restricts subject choice for young people.
Assistant general secretary Nansi Ellis said:
“Since 2010 too many young people have been pushed onto inappropriate subject pathways and denied the opportunity to thrive in other valuable and challenging subjects.
“The EBacc policy is squeezing subjects such as Art, Music, Technology and Drama out of the curriculum, and must be stopped.”
NEU: Schools worth so much more than data alone
Ms Ellis also said that the performance measures used by the DfE to create school league tables are “not an accurate or reliable indicator of school effectiveness”.
“Schools and colleges are worth so much more than data alone can ever demonstrate.
“The DfE should stop using accountability measures in this flawed, damaging and inaccurate way.”