This Portsmouth secondary school has been named the city’s best-performing for the second year in a row

For the second year running, St Edmund’s Catholic School has been named the region’s best performing state school.

Friday, 25th January 2019, 10:41 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 7:03 pm
Simon Graham, headteacher St Edmund's Catholic School - the city's best performing state school

It comes after the school league tables for GCSEs from last summer were released yesterday.

Secondary schools are now measured by the progress pupils make during their time at the school in eight subjects - a mark known as Progress 8.

Overall Portsmouth scored -0.34 in this measure - compared with a national average of -0.02. 

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A Progress score of 0.55 puts St Edmund’s in the the top five per cent of schools nationally.

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With 58 per cent of pupils attaining level 5 and above in maths and English the school also outperformed its counterparts in terms of raw outcomes.

Headteacher Simon Graham said: ‘I am very proud we have maintained the standards from previous years. It is a great credit to the students, who have worked hard throughout their time at the school, and the support of our dedicated staff.’

However, Mr Graham did express concerns over the new GCSEs and cited it as a possible reason for the decrease in Progress 8 scores across the city. Whilst still comfortably above average, even St Edmund’s has seen a drop from the previous year’s score.

‘We found the new GCSE far harder for students,’ he said. ‘The exams demand a far higher level of skills, language and even life experience. The level of depth and detail required is very high and for a large number of students is simply not accessible. The current system is so ingrained in academic performance that it restricts the opportunity for students with other more practical strengths to excel.’

He also feels the new system was introduced in a rushed manner which did not give schools the chance to fully prepare.

Mr Graham said: ‘The system was brought in with little guidance and as educationalists we ourselves are learning about the demands of the syllabus.’

The situation also appears to have been compounded by a lack of necessary funding.

‘Despite the implementation of a whole new curriculum, no additional resources were provided,’ Mr Graham said. ‘There was no extra funding to purchase new text books, equipment or provide staff training.’