URGENT action is needed to fix the ‘clear problem’ with schools in Gosport.
The call has come after two of the town’s three secondary schools fell below the government’s minimum benchmark for GCSE results.
This is terrible news. We weren’t expecting major improvements, but these results are actually worse than the year before.Councillor Rob Hylands
Figures released by the Department for Education show not enough students at Brune Park Community School and Bridgemary School achieved five A* to C GCSEs or made sufficient progress in English and maths last year.
King Richard School, in Paulsgrove, and Park Community School, in Leigh Park, also failed to pass the 40-per-cent mark. Just 38 per cent of pupils at Brune Park achieved the national target, down from 40 per cent in 2014. And Bridgemary School, which is currently in special measures following a damning Ofsted report, is on 34 per cent, compared to 35 per cent the previous year.
Councillor Dennis Wright, who represents Bridgemary on Gosport Borough Council, said: ‘Clearly there is a problem there and it’s been going on for far, far too long. This has happened year-on-year for decades – Bridgemary has not been achieving the levels it should.’
Councillor Jill Wright said she feels the academy should be brought back into county council control and added: ‘All the time this is going on, children are going through the school without achieving what they are capable of and something needs to be done.’
Speaking about Brune Park’s results, Councillor Rob Hyland said it was ‘bad news for the whole of Gosport’.
He added: ‘This is terrible news. We weren’t expecting major improvements, but these results are actually worse than the year before.
‘I have been saying for some time that schools in socially deprived areas, such as Brune Park, where around a third of pupils come from disadvantaged backgrounds, our children are being badly let down by this education system.’
The autumn 2014 Ofsted inspection at Bridgemary led to the school being branded ‘inadequate’ – the lowest possible grade – and it was put into special measures. There have been three inspections since and in the latest visit, inspectors said headteacher Vicki White has taken ‘robust’ measures to address the poor results last summer.
Mrs White said: ‘The school is in special measures for a reason. I’ve been here for 18 months and it takes longer than that to turn a school around.
‘Often schools will go backwards before they go forwards. There was a slip, and it’s really disappointing.
‘But we have had massive staff turnover and we’ve worked incredibly hard to get the right staff for the school.’
Mrs White said she expects the school to be taken out of special measures following next month’s inspection and is ‘excited about the future’.
Despite an approach to Brune Park School there was no response.
Chris Anders, headteacher at Park Community School, in Leigh Park, said although GCSE results had gone down, they were now part of the Progress 8 pilot where children are measured by aggregate grades across their school career. And he said it had in fact been a record year for English results.
‘The headline figures are a distraction,’ said Mr Anders. ‘It was our best ever year for destinations of students. Only three or four former Year 11 pupils are not in education, employment or training. Record numbers have gone on to take A levels.’
Commenting on King Richard School, Councillor Neill Young, in charge of education at Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘The results at King Richard were disappointing. Ofsted recently inspected the school before Christmas and the report published this month notes that the current Year 11 are on track for better results this summer.
‘We know that the school is committed to driving up standards and will want to build on Ofsted’s recommendations for action following the inspection. We’re working closely with the school to ensure results in 2016 show an improvement.’
Portsmouth Liberal Democrat leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said King Richard School needs to be rebuilt before progress can be made.