SCHOOLS in Worcestershire have again improved their GCSE results, according to the latest figures.
The percentage of county pupils achieving five or more A* to C grades at GCSE or equivalent, including English and maths - the government’s benchmark - rose from 60.1 per cent to 60.7 per cent.
The 2012 secondary school league tables from the Department for Education also revealed Worcestershire schools are largely performing above the national average for the same benchmark of 59.4 per cent.
This is despite some Worcestershire schools seeing their results affected by last year’s English GCSE marking fiasco.
In Worcester, Nunnery Wood High School improved on its results from 2011, increasing the percentage of its pupils achieving the government benchmark from 54 per cent to 66 per cent, seeing it top the city’s state-funded schools.
Alun Williams, headteacher, said he was pleased to see a rise after the Spetchley Road school experienced a dip in its 2011 results, but warned league tables did not show the full picture.
He said: “League tables are very interesting. The main figure for league tables (the government benchmark) is quite a narrow figure and quite a volatile one.
“This year, we’ll see schools that have dipped and that’s because their English GCSE results dipped.
“It makes schools put a lot of emphasis on English and maths and there’s a risk other subjects might be neglected as a result.”
He added the tables failed to show the proportions of A and A*s achieved, which made up a third of Nunnery’s results last year, and said the English Baccalaureate was a measure of the subjects students chose and not academic ability.
Elsewhere in the city, Bishop Perowne CE College saw a drop in its results from 65 per cent in 2011 to 48 per cent in 2012, as did Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College, which fell from 73 per cent to 62 per cent, and Christopher Whitehead Language College - down to 57 per cent from 62 per cent.
Tudor Grange Academy off Bilford Road has continued to improve, seeing its results shoot up by nine per cent, with 47 per cent of its students now achieving the government benchmark.
Sam Roache, a deputy headteacher at the school, said: “We’re really proud of the students, who have worked so hard.
“They believed they could do it and we supported them. Our focus has been on outstanding teaching and learning, and the students have worked with us.
“We also had our first sixth form group come through last year. They took quite a leap of faith and they really mapped the way for our future sixth formers.
“We’re confident this year group will have the best set of results and even better than last year.”
In Malvern, Dyson Perrins CE Sports College saw its results rise from 53 per cent to 57 per cent, while The Chase saw a dip from 73 per cent to 55 per cent.
Hanley Castle High School saw a slight drop in its results by two per cent to 70 per cent, as did Malvern St James, which fell from 100 per cent in 2011 to 97 per cent last year.
Malvern College improved on its 2011 score, rising from 81 per cent to 92 per cent.
Kevin Peck, headteacher of The Chase, said the school’s results were among those marred by the GCSE English debacle.
He said: “The Chase’s GCSE results were actually the second-best ever last year in terms of students obtaining five or more A* to C grades and last 2012’s Year 11 did better than any other previous year group in terms of the proportion of grades awarded at A* or A, which was 34 per cent.
"Unfortunately our English results were frustratingly depressed by the exam board’s decision, under Government and Ofqual pressure, to raise the grade boundary between C and D grades in English by 10 marks after the examination had been taken.
“Had the same students taken the English exam the previous summer or in the January before, many more of them would have gained a C grade.”
In the Vale, Evesham High School's results dipped from 57 per cent to 53 per cent and Pershore High School saw a drop of 18 per cent, from 66 per cent to 48 per cent.
Prince Henry's High School in Evesham improved on its 2011 results, raising attainment of the government benchmark from 62 per cent to 69 per cent.
The King’s School Worcester and Malvern St James were the best performing schools in the county for GCSEs and equivalent qualifications, with 97 per cent of pupils achieving five A* to C grades, including English and Maths.
Meanwhile, RGS Worcester was ranked in the top 200 schools for the percentage of its pupils achieving the English Baccalaureate.
Nationally, Worcestershire ranked 53rd out of more than 150 authorities for the number of students achieving at least five A* to C grades at GCSE and equivalent qualifications, including English and maths.
The most improved school was Trinity High School and Sixth Form Centre in Redditch, whose GCSE results have risen from 32 per cent of pupils gaining the government benchmark in 2009 to 80 per cent in 2012.