Thomas Clarkson finishes bottom of Fenland schools league table but head remains upbeat

PRINCIPAL Maureen Strudwick today insisted that Thomas Clarkson Community College is moving onwards and upwards and called for the Government and residents to acknowledge it. It comes after the Secondary School Tables – released yesterday – revealed tha

PRINCIPAL Maureen Strudwick today insisted that Thomas Clarkson Community College is moving "onwards and upwards" and called for the Government and residents to acknowledge it.

It comes after the Secondary School Tables - released yesterday - revealed that just a quarter of students at the Wisbech school who sat GCSE exams last year achieved five A* to C grades including English and maths.

The results are the worst in Fenland but are an increase of one per cent on last year's results at the college. The tables show 25 per cent of 252 students made the grade - the national average is 47.8 per cent.

Ministers are demanding that at least 30 per cent of pupils in each school gains five good passes, including English and maths, by 2011.


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Mrs Strudwick said: "Our percentage is an improvement and it is not as good as we wanted, but there are many other green shoots which Ofsted have acknowledged.

"However, we would really like the Government and the community to acknowledge that this is an improving school.

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"This is an improving school, but we know we still have a long way to go."

The number of students who got A* to C grades in English improved by 11 per cent, with maths improving by seven per cent. The number of students who got five A* to C grades improved by nine per cent.

The college's contextual added value, which measures students' improvement during their time at the school, is also heading towards the national average.

Mrs Strudwick said: "Every indicator went up, but the one that the Government is using as the overall measure went up by just one per cent.

"We are by no means complacent. We are not sitting here thinking we are home and dry because clearly we are not. But Ofsted acknowledges we are improving, as does the local authority."

The college, however, came top of the local authority table for its absence rate with 10.5 per cent of its students being persistently absent - again the worst score in Fenland.

Earlier in the week it was revealed the college also had the most exclusions in Fenland with 269 involving 150 pupils, although that was a reduction of 40 on the previous year.

Mrs Strudwick said: "Persistent absence is high but that has improved. In 2008 it was 12 per cent, but it has now gone down to 10.5 per cent.

"And when Ofsted came here in November our exclusion rate was half the number of the previous year.

"Whilst they are still high, and we still acknowledge that, it's all about green shoots. It's onwards and upwards."

Sir Harry Smith Community College had a 58 per cent rate of good passes among its 180 GCSE candidates and a ranking of 25th within the local authority. Its persistent absence rate was 3.8 per cent.

Chatteris Cromwell Community College students achieved a 49 per cent pass rate of A* to C grades including maths and English giving it a ranking of 28th. It had an absence rate of 5.1 per cent.

Out of 277 GCSE students at Neale-Wade Community College in March, 43 per cent attained five A* to C grades including maths and English giving it a ranking of 30th in the local authority. Its absence rate of 6.3 per cent makes it the sixth worst school in Cambridgeshire for persistent absence.

Wisbech Grammar School students had a 99 per cent pass rate at A* to C including maths and English among its 84 exam entrants.

The Peele Community College in Long Sutton had a 46 per cent pass rate at GCSE grades A* to C including maths and English.

In Norfolk, Marshland High School 36 per cent of students gained A* to C grades including maths and English, with St Clements High School following on with 37 per cent.

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