Wakefield secondary schools are best in West Yorkshire

Wakefield Girls High School has the top results for new attainment 8 measure.
Wakefield Girls High School has the top results for new attainment 8 measure.

Secondary schools in Wakefield are the best in West Yorkshire under new measures to record pupils’ achievements.

The district’s overall performance, according to 2016 results, was above the national average and the best of five local authorities in the county, government figures revealed last week.

For the first time this year, schools have not been judged on the proportion of pupils scoring five or more C grades at GCSE, including in English and maths.

Instead, ministers have introduced a new headline measure called “Progress 8”, which looks at the progress a pupil makes from the end of primary school to the end of secondary school, across eight qualifications.

Four Wakefield schools - Airedale Academy, St Thomas a Becket Voluntary Academy, Outwood Grange Academy and De Lacy Academy - all academies which means they are independent of Wakefield Council, were rated “above” the national average on the new measure.

But it was Castleford Academy that topped the district’s performance tables, with a rating “well above” the country’s average.

Headteacher George Panayiotou said: “This has placed us in the top six per cent of schools nationally, which is phenomenal. The achievement is a credit to all staff, students and their families. The most pleasing aspect of this work is the opportunities it creates for each student to further progress in the future. We are very proud of them.”

The district’s overall Progress 8 results also make Wakefield schools the third top performing in the whole of the Yorkshire and Humberside region.

Wakefield Council leader Peter Box said: “We are delighted that pupils in secondary schools in Wakefield have made the most progress in West Yorkshire at the time of their GCSE exams.

“I would like to congratulate all the students on their hard work and successes, and thank their parents and teachers who have supported them.”

Under the new system, schools are also given an “Attainment 8” score based on how well pupils have performed across eight qualifications including English and maths.

Wakefield Girls’ High School was given the top score in the district under the measure.

Headteacher Nina Gunson said: “It was wonderful to celebrate the GCSE successes of our girls last summer, with 75 per cent of passes at A*/A, 37 girls gaining straight A*/A grades and 12 girls achieving eight or more A*s, a testament to their tremendous hard work, confidence in their own ability and the support and expertise of our teaching staff.”

In A-level performance, Queen Elizabeth Grammar School topped the tables, after obtaining the highest score, based on the performance of pupils sitting “academic” qualifications.

Headteacher David Craig said the boys also performed well in their GCSE exams. He said: “Last summer’s GCSE results were again very strong, with two thirds graded A*/A - some four times higher than the UK benchmark for boys.

“QEGS enters boys for the International GCSE (iGCSE) examinations in maths and English which we feel prepares them better for A-level success and entry into top flight universities, yet somewhat frustratingly, these are not recognised in official government performance statistics.”