John Denham, Labour MP for Southampton Itchen, says city schools must maintain their focus on raising standards. Recent marked improvements in results have still not taken the city far from the bottom of key national league tables.
A new analysis from the House of Commons library confirms an overall improvement in Southampton’s schools. But on the most widely used and most important secondary school measure – good GCSE’s with Maths and English – the H city still ranks among the worst local authority in the country. On this measure Southampton relative performance has actually worsened over recent years. A gap is also beginning to emerge between students from poorer and from better off homes, with children on free school meals performing well below the national average.
The new statistics do show a dramatic improvement at primary level as local schools come close to the national average for the first time in recent years. They also show improvement in secondary school GCSE passes where students do not necessarily get good grades in Maths and English.
The analysis highlights:
* On the key measure of the percentage of students getting 5 A* to C grades including English and Mathematics, Southampton schools have dropped from 114th down to 136th out of 151 local authorities in the last 3 years.
* In the last 2 years, Southampton has risen 27 places in the rankings when comparing the percentage of pupils achieving 5 A* to C grades (but not necessarily including Maths and English) halving the previous 9.4% gap with the national average.
* Only 47% of Southampton pupils on free school meals achieved 5 A* to C GCSEs last year, well below the national average of 57.8%.
* Southampton’s primary schools have nearly closed an 8% gap with the national average of pupils achieving level 4 or above in both English and Maths in Key Stage 2 tests, rising from just 64% in 2009 up to 73% in 2011.
John Denham, Labour MP for Southampton Itchen, said: “Some great progress has been made and this reflects real commitment and hard work by teachers, but the fact remains that our secondary schools are still not doing as well as they could. The recent success at primary level shows that city children are capable of achieving the same results as children right across the country. There is no reason secondary schools cannot do the same, and as the latest group of higher achieving primary children go through secondary education we should expect to see standards rise.
“It is particularly important that the City Council works with schools to understand why children from the poorest homes do so much worse than they would do in other parts of the country.”Other news from Southampton Labour