IN THE week the Prime Minister and his education secretary hit out at “mediocre” schools, and nationally schools themselves defended performance against new criteria, Thurrock schools are on the up.
According to the latest figures for GCSE performance last summer, Thurrock schools have an overall average of 57.9 per cent of pupils achieving at least five GCSEs at grades A to C including English and Maths, the government’s benchmark.
The national average is 56.8 and Thurrock outperformed eight of the other ten authorities in the eastern region – including Essex, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and central Bedfordshire. Nationally, results fell by 4 per cent.
Cllr John Kent, Thurrock Council Leader and educational portfolio holder, said: “These figures just confirm what we’ve been saying for the past two years and more.
“Starting from a low base point, Thurrock’s schools and Thurrock’s young people are marching ever onwards and upwards and at last local people are starting to believe it too as instead of knocking schools at every opportunity, they are joining me in heaping much-deserved praise.
“I don’t think there’s any one reason for this improvement, but instead a steady push by all partners, the schools, the council, governors, pupils and parents all working together as a team and through the Education Alliance and the Excellence network.”
He added: “In view of the government’s recent statements, threatening ‘poor performing schools’ and demanding children learn their times-tables by rote, I think our partnership focus and its success is all the more important.
“Politicians should stop tinkering around the edges of education, but instead make it easier for the education experts to use their expertise together, for the benefit of all instead of the benefit of certain schools and pupils.
“Competition has its place, but so does co-operation, collaboration and partnership.”
Cllr Kent said that despite changes in the national measures which saw many local authorities and schools face a drop in their performance compared to the previous year, Thurrock saw a rise in the percentage of children hitting the benchmark.
He said: “Even better is that three-quarters of pupils here are making at least the expected progress compared with just a third nationally and 68 per cent in the region including Southend at 71.4 per cent and Essex at 66.4 per cent.
“This shows the value of joined up thinking and joined-up working. We have a clear commitment – shared with all our schools and academies – that we want each one of them to be good or outstanding by the end of 2016 and that means good attainment for all pupils.
“The schools in Thurrock have a strong partnership and are working with us and with each other to drive up standards for all.”
Individual school results are as follows:
Harris Academy Chafford Hundred 91
Gable Hall 72
Grays Convent 63
St Clere’s 61
The Ockendon Academy 50
Hathaway Academy 46
The Gateway Academy 45
Hassenbrook Academy 44
Ormiston Park 33
William Edwards 60