Monmouthshire council 'letting pupils down' over GCSEs

First published in News

A TOP Labour councillor has claimed children are being failed over GCSEs by Monmouthshire’s education authority.

County council group leader Dimitri Batrouni has cited data from the Welsh Government showing the authority’s schools are in the worst quarter in Wales for 15 year olds achieving five GCSEs at grade G or better.

The comparison is made between schools with similar levels of pupils taking free school meals.

However the authority claimed county schools continue to perform substantially above the Welsh average for GCSE and A Level attainment.

Councillor Batrouni said: “The Tories have managed to lead Monmouthshire into special measures for education and have now led us to the bottom of the table for pupils achieving 5 GCSEs at grades A to G.

“A child leaving school without five GCSEs is going to really struggle in the job market. It clearly shows that Tory-controlled Monmouthshire is failing our children and limiting their life chances.”

According to a Welsh Government benchmark for 2012/13 all four Monmouthshire comprehensives are in the bottom quarter of Welsh schools for children achieving five GCSEs at grade G or better, when compared to other schools with similar levels of pupils taking up free school meals.

A spokesman for Monmouthshire council said the county’s schools “continue to perform substantially above the Welsh average for both GCSE and A level attainment”.

He said: “In 2013, over seven out of ten of our young people (75.4 per cent) achieved grades A* to C at GCSE, massively above the Welsh average of 65.7 per cent, and 99.9 per cent of our pupils left school with a recognised qualification.”

The spokesman accepted that the council’s place on Wales’ pupil attainment tables, when compared with schools with a similar level of free school meals uptake, “is less positive”.

But the spokesman claimed that has improved significantly on the data presented.

“Whilst the Welsh Government has announced that it is to abandon this method of measurement, our improvement over the figures presented has been substantial. We are now focused on the present and await with interest the scheme that will replace this method of measurement,” the spokesman added.

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