Nine in 10 youngsters miss out on key benchmark

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Almost nine in 10 youngsters in Blackpool left school without achieving a key government benchmark last year, it has been revealed.

Just 10.5 per cent of students entered for the English Baccaluareate (EBacc), introduced to measure performance in core subjects, were successful, provisional figures released by education chiefs show.

It is the second worst figure in England and Wales at less than half the national average of 22.5 per cent and has been branded ‘disappointing’.

Blackpool Council’s schools boss, Coun John Jones, said: “It’s disappointing the results are showing as they are.

“We have got some schools that are performing better and are coming up to national levels, but the government don’t see it’s not a level playing field.

“We have issues around behaviour, attendance, and attainment, and they are all linked to the town as a whole. We are a very deprived town with big issues and some chaotic families.

“You can’t look at it the same as anywhere else. We are not a leafy suburb in the south.

“But that’s not an excuse and we need to do better. We are determined to put this right and increase grades.”

The EBacc is awarded to students who achieve at least a C grade in English, maths, history or geography, science, and a foreign language, and was given to fewer than 40 pupils who sat their GCSEs at schools across Blackpool earlier this year.

The number of pupils at schools in Wyre and Fylde achieving the benchmark also fell from 23 per cent last year to 22.5 per cent this year.

However, the number of students achieving five A* to C grades, including in maths and English, rose from 56.8 per cent to 58.1 per cent.

In Blackpool, that number fell from 44 per cent to 41.5 per cent in the same period.

Coun Matthew Tomlinson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools at Lancashire County Council, said: “These are still provisional figures, however it is encouraging that our GCSE results appear to have improved and remain significantly above the national average. Our provisional results for the EBacc are exactly in line with the national average.

“The EBacc is one performance measure for schools and they are well aware of its growing importance.

“Their key priority is to support their pupils to make sure they choose the subjects that are best suited to their future plans and career aspirations.”

The Department for Education will release its final figures in January, once schools receive outcomes from any appeals.

Around 55,000 grades were changed last year.