When considering what secondary school might best serve their child, parents often look to the Government’s performance tables for GCSE results. In recent years in Greenwich these have often been an embarrassment. One thing which has particularly needled the Town Hall has been the number of potentially high performing pupils from the Borough who have chosen to go to a grammar school in Bexley.
Some years ago the council tried to combat this by an advertising campaign featuring well-known people who had been educated in the Borough exhorting others to “Get a Greenwich Education”. I remember in particular footballer Anton Ferdinand and Trudie “June Ackland from The Bill” Goodwin. While the posters told us when Anton had attended Blackheath Bluecoat School, they were too polite to tell us Trudie’s Eltham Hill vintage.
On the same theme the rebuilt Crown Woods campus near the Bexley border will be split into four distinct units including Delamere School for “high-ability” 11-16 year olds and seemingly a grammar school that dare not speak its name.
However the recently published results for 2010 are interesting. Just over 50% of pupils at Greenwich achieved five GCSE passes at A*-C Grade including English and Maths. This puts us in a lowly 29th place out of the 32 London Boroughs. At the same time it continues a significant upward trend from the nadir of 2007 when Greenwich was firmly at the rear with a 34% pass rate.
2010 GCSE results 5 A*-C passes including English & Maths
|1||Kensington & Chelsea||71.3|
5 GCSEs at Grade A*-C including Maths & English
|Rank||Borough||Increase in % pass rate|
So is the glass half full or half empty? Greenwich Time has predictably concentrated solely on the improvement and ignored the raw figures, while Greenwich Conservatives provide an alternative, somewhat churlish, slant.
I feel that while there is clearly a lot of scope to do better, things do seem to be moving in the right direction and that Greenwich officers and lead Councillor Jackie Smith(no relation to the former Home Secretary) have cause for some limited trumpet blowing.
Whether examination results are the best indicator of a school’s performance is, of course, another issue...
Department for Education results for all schools can be seen here.
Paul Webbewood is a former Liberal Democrat councillor for the Middle Park and Sutcliffe Ward.