The county’s secondary schools have posted a disappointing set of GCSE results, according to the latest league tables.

Overview

Of the 16 schools in the Herefordshire table, six are rated as below or well below average. Just three are above.

The county’s performance overall in 2019 was behind both the English average for all schools and the average for all the English state schools.

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However, the picture is brighter at A-level, thanks mainly to John Kyrle High School and Hereford Sixth Form College.

Secondary schools (GCSEs)

The Department of Education measure schools by a complicated system of assessing the grades pupils get at GCSE compared with how they were performing when they arrived at secondary school. The school then gets a score based on their progress.

Only six of Herefordshire’s secondaries got a positive progress score, with 10 negative.

Four were rated as well below average. From bottom up they were: the small Brookfield Special School; Hereford Academy; Earl Mortimer College; Aylestone School.

Rated below average were Weobley and Bishop of Hereford Bluecoats.

At the top of the table was the Steiner Academy at Hereford, the only school rated well above average.

Two schools were rated above average: St Mary’s RC and Fairfield High.

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The rest all rated average, with marginal positive or negative scores.

Overall, Herefordshire’s GCSE results gave it a -0.19 score, against the English state sector average of -0.03.

The progress measure means schools can be ranked as average or below, even though the grades achieved may be high. For example, independent schools will often post good grade results, but education experts say they should be getting good results because they can choose their intake.

However, Herefordshire lags behind the rest of England when it comes to grades. Measuring Grade 5 passes and above at GCSE English and Maths, the county has a 40 per cent success rate, while English state schools achieved 43 per cent. And comparing grades across 8 GCSE exams, the county scores 44.7 against an English State average of 46.7.

Sixth form colleges (A-levels)

At A-level five schools and colleges are rated average or above in the progress scores, with just one below.

John Kyrle High School at Ross-on-Wye is the top rated school, followed by the independent Lucton School, both well above average.

The biggest A-level provider, Hereford Sixth Form College, comes out above average.

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Students at Hereford Sixth Form College

Given its size, with 939 students taking A-levels, this has a major impact on the county’s overall standing.

Hereford Cathedral and John Masefield schools are both rated average while the only one below is Herefordshire and Ludlow College.

In terms of grades, the county’s average student gets a C+ with an exam score of 33.64, compared with a C+ but a lower exam score of 32.87 for English state schools.

To compare your local schools, go to compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk.

What do league table ratings mean?

Herefordshire Council: “It is important to be aware of the many indicators used to make judgments about schools and not to rely solely on one.

“Some of Herefordshire’s A Level providers are in the top 10 per cent nationally.

“Many of our secondary schools are above average in other national published indicators.

“We have worked with secondary schools and academies and all acknowledge we can further improve collectively and individually.

“We are developing work across all Herefordshire Schools in collaboration and focusing on improving attainment and progress and much of this work is already under way.”

Nigel Griffiths, head of John Kyrle: “We are over the moon with this result.

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Nigel Griffiths

"We are in the top 2 per cent in the country for our progress score. We were 59th out of 4,300. I’d like to congratulate the students and my staff.”

Peter Cooper, principal of Hereford Sixth Form College: “For the last three years we have been in the top 20 per cent in the country in terms of A-level performances. I’m very proud of our students and staff who have contributed to continuing excellence.

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Peter Cooper

“We have had 31 Oxbridge offers this year – the most ever and one of the highest in the country. We also have a great record of our students completing university with first or high second class honours degrees so what we do prepares them well!”

Stuart Wetson, head of St Mary’s RC: “We are really pleased with the recent confirmation of the progress and attainment of our pupils from last year.

“The re-published KS4 data from the DFE shows that our pupils have done really well. Such progress and attainment is a credit to how hard the pupils and teachers worked collectively.

"To be placed 8th in the performance tables against ‘similar schools’ in England illustrates the high benchmarks that we set ourselves.

"What with Ofsted, a section 48 Church school inspection and the GCSE results, 2019 was a fantastic year and we hope for many more in the future”.

Andrew Teale, CEO of the Diocese of Hereford Trust: “The quality of education at the Hereford Academy has improved significantly in recent months and we were pleased this was recognised by Ofsted in October.

“We know there is still a great deal of work to do, but there is now real determination to continue improvements for our fantastic pupils and ensure they all flourish and fulfil their potential. We have very high expectations.”

Ian Peake, principal of Herefordshire, Ludlow and North Shropshire College, said: “The AS progress was above average and A-level progress close to average when compared to similar colleges. Pass rates were above average for both AS and A-levels.

"In English and Maths progress has improved over the last three-year period and is in line with outcomes for similar college student cohorts.

"In Applied General Qualifications the score is positive at + 0.19, and the average grade at distinction is above the national average. When compared with similar institutions, this outcome places the college in the top 10 of 156 colleges."