Birmingham's 16-year-olds have had their pride restored in school performance tables after achieving a massive improvement in their GCSE results, published today.
For the first time, the city has exceeded the national average for the proportion of children gaining at least five top A*-C grades in any subject.
Birmingham has seen its performance improve significantly from the previous year’s 62 per cent to a record high of 66.6 per cent. And that puts it above the new national average of 65.3 per cent.
Such a rise would have been enough to place Birmingham 51st out of all 150 local education authorities in England.
But the city’s students had previously fallen foul of a new measure of their GCSE prowess, when the government included English and maths within the ‘five or more’ figure.
That saw Birmingham plummet from 50th to 91st, followed by a further drop in 2007 to 101st. But today’s results show the city is now heading back in the right direction, with a rise to 94th.
The proportion of Birmingham pupils getting five A*-Cs, including English and maths, rose from 41.8 per cent in 2007 to 45.5 per cent last year – but that still leaves the city behind the national average of 47.6 per cent.
Tony Howell, strategic director for children, young people and families, said: “I congratulate all the children, parents, teachers and school staff.”
The number of Birmingham schools below the National Challenge floor target of 30 per cent five or more A*-C including English and maths has fallen from 27 to 20.
The city has until 2011 to turn them around or face possible government intervention or even closure, but Frankley Community High and Kings Norton High face pressure as their new figures stand at 11 per cent and 12 per cent respectively. That has put them in the bottom 25 of schools nationally.
Academies are leading the way in reducing low attainment. Among the 36 academies with results in both 2007 and 2008 there has been an increase of 11.5 percentage points in the five A*-C figure, more than double the national increase.
Birmingham has yet to open its first academy, but five of the six secondary schools in the process of taking on private sponsors fall within the city’s National Challenge list.
Sheldon Heath and Shenley Court are close to the target with 28 per and 27 per cent of pupils respectively achieving five or more A*-C grades including English and maths. St Alban’s CE is on 23 per cent, The College High 19 per cent, and Harborne Hill on 16 per cent. The Heartlands High improved its benchmark figure from 28 to 30 per cent.
Key: a = % of school's pupils who achieved % GCSEs at A* to C including Maths and English in 2007; b = % of school's pupils who achieved % GCSEs at A* to C including Maths and English in 2008, c = % of school's pupils who achieved % GCSEs at A* to C in any subjects 2007; d = % of school's pupils who achieved % GCSEs at A* to C in any subject in 2008