'Vote of confidence' for schools over exams

THREE Sleaford area schools under fire from the Government for failing to meet exam result targets have been given a vote of confidence by county education chiefs.

The Government has announced its National Challenge to improve exam results, singling out 638 schools nationwide in which less than 30 per cent of pupils got at least five grades A* – C at GCSE including English and maths.

In the Sleaford area last year the Lafford High School in Billinghay, already facing closure because of falling pupil numbers, achieved 24 per cent of pupils getting at least five good grades. Coteland’s School, Ruskington scored 26 per cent and Aveland High School in Billingborough just 16 per cent.

Local authorities have been asked to set out action plans to transform results in each school.

Coun Christine Talbot, Lincolnshire County Council’s executive councillor for secondary education and healthier communities, said: “It is anticipated that most schools will have achieved the targets by 2011. Lincolnshire has already applied all of the approaches suggested by the Government.”

Principal of St George’s College in Sleaford Paul Watson is also executive head of Aveland and Coteland’s schools and had been in charge of the Lafford school until stepping down recently.

He described the 30 per cent target as ‘a fairly blunt instrument’ and added: “It does not differentiate between types of school areas. In Lincolnshire you have got selection. If you take the results overall in the Sleaford area and add them together the children are doing extremely well.”