MIDHURST Rother College plummeted to the bottom of the county GCSE league table in the wake of stringent measures introduced by the government.
Figures released show the college among the poorest performing schools in West Sussex – last on the table except for Seaford College, penalised because pupils sat exams excluded by the government’s new measures.
In 2012, the percentage of MRC students achieving five or more A* to C grades, including maths and English, was 73 per cent. It also received ‘Outstanding’ status in an Ofsted inspection.
But the impact of the changes was evident in 2014 when only 35 per cent of MRC pupils met this target.
The drastic decline comes after a crackdown on the exams system, with new government rules banning schools from including results from re-sits and ‘poor-quality’ vocational courses.
Dr Joe Vitagliano, principal at MRC, said there ‘was no excuse’ for the results, but claimed students could have fared worse.
“At Midhurst Rother College we believe strongly in doing what is right for our students.
“When the change to how the tables would be calculated was announced in September 2013, we had already begun preparing our Year 11 students for the opportunity to sit some exams twice to build up their confidence and experience.
“The downside of this approach was that we fell in the 2014 league tables.
“The upside was that more students achieved a better grade than would otherwise have been the case – 52 per cent last summer (as opposed to the ‘first entry’ figure of 35 per cent published in the tables).
“The headline GCSE figures in the performance tables therefore paint a very partial picture of the college’s achievements in 2014. For example, the figures that measure the progress that students actually make at the college tell a very positive story.
“However, we are neither complaining nor looking for excuses – once again, we are very focused on supporting our students to the best of their abilities, have set very high aspirations for them, and look forward with confidence to this forthcoming summer’s results.”
See all the full GCSE round up for Chichester, Midhurst and Petworth and Bognor here:
But there was good news for the college this week as it became one of just six schools nationally to qualify for the final of Young Engineers’ School of the Year – for the full story see next week’s paper (February 12).