How Norwich schools performed in the GCSE and A-level league tables

Big improvements for Norwich schools failed to get the recognition they deserved in today's GCSE and A-level league tables – but headteachers said they still had plenty to be proud of.

The city's schools and academies were among some of the most improved in the country but could not prevent falls in the county's overall standings.

Having dropped from 78th to 103rd based on 2010's GCSE results, last summer's performance pushed Norfolk further down to 115th place out of 151 local authority areas.

It also suffered a big drop from 65th to 99th in the A-level league table.

But that was despite a 3.1pc increase in the percentage of pupils achieving the government's gold standard of at least five A* to C grade GCSEs, including English and maths.

Helping that improvement were a number of Norwich-area schools which recorded increases of 10pc and more on 2010's results.

Top of that list was Ormiston Victory Academy, in Costessey, which has been told by the department for education it is one of the most improved schools in the whole of the UK, having seen a 26pc rise in just one year.

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But because the league tables do not recognise the academy's previous results as Costessey High School, it did not appear on any of the 'most improved' lists.

Principal Rachel de Souza said it did not matter. 'We have had huge recognition,' she said. 'We got recognition in the education community.'

City Academy Norwich's 13pc improvement on 2010's results, and 20pc increase since 2008, also went unnoticed by the league tables.

Notre Dame High and Hethersett High joined Wymondham College, Aylsham High School, Long Stratton High and Framingham Earl High as some of the county's best at GCSE level thanks to improvements of 10 and 12 percentage points.

It all meant Norfolk was the 66th most improved local authority area in the country.

Alison Thomas, cabinet member for children's services, said: 'This is the biggest improvement we have seen at GCSE in the last six years and Norfolk's headteachers, staff and students should be commended for their very hard work.

'The vast majority of our schools have made significant progress on the previous year and we are already sharing good practice to help build on this success for the county's current year 11s.

'Of course there is always more to do and, as ever, we want improvements to continue so that every student in the county is achieving their potential.

'It is frustrating that we have not improved in the national rankings, despite being one of the most improved authorities, but the most important thing for our students and their parents is that there has been this improvement and we are confident that it will continue.'

Notre Dame headteacher Brian Conway said he would not be 'jumping for joy' about the statistics, despite his school's strong performance – which he put down to a particularly able cohort of pupils.

He said: 'One of the things you have to be careful with when looking at league tables is that there is always going to be someone at the top and someone at the bottom.

'All the league tables do is give you a ranking – they don't give you a full story.'

Those views were echoed by union leaders in Norfolk yesterday who called for an end to the annual publication of league tables.

Colin Collis, Norfolk branch secretary for the NASUWT union, said: 'The figures will mask huge success for teachers and pupils and it's about time we got away from these stupid league tables.

'League tables are a waste of time. They are a crude stick to beat schools and teachers with.'

Once again Norfolk barely registered on the list of schools achieving the government's latest measurement of choice – the English Baccalaureate, which requires A* to C grades in English, maths, double science, a language and either history or geography.

The measure was announced after last summer's cohort of GSCE pupils began their studies meaning many schools had not had time to adjust their curriculum.

Click on the link to the right to see the league table for Norfolk