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High hopes lead to school results

MORE THAN 380,000 candidates sat GCSE examinations in religious education this summer, following a trend of increasing popularity over the past five years. The short course in RE — worth half a GCSE pass — attracted 246,906 entrants, 23,000 more than last year. More than 141,000 teenagers took the full GCSE course in RE — 6.6 per cent more than last year — only PE showed a greater increase.

Academically, RE candidates performed well. About two-thirds of full-course candidates were awarded passes at grades A* to C, compared with less than 60 per cent for all subjects.

The Revd Dr John Gay, director of Culham College Institute and the Church of England’s spokesman on religious education, said: "Fears that the short course would water down RE have been proved wrong. Instead, the subject now has a higher profile with many more schools."

Schools perform. Twelve Anglican secondary schools were among the most successful 100 comprehensives — more than twice their five-per-cent proportion within the system.

Eight C of E schools were in the top 50. They were Lady Margaret Girls’ School, Fulham, which led the country; St George’s School, Harpenden; St Aidan’s, Harrogate; Ranelagh School, Bracknell; Debenham High School, Stowmarket; Sexey’s School, Bruton; St Hilda’s Girls’ School, Liverpool; and Bishop Luffa School, Chichester.

With them in the top 100 were: the Bishop of Hereford’s School, Hereford; Crompton House School, Oldham; Canon Slade School, Bolton; and St Peter’s Collegiate School, Wolverhampton. St Olave’s C of E School, Orpington, and Wilson’s C of E School, Sutton, were among the most successful grammar schools.

The Church of England’s chief education officer, Canon John Hall, said the success of church schools, which included improving schools in challenging areas, was due largely to the high expectations of pupils.

 Canon Hall drew attention to St Luke’s School, Southsea, where the rate of A-C passes has increased from three per cent five years ago to 41 per cent. The head teacher, Krysia Butwilowska, said: "We’ve changed to a can-do culture."

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