ST AIDAN's Academy, Darlington, is challenging the grades
attained by 40 pupils in this summer's GCSE examinations in
English. Although they were expected to achieve C grades or above,
they were awarded Ds. As it stands, only 34 per cent of pupils will
reach the crucial benchmark of 5 A*-C grades, including maths and
English, compared with 44 per cent last year.
The C of E school serves the
Eastbourne ward of Darlington, officially recognised as one of the
most deprived in Europe. It has achieved a significant rise in
standards since it opened six years ago.
After the GCSE results were announced
last week, the principal, Alison Appleyard, said: "We are going to
ask the examination board to review this as a matter of urgency."
The assistant principal for standards, Stephanie Francom, said:
"These results could limit the opportunities for our students in
Hundreds of other schools, including
other C of E secondaries, have been affected by the change in the
English grade boundaries, which have reduced the proportion of
pupils reaching the EBacc benchmark. In previous years, at least
six or seven were included among the top 30 comprehensives. This
year only two, The King's School, Peterborough, and Canon Slade,
Bolton, made the list.
The guidelines required stricter
attention to grammar, punctuation, and spelling, it is understood.
Some schools are thought to have avoided the effects by entering