A Catholic school has hit out at the Department for Education (DfE) after a statistics blunder made out the school’s results had plummeted.

In figures released last month, St Catherine’s School’s results seemed to slide from fourth in the borough to third from bottom.

Staff at the independent girls’ school in Twickenham said they notified the DfE of the error in November but the wrong results were still published in January.

Headteacher Paula Thomas said: “It has most certainly affected us.

“I have been inundated with emails asking why we have put false data on our website.

“I am deeply concerned that these incorrect results will seriously damage the school’s reputation as well as having negative financial implications.”

The incorrect data showed that almost double the number of students sat GCSEs and only 49 per cent achieved five passes including English and maths, compared with the actual figure of 91 per cent – 42 percentage points higher than the DfE published.

Sister Paula said: “I know that there are people who would not even consider us now. We work so hard and these kids have worked so hard too.

“I think the DfE has got to be careful. They should send the data to schools and give us time to check it a week beforehand so things like this do not happen.”

The school was told it would take two weeks for the correct results to be published on the DfE website.

A DfE spokesman said: “All schools and colleges are asked to confirm their data during our rigorous checking exercise in September, giving them the opportunity to review figures to ensure accuracy.

“Our records show that St Catherine’s School did not take part in this checking exercise and as a result is disputing the published figures.

“We have received information from them and are looking into this.”