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Political row over 'falling' GCSEs in Richmond
Richmond’s GCSE results fell for the first time in five years last summer - a dip Liberal Democrats blamed on cuts to the borough’s school improvement teams.
Since 2010, the council has cut the school improvement teams in half and last year seven out of eight local authority secondary schools saw a dip in their value added results – a measure of pupil progress compared with other schools in the country.
Cabinet member for schools Councillor Paul Hodgins said Lib Dems were “cherry picking” figures to gain political points ahead of next year’s local election.
He said: “It is a shame they are cherry picking numbers from the year of the acknowledged English GCSE marking fiasco to make cheap political points at the expense of our schools.”
Richmond Park Academy was the only local authority secondary school with improved results.
The Lib Dems said focus on structural changes, such as converting schools into academies and introducing sixth forms, had a negative effect on results.
Coun Hodgins said: “Sixth forms are an extremely exciting addition to our schools, hugely supported by both residents and the schools themselves.
“The Lib Dems hypocritically criticise academies, and yet they created the first three in our borough.”
Leader of the Lib Dems Stephen Knight criticised Conservative policies.
He said: “The results speak for themselves. This matters because the results affect the life chances of real local children who will not get a second chance.”
Headteacher of Waldegrave School Philippa Nunn said: “Last year our secondary schools saw an impressive performance in a number of key areas and over the past five years, there has been a 9 per cent improvement in five or more A* to C grades including English and maths across all our schools, bringing us well above the national average.
“This improvement can be seen in the rise of the number of young people making our schools their first choice.”