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Education success story for Birmingham

Education success story for Birmingham

Birmingham’s growing reputation for education is underlined today with an impressive set of results from exams taken by pupils earlier this year.

For the third year running, the proportion of pupils gaining five or more A* to Cs at GCSE level was above the average for England – 72 per cent compared to a provisional national average of 70 per cent.

The result represents a six per cent rise on the previous year and a leap of 34 per cent over the last decade, confirming Birmingham’s position as the best large urban authority for educational attainment.

There was also a dramatic fall in the number of secondary schools below the Government’s "National Challenge" floor target of 30 per cent of pupils getting five or more A* – Cs at GCSE, including English and Mathematics, from 20 last year to ten.

For children just starting school, seven of the authority’s Early Years’ Foundation Stage targets for 2009 were exceeded (see table on page 12 of report).

A-level results were above the national average with 67 per cent of pupils achieving one or more A/B grade compared with 62 per cent last year. The average point score per student was 792 compared to a national average of 731.

Improvements continued to be made among groups identified at risk of under-achieving with the performance of black Caribbean boys and Pakistani boys both improving by nine per cent in GCSEs and five per cent among white disadvantaged boys.

Birmingham’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families Cllr Les Lawrence said: "Nationally, Birmingham is gaining recognition as an education powerhouse and earlier this year we were praised by the Secretary of State for the work we do addressing under-achievement.

"We are immensely proud of our schools, teachers and school staff, pupils and all those involved in this success story.

"Having said this, we are not complacent and we know there is more to be done, but I believe our reputation for consistent improvement should be acknowledged.

"There has quite rightly been much focus recently on issues surrounding safeguarding children which we are addressing.

"I hope we can also be recognised for what we do well."

Tony Howell, Strategic Director for Children, Young People and Families, said: "There has been a steady, quiet revolution with educational attainment in this city.

"Behind the scenes many dedicated people have been working extremely hard and we are riding on the crest of their commitment to raising standards.

"Teachers increasingly see us as a good place to work and want to become part of this success story.

"They know they will be supported by a Council and children’s services directorate that is 100 per cent committed to schools and educational success."

Birmingham schools also showed steady improvement in the proportion of pupils gaining five A* – Cs including English and maths – up two per cent to 47.5 per cent and just 2.2 per cent below the provisional national average of 49.7 per cent.

At Key Stage One, for tests taken by seven-year-olds, there was a two point increase in the proportion of children hitting the Level 2 target in both reading and writing to 80 per cent and 76 per cent respectively.

The proportion achieving Level 2 in mathematics remained unchanged at 85 per cent.

Among 11-year-olds at Key Stage Two, the proportion hitting the Level 4 target in English decreased by one per cent to 76 per cent, remained unchanged for mathematics at 75 per cent and decreased one per cent in science to 85 per cent.

However, over the last four years the city’s rate of improvement at Key Stage Two are better than the national average (see table 1c, page 14).

Earlier this year, Education Secretary Ed Balls praised Birmingham for "embracing its responsibilities" by drastically reducing the number of National Challenge schools.

One of the most dramatic improvements was at Harborne Hill, which last year was only half way towards the 30 per cent floor target and this year boosted its five A* – Cs including English and Mathematics at GCSE to 34 per cent.

Head teacher Andy Wright said: "I am very proud of what we have achieved. It is all about knowing your learners. We make sure we know our students really well and adapt the programme to meet their individual needs.

"This includes putting measures in place such as personal tuition, study support, holiday programmes and e-learning."


Further information from Shahid Naqvi 0121 303 3635.

  • Category: Local Services
  • Reference number: null
  • Issue date: 18 November 2009