The latest round of GCSE results were published (in provisional form) on 24 October 2014. They show that Suffolk is still well behind the national average. Looking at the standard measure of the percentage of pupils gaining a C or better in 5 GCSEs (including English and maths) shows:
Suffolk County Council's take on these results (reported in the East Anglian Daily Times, 24 October) is misleading because they use the wrong national comparator. The EADT gives the last three years' gaps as -8.9, -4.6, -1.8 - rather better than reality.
The reason for the discrepancy is the Suffolk data from the Department for Education is for state-funded schools only, and the above analysis uses the national average calculated on the same basis. For SCC to get to a gap of just 1.8 they have used national data which includes all pupils from state-funded schools, independent schools, independent special schools, non-maintained special schools, hospital schools, pupil referral units and alternative provision. The overall outcome when you add in all those 'difficult' groups is to depress the overall result.
It is neither open nor honest for SCC to compare apples with pears in this way - but comes as no surprise to many!