Burnley bottom of Lancashire's GCSE league table

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Burnley bottom of Lancashire's GCSE league table Burnley bottom of Lancashire's GCSE league table

LANCASHIRE County Council has ‘ruined education in Burnley’, the town’s MP has said.

Gordon Birtwistle hit out after a new report revealed just 44.4 per cent of Burnley secondary school children gained five GCSEs at grades A* to C - almost 16 per cent below the national average.

Burnley was the worst performing borough in Lancashire at both GCSE and Key Stage Two level in 2012-13.

The second worst was Pendle with 51.3 per cent of students passing five GCSEs at grades A* to C.

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On the Burnley results Mr Birtwistle said: “The county council have to hang their heads in shame for failing children and parents in Burnley.”

The Lib Dem MP claimed LCC’s £250million Building Schools for the Future (BSF) project, launched in 2005 to re-organise secondary schools in Burnley and Pendle, had forced parents to look elsewhere for ‘quality education’.

Burnley’s 2012-13 GCSE attainment rates, which include English and maths, fell by 1.3 per cent on 2011-12's results - 16.5 per cent short of the Lancashire average of 60.9 per cent.

But headteachers have defended the town’s schools and said progress was being made.

David Burton, headteacher at Sir John Thursby Community College, said: “The full BSF vision for Burnley will take some time to be realised but the important thing is that people get involved in making it happen.

“It is easy to stand on the side and criticise but we all need to be the change we want to see in Burnley."

Mr Birtwistle said parents were voting with their feet by sending children to schools in Blackburn, Hyndburn and the Ribble Valley.

He said: “They come up to me on a regular basis and say that schools in Burnley are not up to scratch. They are not delivering young people with the education they need to move on in life.

“LCC has let Burnley down very badly. They have known about this problem ever since they merged all the schools. Before that, we had really good schools.

“They have ruined education in Burnley. It has literally collapsed. Their complete incompetence is to blame for all of this, I hope they are aware of that.

“The pupils leaving would bring the figures back up. I want them to stay in Burnley and create wealth in Burnley. LCC’s rank incompetence at delivering a successful secondary education in Burnley has prevented that.

“Doing five schools at once literally destroyed the educational attainment and experience of young people in Burnley and now we send ten buses a day to the rest of Lancashire.”

But Richard Varey, headteacher at Blessed Trinity RC College, revealed that his school was fully subscribed for the next academic year.

Mr Varey said: “We have improved two years in a row by five per cent each year, but we’re not where we want to be and hopefully we’ll get our best ever results next year.

“We’re really pleased that we’ve improved on what St Hilda’s and St Theodore’s were achieving.

“I think Burnley is a good town with good youngsters. I think change takes some time to imbed but I don’t think the school experience is about buildings, it’s about good teachers and engaged pupils.

“There is no reason to leave Burnley to find a good school. This is the best place I’ve worked in 25 years of teaching.”

Padiham’s Shuttleworth College was the second worst performing school in the borough, with 33 per cent of pupils attaining five GCSEs at grades A* to C, just ahead of Hameldon Community College, which saw 32 per cent of pupils hit the same targets.

Bob Wakefield, headteacher at Shuttleworth College, said: “East Lancashire does face challenges many areas don’t.

“Obviously we are working hard to improve fast but clearly we’ve got a distance to go yet. We need to make sure we improve.

“BSF was before my time but I know other heads say it was a difficult time for schools. It did take quite a while to get on the right track, but hopefully we will close the gap with other areas soon."

According to a report going before the county council’s education scrutiny committee next Tuesday, Pendle was the second worst performing borough in Lancashire, with 51.3 per cent of students passing five GCSEs at grades A* to C.

Ian Adlington, acting head teacher at Marsden Heights Community College, Nelson, said: “You have to consider the levels of deprivation in our catchment area.

“Literacy levels are low, English as an additional language is an issue among the Eastern European and Asian background pupils, but as I said, we as a school are improving.

“The general mood here is that we’re moving upwards. Over time there have been steady improvements.

“When BSF was introduced, it was about more than simply the improvement of students’ results, it was to address social unrest.

“I think it’s too complex to link that to exam results.”

County Councillor Matthew Tomlinson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools at LCC, said: “Last summer's disappointing secondary results were largely due to lower grades in English exams following further changes to the exam system and an increase in the marks required for a grade C, which particularly affected C/D borderline students.

“However, I am reassured by figures that show the brightest students in Burnley schools do as well in their exams as anywhere else in the county.

“We are working closely with schools in Burnley to help raise attainment and there are positive signs about the impact of the schools' hard work on the coming year's results.”

Comments (13)

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6:33am Thu 6 Mar 14

u owe u owe says...

Point scoring for 22nd of May perhaps.
Point scoring for 22nd of May perhaps. u owe u owe
  • Score: -2

7:29am Thu 6 Mar 14

Colneunitedfc says...

Time for a new school in the town ???
Time for a new school in the town ??? Colneunitedfc
  • Score: 0

8:10am Thu 6 Mar 14

DaveBurnley says...

Colneunitedfc wrote:
Time for a new school in the town ???
Great idea, let's split the money for schools even further. That way each school will have even less to spend on educating the pupils.
[quote][p][bold]Colneunitedfc[/bold] wrote: Time for a new school in the town ???[/p][/quote]Great idea, let's split the money for schools even further. That way each school will have even less to spend on educating the pupils. DaveBurnley
  • Score: 8

8:36am Thu 6 Mar 14

Dingle Dangle says...

And?
And? Dingle Dangle
  • Score: -6

9:23am Thu 6 Mar 14

fkhan says...

With those comments from the acting head at Marsden Heights, it would seem the school has run out of ideas therefore the goverment should step in and take over the school and close it down as the local community has had enough......
With those comments from the acting head at Marsden Heights, it would seem the school has run out of ideas therefore the goverment should step in and take over the school and close it down as the local community has had enough...... fkhan
  • Score: -1

10:34am Thu 6 Mar 14

Burnley_Sailor85 says...

Personal opinion? What a crock of sh*t. The rot was set in way before the new schools. I went to Gawthorpe and left in 2002 with 2 GCSE's to my name (both in Science as it was a double graded course). No offence to the teachers I had, but I found them to spend more time on those who wilfully disrupted and caused chaos during lesions (many of who I see these days wouldn't look out of place on the stage of Jeremy Kyle). It was only when I went to college that I attained Key Skills in Maths and English.
Personal opinion? What a crock of sh*t. The rot was set in way before the new schools. I went to Gawthorpe and left in 2002 with 2 GCSE's to my name (both in Science as it was a double graded course). No offence to the teachers I had, but I found them to spend more time on those who wilfully disrupted and caused chaos during lesions (many of who I see these days wouldn't look out of place on the stage of Jeremy Kyle). It was only when I went to college that I attained Key Skills in Maths and English. Burnley_Sailor85
  • Score: 16

11:00am Thu 6 Mar 14

technician1 says...

Absolutely agree that the last thing that Burnley needs is another school!
Absolutely agree that the last thing that Burnley needs is another school! technician1
  • Score: 3

12:29pm Thu 6 Mar 14

TONY WALES says...

Shows the true picture of the standard of education in Burnley.
Now everybody will start to blame each other, and no body admit they are not performing to standard.
Is it's any wonder that employers pay poor wages, and you have so many people looking for work, many of the out of work people are poorly educated compared with other areas of the country. Also the jobs available are poorly paid compared with other parts of the country.
The MP's can tell the rest of the country, how great it is to set up a company here, but employee's can see the real picture.
Drive around Burnley, would you want to come and live, and work here?
The population is falling is it any wonder?
Shows the true picture of the standard of education in Burnley. Now everybody will start to blame each other, and no body admit they are not performing to standard. Is it's any wonder that employers pay poor wages, and you have so many people looking for work, many of the out of work people are poorly educated compared with other areas of the country. Also the jobs available are poorly paid compared with other parts of the country. The MP's can tell the rest of the country, how great it is to set up a company here, but employee's can see the real picture. Drive around Burnley, would you want to come and live, and work here? The population is falling is it any wonder? TONY WALES
  • Score: 1

10:17pm Thu 6 Mar 14

Colneunitedfc says...

A new school, a new start - seems perfect to me - parents are disillusioned with standards of the schools in Burnley and the method of teaching - this town needs new ideas and a new way of inspiring kids -

If schools are failing why should they not have competition from new schools with new ideas - kids live in the most stimulating times in history - iPads, iPhones etc... Yet we still teach them in bog standard lessons we did 50 years ago - we need to think outside of the box
A new school, a new start - seems perfect to me - parents are disillusioned with standards of the schools in Burnley and the method of teaching - this town needs new ideas and a new way of inspiring kids - If schools are failing why should they not have competition from new schools with new ideas - kids live in the most stimulating times in history - iPads, iPhones etc... Yet we still teach them in bog standard lessons we did 50 years ago - we need to think outside of the box Colneunitedfc
  • Score: -3

7:13am Fri 7 Mar 14

technician1 says...

Colneunitedfc wrote:
A new school, a new start - seems perfect to me - parents are disillusioned with standards of the schools in Burnley and the method of teaching - this town needs new ideas and a new way of inspiring kids -

If schools are failing why should they not have competition from new schools with new ideas - kids live in the most stimulating times in history - iPads, iPhones etc... Yet we still teach them in bog standard lessons we did 50 years ago - we need to think outside of the box
Because there is a certain allocation of money divided between all of the schools in the area. If another school was to open (which is looking increasingly likely) then the money that each school receives will be dramatically decreased.
The other schools should be given help to increase standards and the way to do this is definitely not by reducing funding to allow another school to open when some of our local schools are not even 50% full!
It seems like a ludicrous idea.
[quote][p][bold]Colneunitedfc[/bold] wrote: A new school, a new start - seems perfect to me - parents are disillusioned with standards of the schools in Burnley and the method of teaching - this town needs new ideas and a new way of inspiring kids - If schools are failing why should they not have competition from new schools with new ideas - kids live in the most stimulating times in history - iPads, iPhones etc... Yet we still teach them in bog standard lessons we did 50 years ago - we need to think outside of the box[/p][/quote]Because there is a certain allocation of money divided between all of the schools in the area. If another school was to open (which is looking increasingly likely) then the money that each school receives will be dramatically decreased. The other schools should be given help to increase standards and the way to do this is definitely not by reducing funding to allow another school to open when some of our local schools are not even 50% full! It seems like a ludicrous idea. technician1
  • Score: 3

7:23am Fri 7 Mar 14

Colneunitedfc says...

This is wrong - the new school is funded through a different source - the government!! The schools in Burnley are funded directly through county.. Schools receive money per individual student which obviously would decrease if students jumped ship - but these students are already jumping ship and moving out of the area to schools in accrington and Pendle !! Why are primary school numbers full and high school numbers not ??? The new school is aiming at keeping kids educated in Burnley - a new school should not be seen as a threat !!
This is wrong - the new school is funded through a different source - the government!! The schools in Burnley are funded directly through county.. Schools receive money per individual student which obviously would decrease if students jumped ship - but these students are already jumping ship and moving out of the area to schools in accrington and Pendle !! Why are primary school numbers full and high school numbers not ??? The new school is aiming at keeping kids educated in Burnley - a new school should not be seen as a threat !! Colneunitedfc
  • Score: -4

10:38am Fri 7 Mar 14

technician1 says...

Colneunitedfc wrote:
This is wrong - the new school is funded through a different source - the government!! The schools in Burnley are funded directly through county.. Schools receive money per individual student which obviously would decrease if students jumped ship - but these students are already jumping ship and moving out of the area to schools in accrington and Pendle !! Why are primary school numbers full and high school numbers not ??? The new school is aiming at keeping kids educated in Burnley - a new school should not be seen as a threat !!
And where do the local authorities get their funding from?
Opening another school will have a negative impact on funding for other schools over time, regardless of where their funding is coming from directly.

What would you rather see; a smaller number of schools, with a high standard of provision, and their places being filled.

Or, a larger number of schools, all with smaller intakes therefore receiving a smaller amount funding.

There has always been a number of people in Burnley that have travelled out of the area to go to other schools, and opening another school is not going to change this.

I know the existing schools do need to improve, however I do not feel that opening another one to create 'competition' is the best or most logical way to achieve this.
[quote][p][bold]Colneunitedfc[/bold] wrote: This is wrong - the new school is funded through a different source - the government!! The schools in Burnley are funded directly through county.. Schools receive money per individual student which obviously would decrease if students jumped ship - but these students are already jumping ship and moving out of the area to schools in accrington and Pendle !! Why are primary school numbers full and high school numbers not ??? The new school is aiming at keeping kids educated in Burnley - a new school should not be seen as a threat !![/p][/quote]And where do the local authorities get their funding from? Opening another school will have a negative impact on funding for other schools over time, regardless of where their funding is coming from directly. What would you rather see; a smaller number of schools, with a high standard of provision, and their places being filled. Or, a larger number of schools, all with smaller intakes therefore receiving a smaller amount funding. There has always been a number of people in Burnley that have travelled out of the area to go to other schools, and opening another school is not going to change this. I know the existing schools do need to improve, however I do not feel that opening another one to create 'competition' is the best or most logical way to achieve this. technician1
  • Score: 4

11:45am Sun 9 Mar 14

Burnley_Sailor85 says...

Why do you want a new school? The ones we have aren't even a decade old yet!
It has nothing to do with the school and everything to do with the fact that the pupils in Burnley's schools are from families that aren't, shall we say, exactly loaded with cash, thus enabling them to travel to other areas.
I'm originally from Accrington Rd and went to Gawthorpe. Most of the pupils there were from the Accy Rd, Barcly Hills and Stoops Estate areas, with a few of the Padiham residents mixed in. Most of the kids didn't want to be there, complained how sh*t the school was when they were getting punished for having mobile phones, cd players out or were disrupting the lesions and the parents sending the kids just didn't give a crap either way. These kids are now parents themselves and they don't give a crap about how their kids are acting- again disrupting lesions in school so the teachers spend more time trying to discipline children with one hand tied behind their back and trying to treat kids like 'adults' (notice we call schools, colleges now and they're no longer pupils but students?). Give the teachers more powers to discipline pupils and expel them if necessary, without having some sort of education board overruling the head teachers decisions and you will start to make an impact.
If you want a real picture of what goes on in your child's school, I suggest you read anything by Frank Chalk, just to see how exasperated teachers are getting in acting more like crowd control and baby sitters than they are teaching.
Why do you want a new school? The ones we have aren't even a decade old yet! It has nothing to do with the school and everything to do with the fact that the pupils in Burnley's schools are from families that aren't, shall we say, exactly loaded with cash, thus enabling them to travel to other areas. I'm originally from Accrington Rd and went to Gawthorpe. Most of the pupils there were from the Accy Rd, Barcly Hills and Stoops Estate areas, with a few of the Padiham residents mixed in. Most of the kids didn't want to be there, complained how sh*t the school was when they were getting punished for having mobile phones, cd players out or were disrupting the lesions and the parents sending the kids just didn't give a crap either way. These kids are now parents themselves and they don't give a crap about how their kids are acting- again disrupting lesions in school so the teachers spend more time trying to discipline children with one hand tied behind their back and trying to treat kids like 'adults' (notice we call schools, colleges now and they're no longer pupils but students?). Give the teachers more powers to discipline pupils and expel them if necessary, without having some sort of education board overruling the head teachers decisions and you will start to make an impact. If you want a real picture of what goes on in your child's school, I suggest you read anything by Frank Chalk, just to see how exasperated teachers are getting in acting more like crowd control and baby sitters than they are teaching. Burnley_Sailor85
  • Score: 0

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