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For Immediate Release:

NEW ANALYSIS EXPOSES THE TRUTH ABOUT SUFFOLK GCSE RESULTS

Parents Against Change (PAC) have today published a new analysis of the 2006 GCSE Results for Suffolk on our website www.parentsagainstchange.org - but this time broken down by the area that the schools are based in to give a truer picture of results across the county.

As anyone who has ever studied even the lowest level of statistics can confirm, averages can be a very misleading measure due to the effect of the highest and lowest values - for example if 100 pupils took an exam and 50 score 100% and 50 score 0%, the average would be a very misleading 50%! PAC carried out this analysis work to look behind the headline figures and see the true picture.

As is obvious from the results below, there is no clear pattern of 2 tier being superior to 3 tier and the figures show that GCSE results are far more affected by the area the school is than the structure it is in.

Interestingly, if you take out the very small percentage of pupils from the Debenham area (only 1.2% of those included) and the Woodbridge area (which contributes 5.4%), we are sure that Suffolk County Council will be horrified to realise that a 3-Tier Area, Bury St Edmunds (with 17.5% of all pupils in the GCSE year in the Suffolk, comes to the top of the pile.

When the two largest (and therefore most statistically significant) areas in the 2 & 3 Tier are compared, Councillors will again be horrified to find that 3-Tier Bury St Edmunds outperforms 2-Tier Ipswich by a massive 9.5 percentage points!

PAC Spokesperson Steve Cowper commented:

'We feel that these results deliver a fatal blow to the fallacy that '2-Tier is best' As PAC have always argued: Scratch below the surface of the statistics that the councillors have been fed and the reality is somewhat different to what the people behind this ill thought out idea would like us to accept.

These results show that even if the Council could wave a magic wand and suddenly convert every school to 2-Tier, without the years of disruption that would accompany this in reality, there is no educational case for doing this.

We would encourage all county councillors to review these figures and if they haven't already done so, to the question the validity of the information that they have been given to date.'

Parents Against Change

Results of Analysis by PAC

2006 GCSE results by Suffolk area

Town or nearest town Rank System total pupils in GCSE year Pupils with 5 or more A-C grades at GCSE
Debenham 1 2-tier 92 83.0%
Woodbridge 2 2-tier 421 73.2%
Bury St Edmunds 3 3-tier 1,341 69.5%
Ipswich 4 2-tier 2,257 60.0%
Bungay 5 3-tier 237 60.0%
Beccles 6 3-tier 353 59.0%
Eye 7 2-tier 199 59.0%
Sudbury 8 3-tier 506 57.2%
Leiston 9 3-tier 175 57.0%
Stowmarket 10 3-tier 445 55.5%
Felixstowe 11 2-tier 331 51.2%
Newmarket 12 3-tier 180 51.0%
Lowestoft 13 3-tier 798 48.3%
Haverhill 14 3-tier 320 47.6%

Note that, if you compare the two largest education areas in Suffolk, Ipswich and Bury-St-Edmunds, three-tier Bury outperforms two-tier Ipswich by a full 9.5 percentage points on the government's key GCSE measure. Bury comes third in the county, behind affluent (and far smaller) Debenham and Woodbridge, but has almost three times as many pupils.



Steve Cowper

on behalf of Parents Against Change