The final league tables in their current form have been published – and girls have ended on a high note.
The majority of schools across the county saw girls leading the way when it came to the percentage earning five or more A*-C grades, including A*-C in both English and maths.
In the Worthing and Shoreham area, only Worthing High bucked that trend, with 60 per cent of boys making the grade compared to 59 per cent of girls.
Elsewhere, the figures were nowhere near as close.
At Sir Robert Woodard Academy, in Lancing, the pass rate stood at 38 per cent for boys compared to 60 per cent of girls. At Chatsmore High, in Goring-by-sea, 53 per cent of boys passed compared to 74 per cent of girls.
Shoreham Academy saw 55 per cent of boys and 58 per cent of girls pass five or more GCSEs; at the Littlehampton Academy it was 36 per cent of boys and 49 per cent of girls; at the Angmering School it was 49 per cent of boys and 54 per cent of girls; and at Durrington High it was 62 per cent of boys and 73 per cent of girls.
Even comparing the single-sex schools – Davison High and St Andrew’s High – saw the girls perform better. Davison’s pass rate was 69 per cent while St Andrew’s scored 51 per cent.
Peter Midwinter, principal of Sir Robert Woodard Academy, agreed the gap was significant. He said: “The results in their raw state do not illustrate the effect of the GCSE maths grade boundary change, which impacted on more boys than girls, who were on the cusp of obtaining a C in maths, having already done so in English and other subjects.”
The figures were published by the Department for Education on Thursday (January 21). From next year, schools will no longer be judged on the raw GCSE data but on a broader range of results across eight subjects.
Known as Progress 8, the change was largely welcomed by schools.
Paul Kennedy, CEO of Woodard Academies Trust, said: “Progress 8 is a much fairer measure as it focuses on the progress made by the pupils and not their ability to cross a line.
“It measures progress from whatever the student’s starting point may be so actually reflects the progress made by every student, not just those who will get C grade or above.
“This will help to ensure much fairer judgements on the outcomes for young people and also how well schools serve every student in their care.”
When it came to the countywide pass rate, West Sussex saw its GCSE results rise from 57.6 per cent in 2014 to 60.3 per cent in 2015, beating the national average of 57.1 per cent.
The pattern was replicated in the Worthing area, with the majority of schools seeing their results improve.
Angmering School, The Littlehampton Academy and Sir Robert Woodard Academy led the way with 6 per cent increases, though all three still fell short of both the local and national averages.
Only four of the area’s schools beat the national average – Worthing High, with 60 per cent, Chatsmore High, with 62 per cent, Durrington High Academy, with 67 per cent, and Davison CE High, with 69 per cent.
When it came to A-Levels, in 2015 every student who sat their exams at Shoreham, Littlehampton and Sir Robert Woodard Academies earned at least one pass at grade A*-E.
Mr Midwinter praised the efforts of his sixth-form students and added: “The standards for A*-B have doubled with 39 per cent of all results being at that level. We believe that by having a comparatively small sixth form enables us to provide a more personalised coaching and teaching offer so that each student is able to maximise or exceed their potential.”
At Angmering School and Worthing College the pass rate was slightly lower, at 99 per cent.
Countywide, West Sussex students failed to match the national average, with 99.5 per cent earning at least one A*-E, just short of the 99.6 per cent achieved nationally.
The attainment gap widened when it came to the number earning at least two or at least three passes.
This was echoed at all schools in the Worthing area, none of which were able to reach the national or local averages. Angmering School came closest, with 86 per cent earning at least two good passes, compared to the 89 per cent achieved by the county as a whole.
Councillor Richard Burrett, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for education and skills, said: “We are pleased that so many young people have achieved grades which would enable them to go to the university of their choice. Parents, teachers and the pupils themselves should be rightly proud of the achievements of students in the county.”
He added: “I should like to pay tribute to our school leaders for the support that they have given in guiding pupils to the next stage in their life.”
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