New secondary school league tables published

Nearly 90% of secondary schools in England met a revised government target for GCSE results in new league tables published today.

In a white paper published last year, the coalition raised the basic target for schools to a threshold of 35% of pupils achieving five GCSEs at grade A*-C, including English and maths.

216 out of nearly 3000 secondary schools missed this target. These schools may face coming under the control of more successful headteachers who will be able to overhaul their curriculum and staffing.

For the first time, the league tables also measure schools’ performance by the proportion of children who obtain the new “English baccalaureate”, awarded to those children who achieve English, maths, a science, a foreign language and a humanity such as history or geography.

Surging birth rates puts pressure on primary school places

More than 450,000 additional primary school places will be needed in England by 2015 as schools face pressure from rising birth rates, new government figures have revealed.

The pressure will be most keenly felt in urban areas.

In one London borough, Barking, a 40% rise is expected in the school population, the equivalent of dozens of new schools.

The government says that it has no plans to scrap the cap on infant (Years Reception to Year 2) school class sizes, currently set at thirty children per class.

This will mean more bulge classes in existing schools, difficult for the schools and councils when they are facing budgetary constraints.

The irony is that there are currently nearly 450,000 “empty” primary school seats across the country, but these are more often in rural areas.