Essex’s education chief has welcomed news that GCSE results in the county are improving.

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The latest secondary school league tables, released on Wednesday, show that there was a slight rise in performance in the GCSE exams last summer in Essex, compared with the previous year.

A total of 60.5 per cent of pupils achieved five or more A*-C grades, or equivalent, including English and maths – the minimum level expected by the government at the end of Key Stage 4.

This was up 1.5pc on the 59pc recorded the year before, and puts the county in 82nd place in the country –while Suffolk is still towards the bottom of the table in 137th place.

Ray Gooding, Essex County Council’s cabinet member for education and lifelong learning, said: “I would like to congratulate all pupils and teaching staff on excellent results at Key Stage 4 and 5 last year.

“I am delighted to see we are making improvements in GCSE performance and that we continue to have a higher average point score per student than the national average at A-level.

“I would particularly like to congratulate the four schools that have ranked exceptionally highly in the league tables and Tendring Technical College for their achievements as one of the top 100 schools for having the best results in advanced vocational qualifications. These achievements prove that Essex has some of the best schools and educational settings across the country.

“Improving education and ensuring every child in Essex goes to a good or outstanding school is of utmost importance and we are dedicated to ensuring we invest in education, through supporting schools to make improvements and deliver the best outcomes for children and creating new school places and new schools across the county.”

But at the National Union of Teachers, Essex’s general secretary Jerry Glazier, said the figures are “a narrow judgement that the Government uses to try to make a broad judgement about a school’s performance”.

He added: “You have to judge schools holistically and take into consideration the conditions in which it is operating and the challenging circumstances its teachers are facing.

“Schools need to be supported to improve in all areas. Using league tables to judge a school can be challenging and demeaning to a school’s well-being.”

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