Jersey headmaster defends GCSE results

A Jersey headmaster has defended his school's GCSE pass rate.

Education figures showed 20% of pupils at Haute Vallee managed five GCSEs with grades A* to C, including English and maths.

Robert Fairhurst said the brightest pupils were going to selective schools.

He said more than 30% of children living in the school's catchment area went on to be selected for Hautlieu, a selective education school for pupils aged 14 to 18.

'Pips squeaking'

Mr Fairhurst said: "The school does not have a balanced intake.

"Even at the age of 11, 20% of the more able children are in the two fee-paying grammar schools of Victoria College and JCG.

"What makes it really different is what happens at 14-plus.

"Taking the year group that has just left, 23% of students were removed to Hautlieu school - 36 children out of 155 were removed from my school."

He said that there was too much selection in Jersey's education system.

"The number of students in my intake area has dropped dramatically, that means that the pips are squeaking in order to maintain the selection rate that we have had historically."

Haute Vallee is one of the non-fee paying States-run schools which takes pupils aged between 11 and 16.

Academically-minded pupils can then transfer to Hautlieu, a selective school, at age 14.

Mr Fairhurst said the number of selection in Jersey's education system was not paralleled anywhere in the UK.

"A UK school typically is termed comprehensive which means they have a balanced intake.

"A mixture of some children with learning difficulties, some children who are average learners and above average, the more intelligent learners.

"Whatever you are told about selection being high, it is not high - it is record-breaking.

"It is 43% from the year group that has just left - it is absolutely stunning, it is not paralleled anywhere in the UK."

He said that if the island wanted States schools to attain the same results as in the UK the government would need to reduce selection.

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