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21 June 2013, 15:10
New figures show Peterborough has the lowest proportion of poor students achieving five GCSEs at grade C or above in the country.
The statistics from education watchdog Ofsted indicate just 19 per cent of pupils eligible for school meals in Peterborough achieved five GCSEs, including maths and English, at grade C or above.
The second lowest was West Berkshire at 22 per cent.
Peterborough City Council says it will continue working with schools to raise these standards.
Jonathan Lewis, assistant director for Education and Resources for Peterborough City Council, said: "Of the 2012 cohort of children eligible for free school meals, referenced in the Ofsted publication, 27 per cent are recorded as having English as an additional language, 16 per cent have a statement of special educational needs, 35 per cent have a degree of special needs and 37 per cent are recorded as ethnic minority pupils.
Understandably all of these groups will struggle more in exams.
Schools receive funding directly from the Government to improve outcomes for pupils who are in receipt of free school meals and therefore it is their responsibility to ensure the money is spent effectively to close the attainment gap.
We will continue to work closely with all schools to ensure that money is spent effectively and we encourage schools to monitor the performance of this group of pupils closely."
It's as the Ofsted Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, announced a crackdown on outstanding schools that are failing their poorest pupils, amid concerns that an "unseen'' group of children is being let down by a mediocre education, particularly in south-east and east England.
Teams of inspectors will be sent back into schools that are not doing well by disadvantaged youngsters, and these schools could be stripped of their top ranking, the Ofsted Chief Inspector said.
He also suggested that children should be tested earlier than age five.
The current timing of national assessments, at the end of the Reception year, is "too late'' because youngsters may have "lost a vital year of learning by then'', he warned.