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Parents hit out at academy trust after school sees drop in GCSE pass rates

PUBLISHED: 15:14 30 August 2019 | UPDATED: 08:50 31 August 2019

Old Buckenham High School (OBHS). Picture: OBHS

Old Buckenham High School (OBHS). Picture: OBHS

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An academy trust has brushed off accusations about standards from parents disgruntled with GCSE results at one of its schools.

Jonathan Taylor, chief executive of Sapientia Education Trust. Picture: SubmittedJonathan Taylor, chief executive of Sapientia Education Trust. Picture: Submitted

Old Buckenham High School (OBHS) was taken over by the Sapientia Education Trust in September 2018, with this year's GCSE results an important milestone.

But the percentage of students passing English and maths with a grade 4 or above - equivalent to a C - fell by more than a fifth, from 70pc in 2018 to 55pc.

One parent - whose child took their GCSEs at the school this summer - was so disappointed they wrote to the trust claiming it had overseen a "dramatic decline" in results at OBHS, as well dips in the percentage of 9 to 4 grades in English and maths at Stradbroke High and Framingham Earl High.

He also accused the trust of "neglecting" its rural high schools in favour of its high-achieving founding school, Wymondham College.

He added: "How can this social divide be allowed in such a small geographic area, and such low achievement in what should be a privileged demographic?"

It can be difficult to compare results year-on-year due to factors such as the size of a year group.

Sapientia Education Trust said OBHS had recorded strong results in some subjects despite an overall dip, while Framingham Earl and Stradbroke saw improvements in the rate of 9 to 5 grades.

On Facebook, more parents expressed concerns about OBHS's results with a request for "urgent reassurances" from the trust.

One parent said: "We would be keen to know what the trust have to say... The drop in results this year was shocking."

A prospective parent added: "We have to decide this year where to send our eldest. He's keen to go to high school in the village we live in and I'd love that too. But this worries me massively."

While overall results at OBHS dipped, Jonathan Taylor, chief executive of Sapientia Education Trust, said performance in a number of subjects including maths had been strong.

He said: "The trust is working with the headteacher to analyse the reasons behind this and will be utilising expertise from within our trust to support OBHS moving forward. We are confident that the school will continue to serve its community effectively and pupils and parents will be able to see the visible impact of work carried over the summer to improve the infrastructure of the school when they return next week."

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