Labour is still letting down our school leavers

Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group and Leader of the Opposition on Oldham Council, has praised the efforts of our Borough’s young people in achieving their GCSE’s this year, but he has also expressed his disappointment that once more they continue to be let down, and let down by the failings of the Labour Council, which is the Local Education Authority (LEA).

Councillor Sykes said:  “Congratulations to those students who have passed their GCSEs this year, and achieved or exceeded their academic goals.  This achievement is down to your hard work and dedication.  Let us hope that you go on to greater success in higher education and the world of work.  But I am disappointed that the local results show that Oldham Council continues to let down our young people by failing to deliver on the promises made by the Oldham Education Commission.  Two and a half years on and we still have a very long way to go if Oldham is truly to lead on education.”

In 2017, for the first time students received GCSE grades of 9 to 1, with 9 being the highest, instead of the more traditional A* to G.  The Government regards a Grade 4 as a Standard Pass.

Since 2016, pupils who fail to obtain at least a Grade 4 (a Grade C equivalent) in both English and Mathematics are obliged to retake the tests.  In 2017, 59.2% of pupils in Oldham achieved Grades 9-4 in both subjects; in 2018 this went down to 58.1%.  A drop of more than one percent.

Councillor Sykes added: “Although the new Cabinet Member for Education has talked up the results as good, the headline figure went down by one percent, hardly the right direction of travel.  This is far from the improvement we want and need.”

“In January 2016, at the launch of the long-delayed report of the Oldham Education Commission, then Labour Council Leader said: ‘A high-performing education system underpins all our ambitions for Oldham to regenerate and become a more vibrant place to live and work’.”

“The Oldham Liberal Democrats could not agree more.  The academic achievement of our young people at school will determine their future lives, careers, life chances and even their health and how long they will live.  It will also determine the success, or not, of Oldham as a place; so why is it that Labour continues to fail our young people, year on year?”

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