The latest figures show six of the 12 secondary schools in the area are still performing below the national average for GCSE results.

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HALF of North Devon’s secondary schools are still performing below the national average for GCSE results, according to the latest league tables.

The tables released by the Department for Education on Thursday showed six of the 12 secondary schools in North Devon saw less than 59.2 per cent of year 11 pupils getting five or more GCSEs at grades A* - C last year.

All of the schools passed the national benchmark of at least 40 per cent of pupils achieving five GCSEs of grade C or higher and 25 per cent more schools achieved above average compared to 2012’s results.

Bideford College was the lowest performing with only 44 per cent of pupils achieving these grades – an eight per cent fall on 2012’s figures.

Veronica Matthews, principal of Bideford College, said: “The College’s 2013 results reflect the target for that year group.

“Results were slightly below as the national changes had a specific impact on those students whose targets were particularly challenging.

“We are confident, with national changes now fully implemented, that our record of improvement over the previous five years where results increased by 30 per cent will continue to climb.”

Meanwhile West Buckland School were the fourth highest achieving school in the region.

John Vick, West Buckland School headmaster said: “As well as 86 per cent of our pupils achieving five or more GCSEs at A* to C grades, we had a school record in 2013 of 60 per cent of all the GCSE exams our pupils took being passed at A* to A grades which places us amongst the very highest achieving schools in the South West.

“Given that the school has a mixed ability intake, this is testament to the quality of teaching and care for our students, their hard work and application, and of course, the support from parents and families.”

There was success for other schools too, with Ilfracombe Arts College jumping from 30 per cent achieving five A*-C grades in 2012 to 60 per cent in 2013.

The Park Community School received a letter of congratulations from government minister David Laws after seeing a 10 per cent rise in its grades on the year before.

Headteacher David Atton said: “It is a tremendous recognition of the school’s high quality that we work hard to secure and improve upon even further so that all of our students benefit from the very best education in all aspects.”

Shebbear College also saw a rise in its achievers, going from 57 per cent of students in 2012 to 78 per cent in 2013.

Holsworthy Community College’s figures rose from 57 per cent last year to 64 per cent this year – 4.8 per cent above the national average.

Braunton Academy, Kingsley School, Great Torrington School, Pilton Community College and South Molton Community College all came in below the national average.

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