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Home Kent News Article
Kent has become top - and bottom - in the country's school league tables.
England's best school this year was Invicta Grammar School in Maidstone.
Every single one of its 162 girls scored five or more C grades.
But the New Line Learning Academy, also in Maidstone, is the worst in the country for truancy.
More than a quarter of pupils at the academy - one of the government's flagship academies - are regularly absent from school.
It was revealed in the latest school league tables, which marked another record-breaking year for GCSE results at schools across the county.
More than half of all pupils secured five or more good GCSE passes.
The county average for persistent pupil absences was 6.6 per cent, compared to the national average of 5.9 per cent.
Official figures show that 52.8 per cent of pupils passed five or more GCSEs including maths and English in 2009, up by three per cent on the previous year.
It is the first time since the Government introduced a new benchmark to reflect passes in maths and English that Kent has breached the 50 per cent mark.
The county outstripped the national average of 49.8 per cent.
The percentage of students achieving five or more GCSE passes in all subjects also increased in 2009 to 73 per cent, a rise of 2.6 per cent on the results the previous year. That too was higher than the national average of 70 per cent.
At 13 schools, one in 10 pupils were not in class when they should have been. The worst was Maidstone's New Line Learning, where 26.7 per cent were regularly absent.
The figure is the highest in the country. The next worst is a school in Manchester with 26.5 per cent.
Head of New Line Learning Academy, Guy Hewett, said: “NLL Academy had concerns about its attendance in its first year of operation from 2008 – 2009.
"The academy has worked hard to address these issues and has raised its attendance from 83 per cent last year to over 90 per cent this year, and we are continuing to go forward.
"The Education and Welfare Officer has confirmed that the persistent absence figure for last year was in fact only 16.7 per cent which was still too high but not the inaccurate figure from the tables and it is now shrinking fast at around 11 per cent.
"Our GCSE results are also climbing quickly along with the attendance improvements and highlight the real success story for this academy now.”
At Sheppey's Minster College, 21 per cent of pupils were persistently absent, the second worst figure in the county.
When it came to the 31 schools that have been placed on the Government’s National Challenge initiative, designed to lift standards at the poorest performing schools in the county, there were impressive improvements for several.
Thirteen have now reached the Government's threshold for 30 per cent of pupils to achieve five or more GCSEs at grades A to C including maths and English and 23 posted better results than last year.
However, five slipped back and in some of those, the decline was significant.
Schools secretary Ed Balls has told authorities he expects all National Challenge schools to get to the 30 per cent figure by 2012.
But there remain signs that studying a foreign language is not popular among Kent pupils, with only a third passing a GCSE in a modern language.
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