THE number of Wigan college leavers achieving five or more GCSEs has hit an all-time high.
And from being below the regional average, our students are now above it.
Latest figures from the Department for Education show that the percentage of borough 16 to 19-year-olds who met that benchmark figure for GCSEs or their vocational equivalent has rocketed from 69.4 per cent in 2006/07 to 85 in 2014.
Another feather in Wigan’s cap is the increase in youngsters who are attaining level 3 qualifications, two or more A-levels or an equivalent vocational achievement.
And in 2014 there were 380 more college leavers with A-level or equvialent certificates than seven years earlier.
Coun Joanne Platt, Wigan cabinet member for children and young people, said: “These results indicate the hard work and dedication that our education facilities put into our young people. The high standard and attainment of our schools also plays a huge part in this ensuring our young people are ready to take on the challenge. I am confident that we can maintain this high level and continue to remain at the forefront of education for all our children and young people.”
It seems that there is still a way to go when it comes to encouraging the performance of those who come from less privileged families. Figures show that those from more deprived backgrounds are still under-achieving compared to their wealthier classmates.
In 2014, there was a 21 per cent gap between the performance of 19-year-olds who are not eligible for free school meals, and those pupils who are.
With 89 per cent of students from families with higher incomes achieving level 2 qualifications, the gap is considerable, showing that just 68 per cent of those from poorer households passed the same exams.
But, the gap is closing. In 2005, only 200 of the borough’s students from deprived backgrounds gained five or more GCSEs or equivalent. That figure is now 345.