STAFF and pupils at St Christopher’s High School, Accrington, are top of the class for the third year running following the publication of the Government’s Key Stage Four league tables.
They show that 85 per cent of pupils achieved five A* to C GCSE passes last year, compared to 78 per cent in 2006, and a whopping 100 per cent left with at least one qualification.
However, many headteachers say the figures should be treated with caution as they do not always give a full picture of how well a school is doing.
St Christopher’s headteacher Alasdair Coates said: "We are very pleased with the results and feel that they reflect the hard work of staff and pupils and the good relationship we have with parents.
"We are very proud of the new generation of youngsters coming up through our school and feel that they are well-prepared to take on the challenges of 21st Century society.
"We are particularly pleased with the value-added score as that reflects each pupil working to the best of his or her ability, which is more important than merely the headline figures."
Also celebrating were staff and pupils at neighbouring Moorhead Sports College after clocking up 61 per cent of pupils achieving five A* to C – compared with only 42 per cent last year.
Headteacher Andrew Bateman said: "It shows that of the pupils who left us last year, 100 per cent of them had some sort of accreditation.
"This is very pleasing and it shows that year on year we are having more students sitting more exams and getting better results."
Meanwhile, Rhyddings Business and Enterprise School in Oswaldtwistle had 63 per cent of pupils achieving five or more A* to C grades – but staff said it was the value-added figure showing how well pupils had improved while at school which gave the clearest picture.
Deputy headteacher Paul Trickett said: "There are a lot of indicators which people use to measure success.
"If you look at the value-added score it is very good as it shows how well our pupils have improved since they have been with us. That figure would put us at the top nationally."
Some headteachers said published figures often showed how many pupils achieved five A* to C at GCSE – but did not show what percentage of this figure included English and maths.
Mark Jackson, headteacher at the Hollins Technology College, Accrington, said: "The figures reflect the hard work done by the staff and pupils at the school.
"There are some concerns with the tables and it depends which set of figures that you look at. There are different figures for pupils getting five A* to C and for those getting five A* to C including English and maths, it can get very complicated for people to read."
Bob Flood, headteacher at Norden High School and Sports College, Rishton, said: "The figures do not include five A* to C including English and maths. If you look at our figure for that, it stands at 31 per cent.
"Other schools may be getting 60 per cent but their figures for those getting English and maths would be lower. We focus on English and maths as they are important and we will not take the easy option to inflate figures.
"Statistically, this was our weakest year for some time but we are expecting better results this year."
Katrina Ryan, head of Mount Carmel RC Science College, Accrington said: "We are very pleased with the upward trend as this year we were 10 per cent up on last year.
"But a more exacting criteria is the number of pupils who achieve five A* to C including English and maths, as that is what employers are looking for."