WHILE a quarter of a million children discovered last week that they are being taught at under-performing schools, Chard’s teenagers bucked the trend.

Holyrood Academy’s progress eight score, the average level of development for pupils, was ranked near the top end of average in last week’s headlines.

However, where the school really excelled was in boasting the highest percentage of pupils staying in education or entering employment for an academy - 216 out of 220 pupils (98 per cent).

Matt Collins, headteacher at Holyrood, said: “I am really pleased that Holyrood Academy is, again, one of the best performing secondary schools in Somerset.

“This is of course due to the efforts and achievements of each and every individual student – I am really proud of them all.

“Holyrood always values the individual and endeavours to support them to aim high, to progress to the next step in their lives, and fulfil their aspirations.”

Figures released last week showed 11.6 per cent of state-funded mainstream schools, 346 in total, fell below the Government’s minimum standards in 2018.

This means around 282,600 schoolchildren are now being taught at under-performing secondaries - about 9.3 per cent.

Out of Somerset’s 28 state secondary schools, three have ‘well below average’ progress scores.

Only two schools, both small special schools with an employment/education rate of 100 per cent, ranked above Holyrood in that category.

Mr Collins added: “We are also really pleased so many of the young people who take GCSEs at Holyrood stay with us into the sixth form where they continue their successful journey, many on to university.

“It is important to say though that we recognise and value all types of education and training including apprenticeships, volunteering and full time vocational education in addition to the option of progression into the 6th form – and that supporting every individual to achieve their best next step is always our aim.

“The achievements of our students are rightly their own but I would like to express my thanks and gratitude to the teachers and other staff across the academy who continue to work hard to provide high quality education for the young people of Chard and its surrounding area and of course the invaluable support of parents/carers.”

School leaders said performance tables are “long past their sell-by date”.

Geoff Barton, of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Performance tables can never tell the full story of a school and we urge parents not to place too much weight on them.

“The tables are inherently flawed in that Progress 8 which is used to judge the performance of schools effectively penalises schools which have a high proportion of disadvantaged children.”