A LOWER Gornal school has shot straight to the top of the class for the highest GCSE exam pass rate in the Dudley borough – in stark contrast to a failing Sedgley school, which has plummeted to the bottom.

Ellowes Hall Sports College sur passed the usual highachieving Old Swinford Hospital School, to take the top spot, after school league tables revealed 85 per cent of its pupils achieved a pass rate of five A*- C GCSEs including English and maths in 2012 – a nine per cent increase from the previous year.

Headteacher, Andy Griffiths, said: “We are very pleased with these results which are all down to the hard work of our students and teachers.

“We are also the only school in the country to have been published in the top 200 most improved schools in the country for the fifth year in a row and we have also discovered we are the most successful school in the Black Country, so we are delighted.”

The Stickley Lane school was also way ahead of the local authority average of 56.1 per cent achieving five A*-C GCSEs including English and maths and bucked the borough trend, which saw many of the school percentages decrease in comparison to last year.

However, the most startling result was Dormston School in Sedgley, which was placed as the worst performing in the borough.

Located just over a mile away from Ellowes Hall, the Mill Bank school dropped 21 per cent in 12 months, falling from a 57 per cent pass rate of five A*-C GCSEs including English and maths to just 36 per cent last year - four per cent under the national pass-rate benchmark of 40 per cent.

Councillor Tim Crumpton, Dudley’s cabinet member for children’s services, said an internal problem at the school had affected the results over the past year, but would not be drawn on exactly what, but was confident results would quickly increase again.

He told the News: “There was a problem found internally, it has been resolved and the authority is offering as much help and support to the school and pupils as it needs.

“I have every hope the results should be back up to where they should be next year.”

Cllr Crumpton also said he hoped to boost results in the core subjects by placing more emphasis on educating parents, after the results displayed a clear divide between schools in deprived areas like Dudley, as opposed to schools in wealthier areas such as Kingswinford and Stourbridge.

Cllr Crumpton added: “We still have a cycle of children in deprived areas who are not achieving as high as they could.

“It isn’t about teaching, it’s about trying to get the family more involved in the learning process.

“I think the schools do the best job they can with the children put in front of them. But how can we educate the parents of these children better?

“If we can make them more interested and able to help their children they're going to do as well as parents in more affordable areas who were probably better educated.”

How did your school fare?

􀁥 Bishop Milner Catholic School, up 10 per cent to 70 per cent.

􀁥 Castle High School, down six per cent to 40 per cent.

􀁥 Dormston School, down 21 per cent to 36 per cent.

􀁥 Ellowes Hall, up nine per cent to 85 per cent.

􀁥 High Arcal School, down 11 per cent to 39 per cent.

􀁥 Hillcrest School, down 11 per cent to 43 per cent.

􀁥 Holly Hall Academy, down 11 per cent to 40 per cent.