Bedford schools rank among the lowest in the East region for GCSE results, new figures have revealed.
Official provisional statistics from the Department of Education, which relate to state-funded schools, show that 49.3 per cent of children in Bedford failed to achieve five or more A* to C grades, including the core subjects of English and maths during 2013/14.
The national average is 56.1 per cent and a total of 39 per cent of Bedford’s teenagers did not achieve five or more GCSE grades A* to C when considering all subjects during the same period.
In both categories Bedford ranks second from the bottom for the East region, only coming above Peterborough.
The number of young people in Bedford to achieve five A* to C grades at GCSE for 2013/14 has plummeted to 61 per cent from 80.2 per cent in the previous year. It is the lowest it has been in six years but the decline could be due to reforms in the way that performance is now measured.
The number of children taught at state-funded mainstream schools who are making the expected progress in English and maths between Key Stage Two and Key Stage Four – the curriculum taught to young people aged up to 16 – has also dropped to 68 per cent from 71.3 during the previous year.
Schools in the Central Beds region fared better with 43.9 per cent of students not achieving five or more A* to C GCSE grades including English and maths and 65.9 per cent managed to secure five A* to C grades when taking into account all subjects.
The region saw an increase in the number of children making the expected progress in English and maths between Key Stage Two and Key Stage Four, which rose from 65.5 per cent in 2013/12 to 70.4.
The figures are provided to the Department for Education from the exam award bodies and the data, while quality assured by the department, has not yet been checked by schools themselves.
A Bedford Borough Council spokesman said: “This is unverified data, and although there has been a national downward trend largely due to a great deal of changes taking place in the exam system right across the country, we will not have the verified results until later in the new year. This year schools have challenged more GCSE results than before so we are awaiting that outcome. We all need to work hard to support pupils to achieve the best they can.
“Our aim must be to build on the successes we have seen across the borough to ensure that all pupils have access to the highest quality of education, and that everyone can work together to achieve this.”