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Case study:Croydon;Local authorities

Sarah Cassidy and Nicolas Barnard report on the latest assessment of England's education authorities

IN CROYDON an increase in spending has not led to improved results. But Dr David Sands, the director of education, says the figures mask demographic changes affecting performance and argues that pupils who benefited most from extra cash have yet to take exams.

From 19945 to 19978 the south London borough's GCSE results worsened despite spending an extra pound;170 above inflation per secondary pupil. Despite this, the fourth largest spending rise in the country, only 30 per cent of pupils in the borough's schools achieved five or more A*-C grades at GCSE in 1998 - a drop of 2 percentage points.

Primary-school spending increased by pound;44 per pupil but there was no change in key stage 2 results from 1997 to 1998.

Dr Sands said the full effects of a one-off above-inflation increase in 1995 would only be seen when the children who were starting secondary then take their GCSEs. He said neighbouring boroughs' selective schools and Croydon's own grant-maintained schools cherry-picked the brightest children and that the borough had done well to maintain exam results with a lower-ability intake.

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