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Devon - A-level variations: probe on the cards

Experts could be called in to investigate why A-level results vary so dramatically across Devon's sixth forms, following the first detailed comparison of their performance.

The county council is also considering giving schools extra support after discovering under-achievement in some subjects.

School improvement partners could also be trained to help sixth forms, and area partnerships could be set up to share good practice.

Council officers will develop a "post-16 data dashboard" to measure performance, taking into account students' backgrounds and the school's context.

The review of results was set up in light of the demise of the Learning and Skills Council, which funds sixth forms. In Devon, 20 schools cater for children up to the age of 18.

Researchers found AS-level pupils did well in art and design, biology, English language, history and physics, among others, but less well in applied business, Japanese, law and music.

A comparison of Devon's results, compiled by the council, found the county's sixth formers did less well than some of their neighbours in the South West. There were also large fluctuations between local colleges.

Value-added scores at the sixth forms varied from 960 to 1,029 and the average points per candidate ranged from 604 to 833. Students at Colyton, the county's only grammar school, got 254.6 points. km.

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