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Results record 'built on neglect'

GCSE candidates are celebrating record results this year, but the rise in top grades prompted accusations that some schools neglect lower-ability candidates to boost their league-table position.

The percentage of entries scoring A* to C grades rose by 1.1 points to 55.8 per cent, although the failure rate fell by only 0.3 per cent.

Education Secretary David Blunkett said the results showed good progress towards new national targets requiring 95 per cent of 16-year-olds to have gained at least one GCSE pass by 2002.

David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "Clearly the pressures on secondary schools, not least from league tables, require concentration on the vital C-D borderline candidates."

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