Flintshire has the linguists, Pembrokeshire is history

4th November 2005 at 00:00
Fourteen-year-olds in Pembrokeshire are great historians, but Flintshire has the best linguists and the Vale of Glamorgan scores high in both art and computer skills.

Teachers' key stage 3 assessments of pupil performance in the non-core subjects, published last week, show big differences in performance between different council areas in Wales, and in the same areas compared to last year.

Overall, pupils in deprived council areas such as the south Wales valleys tend to do less well than their counterparts in more prosperous parts of the country.

However, youngsters in Blaenau Gwent matched those in leafy Monmouthshire when it came to design and technology and music, and outperformed them in Welsh second language and physical education.

But the valleys authority had the lowest results in geography, history and information and communications technology, with around 60 per cent of pupils achieving the expected level 5 in these subjects compared to all-Wales averages of 69 to 72 per cent.

Last year, it was Rhondda Cynon Taf that was holding up the bottom of the table in three subjects- history, ICT and music.

Pembrokeshire's 14-year-olds were the best in geography and history (78 and 80 per cent respectively), with the Vale leading on ICT at 82 per cent. The Vale also scored the highest result in any subject, with 85.7 per cent achieving the expected level in art.

Results for both boys and girls at KS3 have improved across the board since 2001, but girls retain their lead in all subjects except PE. The gender performance gap was biggest in Welsh second language, where only 39 per cent of boys achieved the expected level 5 this summer - compared to 59 per cent of girls.

This subject saw the biggest improvement overall, with the all-Wales results up 4 percentage points on last year to 48.3. It still trailed behind the next worst subject (modern foreign languages, 53 per cent), and had the widest range of results: from 32.8 per cent achieving level 5 in anglicised Monmouthshire to 62.9 per cent in "Little England"


For the second year running, Flintshire's 14-year-olds came out top in MFLs, although results were down slightly on last year, from 69.1 to 66.9 per cent.

Government statisticians have also issued revised figures for the last KS3 tests in maths, science, and EnglishWelsh first language, taken this summer. Results were down from 74 to 71.4 per cent in science, but remain just ahead of the results for 14-year-olds in England (70 per cent).

In English, results across the border are significantly better, at 74 per cent compared to Wales's 66.6 per cent (up from 65 in 2004). Maths test results were also below England's 74 per cent, at 71.4 per cent. Welsh first-language results were up from 73 to 75.2 per cent.

Cardiff had the best results in this subject, at 85.1 per cent, compared to 68.5 per cent on Anglesey.


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