A Croydon head teacher is looking on the bright side after his school received the worst GCSE grades last year.

David Clark, head teacher at Archbishop Lanfranc School, saw only 39 per cent of pupils pass five exams at top grades in 2013.

It meant the school fell below the government’s minimum requirement of 40 per cent and put them bottom of the Croydon league table.

But Lanfranc, which will turn into an academy in September after being put into special measures, saw the percentage of pupils achieving the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) rise to 26%, which is above the national average.

The EBacc recognises where pupils have secured a C grade or better across a core of academic subjects such as english, maths, history or geography, the sciences and a language.

More than half of Lanfranc’s pupils took the EBaac compared to academies such as Harris Academy in Purley and Quest Academy Selsdon who saw less than 20 per cent of pupils take it.

Mr Clark, who has seen his school feature heavily in the BBC Three documentary series Tough Young Teachers, said although results were disappointing he is hopeful of a positive reaction this year.

Croydon Guardian:

David Clark, head teacher at Archbishop Lanfranc school. 

He said: “The results achieved in summer 2013 were very disappointing. We knew it would be difficult to secure good results for what was a very challenging year group but have to accept that the eventual outcome was nowhere near good enough.

“One positive feature of the results was that the percentage of pupils achieving the EBacc which bears favourable comparison with most schools and academies across the borough.

“It was particularly pleasing to note very good results in French and Spanish, subjects which 90% of our pupils study to GCSE level; this reflects our commitment to the importance of languages for all.”

He added: “We fully expect this year’s results to reflect not only a better year group but also changes which have been implemented following the careful analysis of last year’s “failure”. Nothing less than a “best ever” will be good enough.”

Quest Academy in South Croydon saw the biggest improvement, with their pass rate increasing by 16 percentage points.

Principal Andy Crofts said: “It is extremely rewarding to see that the hard work and commitment of both the staff, students and Governors of The Quest Academy have paid off.

“Students at The Quest now have excellent future prospects thanks to their diligence, their families’ support and the tireless dedication of the staff.”