A HEADTEACHER has insisted “personal development is as important as results”, as his Southend school was branded “well below average”.

A pair of Southend schools received the same low rating, putting them in the bottom 12per cent of schools across the country.

The Cecil Jones Academy, in Eastern Avenue, and Chase High School, in Prittlewell Chase, both received the lowest possible ranking, with Chase High headteacher, Andrew James, insisting Progress 8 was not an accurate reflection of success for all pupils.

He also pointed towards a 30per cent increase on last year’s figure, as well as 30 sixth formers securing university spots last summer.

Mr James said: “Progress 8 is not a measure that works well in every school.

“It only considers progress from key stage 2 in a limited range of subjects and we believe children should be allowed to study the subjects they enjoy rather than be constrained by those the Government believes they should study.

“A child who doesn’t have key stage 2 data for some reason, or who chooses subjects outside of the prescribed range of subjects, are heavily penalised using this measure.

“That aside, we fully recognise that we can do more with the P8 scores of our children, but are hugely encouraged by the direction of travel which shows our strategies are working.

“Our commitment to improving pupil attendance and ensuring teaching is good or better in every classroom has not diminished and is yielding really encouraging results. Both academic success and personal development are rated with equal importance in our schools.”

Cecil Jones Academy did not respond to requests for comment.

Cedar Hall School and The Deanes, both in Benfleet, was also rated as “well below average”, as well as The Bromfords School and Sixth Form College, in Wickford.

Castle View School and Cornelius Vermuyden School, both on Canvey, were rated as “below average”.

The Billericay School, in Billericay, Burnt Mill Academy, in Basildon, The James Hornsby School, in Basildon and the King John School, in Benfleet were all also rated as “below average”.