Pupils at Oxfordshire schools and colleges achieved a lower average A-level results than the South East average, new figures show.

Across England, the average point score for 2022-23 was lower than the previous academic year, which was expected due to a return to pre-pandemic grading, but results saw an increase compared to 2018-19.

However, experts said the government has failed to invest sufficiently in education recovery following the pandemic and must address the teacher recruitment and retention crisis.

Department for Education figures show the average A-level score achieved by pupils in Oxfordshire was 32.9 out of 60 maximum points, a lower result than the average of 34.9 points in the South East.

Of the 3,494 students who took A-levels at state-funded Oxfordshire schools and colleges, 11.7 per cent achieved three A* or A grades, 19.1 per cent received AAB or better and 87.5 per cent got at least two A-levels.

With the return to the pre-pandemic grading system, pupils’ average result across the country was 34, a decrease from 37.7 in 2021-22, but 1.4 points more than in 2018-19, the last full school year before schools moved to online teaching.

Sarah Hannafin, head of policy at school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “It is vital that everyone remembers that we cannot compare this year’s results with those from previous years.

“The student cohort, the context and the approach to grading has been different every year since 2019 so simplistic comparisons are unhelpful and will not tell the full story of the experiences of students or their schools and colleges.”

thisisoxfordshire: Children in a classroom

Meanwhile, the gap between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged students in England stood at 4.9 points, with average scores of 34.7 and 29.8 points, respectively.

The same was true for Oxfordshire, where those better-off received 33.3 points, while their peers from disadvantaged backgrounds scored 27.1 points.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Disadvantaged students do less well in A-levels than other students and are less likely to study for A-levels in the first place.

thisisoxfordshire: Geoff Barton Geoff Barton (Image: DANNY HEWITT)“The government has failed to invest sufficiently in education recovery following the pandemic and in schools and colleges in general.

“Policy-makers must improve funding rates, address the teacher recruitment and retention crisis, make the inspection system less punitive and more supportive, and put an end to child poverty.”

Mrs Hannafin added: “Services like social care and mental health support for young people have also been hugely under-funded over the last decade, and where issues in their lives are not identified and addressed this also affects their learning.

“All this must change if the government is serious about closing the disadvantage gap.”

A Department for Education spokesman: “We want to make sure that all young people have the same opportunities they need to succeed.

“Before the pandemic, we closed the disadvantage gap by more than nine per cent, demonstrating that our policies and programmes can make a big impact.

“We are continuing this work through our Recovery Premium, National Tutoring Programme, and the 16-19 Tuition Fund – all of which are focused on helping the most disadvantaged catch up and get ahead with their education.”