Secondary school students across the district are making the least progress out of any area in Essex, new figures have revealed.

A report by Essex County Council - Educational Attainment in Essex - puts the district at the bottom of the pile using the Government’s new Progress 8 stats and also shows schools are falling well below the national average.

Collectively, schools in the Braintree District achieved an average Progress 8 score of -0.23, well below next lowest Tendring.

Worryingly, Braintree’s score is well below the national average Progress 8 score of -0.03, and the average in Essex of -0.04.

Witham MP Priti Patel said the figures should focus the minds of everyone involved.

“Schools in the district need to reflect on these figures and work together to address education performance and put in place plans to raise performance,” she said.

“I am in regular contact with schools, Essex County Council and the Department for Education and have been specifically pressing for action to improve support for pupils with special needs and a reduction in school exclusions as there has been an increase in pupils being excluded from schools.”

Braintree MP James Cleverly said the figures were a “disappointing and unpleasant surprise”.

“It is a shame because I know the staff and students all work very hard,” he said.

“I do not want to be overly critical because there are a lot of people work very hard.

“We need to look at what lessons we can take from other parts of the county. Parents want to know why students are not improving as they should be and I believe they have a right to demand an explanation. I will continue to work with schools to see how we can improve things.”

A Progress 8 score shows how much progress pupils have made between year six and GCSE results.