December 12 2013 Latest news:
Matt Gaw, Emma Brennan and Mariam Ghaemi
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Thousands of teenagers across west Suffolk are now getting the results of their GCSEs after a summer of waiting.
Last year saw the first fall in the exam’s history in the proportion of entries awarded top grades.
This year there have been fears that “turbulence” in grading would also see lower than expected grades, but many of the region’s schools are already reporting an upturn in results.
Geoff Barton, headteacher at King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmunds said he had seen a rise in the number of students gaining five or more A* to C grades including English and maths - going from 52% last year to 60%. Out of the 350 students 99.8% passed at G or higher and 26% of grades were A or A*.
Mr Barton said: “After last year’s grim experience with the English fiasco, it’s good to see that we are back on track with a strong performance at GCSE. This follows last week’s stunning results at A-level. There is much to celebrate here, and in particular the number of top grades to 50% at B or higher - is a brilliant tribute to our students and staff. Well done to them all.”
At County Upper School in Bury St Edmunds 77% of students achieved five or more A* to C grades including English and maths.
Headteacher Vicky Neale said: “We firmly believe that a strong all-round education produces excellent results and this year eleven has certainly proved us right.
“Our top performers are well known for their music, sport and a host of other extra-curricular activities and they reflect their year group as a whole.
“At all levels these are another outstanding set of results and I congratulate the individual students on the tremendous success behind the headline statistics. Coming just a week after our superb A level results, I also thank our staff for their excellent teaching and support to the students.”
Thurston Community College is celebrating its best ever results. There, 64% of students gained five or more A* to C grades including English and maths.
Principal Helen Wilson said: “That’s the best ever result for Thurston Community College in its entire history so I’m absolutely delighted, really, really thrilled for the students who have worked so hard and deserve their success.”
She did not put the success down to one particular thing, saying over the years the systems at the school and the way it is run improve and the commitment and determination just “grows and grows”.
“They were a great year and worked really hard and had a very positive work ethic and were determined and worked very, very well with their teachers.”
She said it was “particularly pleasing” to get these results just as schools in the Thurston area are moving into a two-tier structure which will see the community college take on year sevens and eights for the first time in September next year.
GCSE students from Newmarket College today achieved the best set of results in the school’s history.
Dr Bob Cadwalladr, principal, said: “This year’s results show a remarkable improvement on last year’s results and I am delighted for the students and their achievements. This is a fantastic turnaround in results at Newmarket College with notable outstanding results in many subjects.”
All the results show a significant upturn after last year. Maths results were up 25% on last year (to 63%) and English Language improved by 11% to 58%. The number of Newmarket College students attaining the government’s benchmark of five A* to C grades – including English and maths – was up 16% on last year, to 44%.
An impressive 100% of catering studies, drama, and dance students at Newmarket College were awarded A* to C grades.
Dr Cadwalladr added: “These results are down to the hard work of the students and the support of both parents and teachers. We have come a long way over the past year. We are determined that we will continue to move forward and build on this year’s performance with even better results next year.”
At Thetford Grammar School 91% of students achieved five A* to C grades including maths and English.
Headmaster Gareth Price said: “Overall I am pleased with all that the students have achieved this summer. The results show an improvement from last year with 45% of grades at A*/A and 96% A*/C and this is despite changes to grade boundaries resulting in tougher marking.
“This has not been an easy year for them with all the spotlight on the exam system and therefore it is to their credit that such success has been achieved.”
Our top performer was Christian Wood from Bury St Edmunds who achieved six A*s and 4 As, followed closely by Anna Clement from Diss with six A*s and three As, Grace Colasante from Barton Mills with four A*s and five As, William Follis from Chippenham with three A*s and six As, Annabelle Birrell and Freya Webb from Bury St Edmunds, Beatrice Heighton and Nicola Penny from Downham Market, Sam Sayer from Thetford and Sean Siraj from Thurston all with three A*s and five As’.
At Ormiston Sudbury Academy (formerly Sudbury Upper School) 43% of the 221 students taking GSCEs achieved five A* to C grades, including maths and English. This figure is an increase of 10% on last year’s results. The school has seen considerable progress in the number of students achieving A* to C grades in English, which has risen from 48% in 2012 to 62%. The number of students achieving A* to C grades in maths has also risen from 45% to 59%.
The academy’s principal Caroline Wilson said: “In the eight months that Year 11 students have had to prepare for these examinations, I am proud of their attitude to learning and their commitment to getting it right to secure the grades they need for next year. Many students will continue their studies with us in our highly successful sixth form. This year has been fruitful; we will build on this success next year.”
Mildenhall College Academy saw 45% of students gaining five or more A* to C grades including English and maths, with a pass rate of 100%.
Principal Susan Byles said: “I am delighted to see an excellent improvement from last year of 11% at the headline figure of five A* to C grades including English and maths. However, a statistic like this on its own fails to show the progress that has been made by our students. This year the percentage of students making expected or better levels of progress between Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 has risen by 25% in English and 17% in Maths. This represents a tremendous achievement by the students and they must be congratulated.”
Ryan Skeats managed 15.5 GCSE passes at Grades A* to C and of these 11.5 were at A* and A grades.
Culford School was celebrating another set of excellent GCSE results today with 41% of all grades at A* or A grade. A total of 99% of pupils got at least 5 GCSEs at A* to C grades, 97% including maths and English.
Joint deputy head, Dr John Guntrip said: “We are yet again delighted with these results. Virtually all pupils achieved 5 GCSEs at A*-C grades, and most performed considerably better than this, with our top pupils achieving suites of A* and A grades. We continue to stretch and challenge our pupils so that they fulfil their potential, and these excellent results are testament to how much work pupils and teachers put in for the examinations.”
Seventy-five sat GCSEs this year.
St Benedict’s Catholic School in Bury St Edmunds saw 55% achieving five A* to C, including English and maths.
Headteacher Hugh O’Neill said the average points score per candidate was 490 - a new school record, beating the previous best of 2011 by 12 points.
He added: “This is a year’s results of which there is much to be proud. Once again, there have been many outstanding individual performances. We have named 12 students who have achieved at least 11 A* and A grades in their 13 GCSE passes. Their results contribute to our best-ever points score per candidate. However, the headline figure of students passing with five A* to C grades including English and Maths is no higher than last year’s, despite huge efforts to improve , particularly in English.
“However, this is the examination world we now live in, where it is increasingly hard to achieve a grade C pass in key subjects, especially English, maths and science. The key thing is that our students have done extraordinarily well in a tough exam season, and should feel hugely proud of their achievements. Once again, that achievement has been a collective effort, of all their teachers, in this school and previous schools, of parents and carers, but above all, the hard work of the students themselves, who have be a wonderful group to have in the school.”
Twelve students achieved 13 GCSE passes, at least 11 of them at A* or A. The record this year goes to Josh Bryan, who achieved 11 A* passes, and two A passes.
Pupils at the Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill achieved a record breaking 100% five A* to C at GCSE. Seventy percent also met the Government’s more demanding measure of five A* to C grades including English and maths.
Against the backdrop of an outstanding set of results overall, notable individual successes include Emily Jerram (six A*, four As), Georgina Westrope (four A*, four A and two Bs), Tom Marsh (six A*, two A and four Bs), Lauren Crane (three A*, four A, two B and one C), Kelsey Mealham (two A*, eight A and one B), Jacob Simmons (two A*, five A and four Bs), Emily Wickington (two A*, 5A and 3Bs), and Hannah Murphy (2A*, 5A and 3Bs).
Vice-principal Andy Prestoe said: “I am incredibly proud of the achievement of our pupils. They have had to work extremely hard and have shown great determination in getting to this point. The progress that they have made is phenomenal.
“The fact that so many did well in academic subjects like English, maths, languages and science, as well as in creative subjects like art, media and design technology is a real plus for their future employment and college prospects. It’s also testimony to the skill and dedication of the teaching staff and the support provided by their parents.”
Castle Manor Academy in Haverhill was delighted 98% of pupils achieved five or more A* to C grades across the board, with 52% of students achieving the benchmark of five or more GCSE grades A* to C including English and maths.
This is a 12% increase on the school’s GCSE results last year.
Acting head of school Vanessa Whitcombe said: “We’re extremely proud of this set of results and the opportunities it will give our students. I’d really like to thank staff and parents who have put an enormous effort into supporting these young people.”
She added: “Our Year 11 students set themselves a challenge to achieve the best results in the history of the school. I knew that these students were capable and am overjoyed at having the opportunity to celebrate with them.”
Madeleine Vigar, principal of the Castle Partnership Academy Trust, said: “In the current climate our young people are under close scrutiny about the value of the qualifications they take. They should absolutely be proud of what they have achieved and the opportunities they will now have!”
The Academy will look to improve on this success in future years as it develops new areas of its curriculum and facilities.
This year will see digital learning take hold, with tablet devices in use to improve the way students learn.
The academy also hopes to develop its campus and move towards providing a brand new all-through academy on their site in Eastern Avenue.
Results at Thomas Gainsborough School (formerly Great Cornard Upper School) show a slight rise in standards, with 56% of students attaining five A*-C passes including English and Maths. There were 22 students who did exceptionally well by attaining more than five passes at the highest grades A* or A.
Headteacher Wayne Lloyd said: “We are pleased that standards have risen in a very turbulent education landscape, with higher than ever marks required to attain the highest grades.
“However, this is just the start. Thomas Gainsborough School has changed significantly over the last year and standards will continue to rise in the future. We have an exciting future ahead of us.”
Thetford Academy achieved its best ever performance for five or more A* to C grades including English and maths with 40%.
Principal Cathy Spillane added the academy had made “significant gains” in the five A* to C category, achieving another best ever result - up from 55% last year to 68% this year.
She said: “We are particularly pleased with the results from subjects with 100% A* to C pass rate: drama, child care, health and social care and music. In drama 42% of students achieved an A* to A.
“We are also pleased with the ICT results where 82% of 257 students gained an A* to C grade. We look forward to making further improvements next year when we come together on one site in our new £19million building.”