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Gallery: Thousands of Essex pupils celebrate GCSE result success

Top GCSE achievers at Gilberd School, Highwoods, Colchester. (L-R): Louise Hewitson, Jade Ajagun-Brauns, Ben Squire, Josh Farmer, Freddie Cooke, Jack Starkey, Robert Mills, Ben Steadman, James Pearson, Harry Gardner, Sophia Zahariadi, Alice McClintock, Charlotte Brinkley and Grace Langhamer.

Top GCSE achievers at Gilberd School, Highwoods, Colchester. (L-R): Louise Hewitson, Jade Ajagun-Brauns, Ben Squire, Josh Farmer, Freddie Cooke, Jack Starkey, Robert Mills, Ben Steadman, James Pearson, Harry Gardner, Sophia Zahariadi, Alice McClintock, Charlotte Brinkley and Grace Langhamer.


The anxious wait for thousands of students from schools across north Essex is over as they pick up their GCSE results today.

Colchester Royal Grammar School (CRGS) is celebrating an outstanding set of results this year despite predictions that there would be a national dip in top grades.

The percentage of A* passes at 53% is the highest on record at the school and the A*/A percentage of 84.2% is up more than three points on last year’s score. The five A*-C (including English and maths) benchmark is 100%, and 95% of CRGS students surpassed the five A*/A target. More than 70% of the year group achieved 10 or more A*/A grades and four students achieved 13 straight A*s.

This year’s European Baccalaureate figure of 95% is the highest on record at the school.

Top students, each with 13 straight A*s, were Cameron Wake of Langenhoe, George Hearn of Great Bromley, Rashad Ramali of Colchester and Freddie Oats of Little Horkesley.

Headmaster Ken Jenkinson said: “CRGS is fortunate in that it has been able to establish a degree of stability in its GCSE provision and has not been significantly affected by the government’s changes.

“We have never been an advocate of early entry or modular courses and we moved to IGCSE for a number of subjects, including the sciences, a few years ago because we felt that they would be more rigorous and more appropriate to a grammar school curriculum.

“On a school level, this year’s results are among the very best we have seen, and I would like to congratulate the students and their teachers on such an impressive achievement and recognise the key role played by supportive parents in the whole process.”

Students at Clacton County High School also saw a three per cent rise in those students getting five A*-C grades including English and maths, with 67% of pupils attaining the benchmark.

Top performers included Daniel Dore, Antonia Morrison, Louis Takooree and Ashley Birch, each achieving at least 10 A/A* grades. A total of 12 students attained eight or more A/A* grades including eight boys, bucking the national trend.

Principal Jeff Brindle said: “These are a stunning set of results. There have been many changes to the performance tables this year, some made just before Christmas, yet despite this, results are up once again.

“This fully reflects the enormous effort that all students and staff made this year, the work ethic of the students was amazing. They fully deserve everything they have achieved.”

Staff and students at Clacton Coastal Academy (CCA) celebrated a record year with more than half of pupils attaining five or more A*-C grades including English and maths with 51% reaching the standard – up six per cent on last year and 15% on 2012. The academy’s predecessor schools achieved just 17%.

Top achievers included Lauren Moon with the highest point score who attained eight A*s and three As and Chloe Dench with seven A*s and five As.

Principal Tracey Hemming said: “I could not be more pleased with the results and the dramatic increase in progress, especially as OFQUAL has been warning schools to expect far higher grade boundaries in examinations this year.

“It will be interesting to see the national picture, but for us this set of results show that we are continuing to make excellent progress across the board.

“The students and staff here have worked fantastically hard to secure these grades, including workshops run every day before and after school and in the holidays with additional residential camps for intensive revision.

“The sheer determination shown by everyone involved has been outstanding and the success is thoroughly deserved. I could not be more proud of our students, our staff and everyone who supports CCA from our sponsor the Academies Enterprise Trust to our governors and every parent who supports their child with their studies and words of encouragement.”

At Colchester County High School for Girls, 88% of grades were A*/A, with all pupils achieving at least five A*-C including English and maths – the best on record for the school.

Star achievers include Ishika Bansal, Madeleine Bishop, Charlotte Greenhalgh, Emilia Johnson, Erin Leahy, Jessica Sharpe, Francesca Tindall, Danielle Young and Eszter Zsisku, who all achieved 11 A*s and an A at AS-level in critical thinking, plus Emily Deal who got 11A*s and a Distinction in level two thinking & reasoning.

Gillian Marshall, headteacher, said: “We have achieved the best GCSE results in the history of the school, which has seen a seven per cent rise in grades at A/A*.

“This is an amazing set of results and credit must go to the students, staff and parents. We are delighted for the girls.”

Hedingham School said it was delighted with another good year for exam results, with 61% of students achieving at least five A*-C grades including maths and English.

Top students included Hester James and Honor Rendall who each received five A*s and five As.

John Panayi, headteacher, said: “I am very pleased with the GCSE results achieved by our students and wish to congratulate them for their commitment and hard work to attain their good examination outcomes.

“Within a changing examination landscape it is very good to note that Hedingham School has maintained high expectations for our students which has once again been reflected in their results. This consolidates our standing as a good school.

I would also like to thank all staff for their tremendous work to ensure the success of their students, and parents and governors for their continued support.”

The Gilberd School in Highwoods, Colchester, saw 64% of students gaining five or more A*-C including English and maths.

Among the top of the class were Charlotte Brinkley with 10A*s an A and a B and Ben Steadman with nine A*s and four As.

Headteacher Linda Exley said: “We are delighted with these results which are a fitting reflection of the hard work and dedication of our students.

“We would also like to thank their teachers and their parents for all they have done to help students achieve these grades.”

Records were broken at Manningtree High School which saw 68% of students get five or more A*-C including English and maths, the highest ever results and a significant rise of 15% on last year.

Deborah Hollister, headteacher, said: “Rapidly rising results are based on hard work, quality teaching, great support and a relentless focus on individual students making the progress we know they are capable of.

“Manningtree High School has, without doubt, given our students the best possible platform for continued success post-16.

“Many congratulations to the super students, their tremendous teachers and also to their fabulous families for their enduring support.”

Zoe King, headteacher at St Helena School, Colchester, said she was pleased with this year’s results which saw 53% of students get five or more A*-C grades including English and maths.

Star pupils included Tibi Sandu with 11 GCSEs including 10 at A/A* and Lukas Kadletz, who joined the school at the start of the academic year from Germany on an exchange programme, who got 10 GCSE passes, with nine at A/A*.

She said: “We are proud of our students’ individual and collective achievements which are a result of their hard work and determination.

“These results give our students a firm foundation for the next steps in their education and we wish them well in their post-16 pathways.”

A total of 63% of students at Tendring Technology College (TTC) achieved 5A* to C grades including English and maths.

Principal Caroline Haynes said: “Once again we are delighted that our highest ability students have achieved at the very highest level.

“We are delighted with our TTC students who have achieved examination success.

“This will take them forward in to further education, apprenticeships or the world of work.”

At the Colne Community School, Brightlingsea, 71% of students achieved five A*-C grades including English and maths.

Executive principal Nardeep Sharma said: “I am delighted by the sustained improvements made at the school. Despite the Government raising the bar, changes in education policy, reduction in school funding and Government tinkering with exams, the school has remained on a highly positive trajectory.

“The Colne was always ready to make sure its students did well. Sustained improvement is not about quick fixes, it is about having a concerted strategy for continued growth. The students in Year 11 did outstandingly well.

“It has been another fantastic year for so many of the students. They have worked incredibly hard and rightly deserve to celebrate. We are very excited for all our exam students, they have done themselves proud.

“We have an excellent staff team, supported well by governors and parents, and we remain one of the schools that students want to join. Exam success is vital, especially in this new age of Government budget restraints and volatility in the job and training markets.

“Despite such success I remain concerned over the exam tinkering taking place and I feel that the Government should act swiftly to address the issues it has created in the interests of students across the country.”

Thurstable School, in Tiptree, had a disappointing figure of 47% of students with five or more A*-C grades including English and maths, but said there are a number of appeals and remarks in process and as a result it expects the figure to rise closer to that of last year.

The school said there had been volatility nationally in C/D borderline results this year and too many of their middle ability students gained a D instead of a C in either English or maths was why the benchmark figure was lower this year.

Notable achievers included Teagan Norster with five A*s five As and a B, and Thomas Kyne with four A*s, and eight As.

Miles Bacon, headteacher, said: “It is good to see so many of our students gaining excellent grades at GCSE that they have worked so hard to achieve, but we are of course disappointed that around twenty of our middle ability Year 11 students missed out on the C grade in either English or maths that they could have achieved.

“For those who join our sixth form we’ll be looking to put that right in the autumn.

“My thanks go to all our staff who have worked so hard with our students in the lead up to their GCSEs, and to the parents who have supported them.”

At Honywood Community Science School, Coggeshall, 64.3% of pupils attained the benchmark five or more A*-C grades including English and maths, the school’s sixth best ever set of results.

Headteacher Simon Mason said: “At Honywood we are looking to secure for our youngsters the opportunity to have successful and happy lives as a result of the learning in which they have engaged whilst at our school.

“Not only have our young people performed well in their GCSE exams, they have also developed a broad set of skills, attitudes and dispositions to learning and to life-long success.

“We are very proud of the young adults they have become and are confident that they will make excellent future employees, parents, citizens and in many cases community and business leaders, playing an active part in their community as they did during their five years at our school.”

A total of 20 students at St Benedict’s Catholic College, Colchester, achieved at least eight A*/A grades, including Olivia Craig with 10 A*s and an A, and Sam Edney with eight A*s and three As.

Overall the school saw 65% of students achieve the benchmark figure.

Principal Jo Santinelli said: “As always we are very proud of the efforts made by our young people, many of whom have achieved outstanding and well-deserved results.

“I would also like to acknowledge the great efforts made by their teachers and other staff to support them academically and in all other ways during their time with us.”

At Philip Morant School, Colchester, 64% of students got the benchmark grades and the school said it was particularly delighted with 80% of students achieving A*-C in English and 95% in further maths.

Rob James, acting headteacher, said: “I am delighted for all the students who have worked hard to achieve these results. They can now progress to the next stage of their education or career with confidence.”

Among the many successes were Alice Edney who achieved 11 A*s and one A as well as Romily Green who achieved eight A*s and four As.

Alderman Blaxill School, in Colchester, which is closing down this year, saw 30% of students achieve the benchmark figure.

The school building is being taken over temporarily by the special needs Market Fields School, in Elmstead Market, while it is rebuilt.

At Colchester High School, 76% achieved five or more A* to C’s including English and maths.

Principal David Young said: “I am so proud of our pupils who have achieved an outstanding set of results which reflect the effort and determination of our pupils and the hard work of our teachers. The results highlight our focus on providing a friendly supportive and academic environment in which each child is inspired to achieve.”

New Rickstones Academy, Witham, 40% achieved five or more A*-C grades including English and maths.

However the academy says it is working through ‘anomalies’ with the exam boards, which it is expected will have an impact on this.

Trenica King, headteacher, said: “Against a difficult national picture of volatility in outcomes, we are proud of our students’ achievements, which are a result of their hard work and determination, together with the support they received from their parents and staff.”

At St Mary’s School for Girls, Colchester, 85% of the 59 candidates achieved the GCSE benchmark, with 92% of overall entries achieving grade C or better.

Top performers included aspiring vet Rebecca Justice, from Clacton, who achieved seven A*s, three As and one B, Jessica Hale, from Colchester, who got nine A*s and two As, and Rachel Stanton, from Colchester, who missed six months of school through illness but nevertheless achieved four A*s and six As.

Hilary Vipond, principal, said: “I am hugely proud of our girls’ achievement at GCSE this year.

“St Mary’s has a very strong academic ethos and the high quality teaching coupled with individual attention and support provided by our very close-knit school community mean that girls consistently achieve their academic potential at St Mary’s.”

English, geography and history students in particular showed an improvement at the Harwich and Dovercourt High School, which celebrated 56% five or more A*-C grades including English and maths.

Lynne Gettings, acting headteacher, said: “We are delighted with the many successes of our Year 11 students and congratulate them with pride.

“We are particularly proud that our GCSE results have held strong and stable against the national predictions of volatile results and shocks following significant changes to the exam system over the last 12 months.”

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