Gallery: Wait is over as Essex pupils pick up GCSE results

STUDENTS across Essex are celebrating after collecting their GCSE results this morning.

But headteachers have also expressed concern about a dramatic fall in English results with questions being raised about the marking policy.

At Colchester County High for Girls every pupil netted five or more A*-C grades including English and maths.

Gillian Marshall, headteacher, said: “This has been another amazing year, with all 112 students having achieved outstanding results in all subjects.”

At St Helena School in Colchester 77% of students gained five A*-C grades - an increase of eight percent on last year’s results.

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Headteacher Zoe King said the school will not be released overall figures for five A*-C grades including maths and English while the results are investigated.

She added: “We would like to congratulate all the students who have done so well.

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“We are sure that their parents, like us, are very proud of their achievements.”

At Colchester Royal Grammar School around 99% of students got five or more A* to C grades including English and maths.

Headteacher Ken Jenkinson said one pupil had been taken ill and so didn’t sit his English GCSE.

Among the school’s top performers was Ipswich-based Prannoy Chaudhuri Vayalambrone who got a remarkable 14 A*s. “We are delighted with the GCSE results,” added Mr Jenkinson. “There are some of the highest performers I have seen at GCSE in this year group, with 15 students obtaining at least 11 A*s.

“Prannoy’s case highlights the arbitrary nature of EBacc. We advise our students to take the subjects which are best suited to their own academic ambitions and do not restrict this to the Ebacc template.

“This year was the first year we have seen students take IGCSE at the school in some subjects and their teachers believe that they will be better prepared for A-levels in these areas as a result.”

At St Mary’s School, Colchester, 93% of pupils got five A* to C grades including English and maths.

Principal Hilary Vipond said: “I’m thrilled that the girls’ hard work has paid off. They are a terrific group of girls and they thoroughly deserve these wonderful results.”

Manningtree High School said it had a record year, with 72% of students getting five or more A*-C grades.

Deborah Hollister, headteacher, said: “When students and teachers work so hard and get so much support from parents to achieve these grades it is very disappointing to find that, as is the case with many, many other schools that the currently advised English grades are not in line with other subjects or with previous results in the examination.

“Students and schools deserve better than to have grades suppressed in comparison with previous years by the exam boards that now apparently have to allocate a ‘quota’ of each grade regardless of performance. For the same or better performance as students last year, students this year will receive a lower grade; this is not fair. When this situation is fully investigated, we will be making the appropriate complaints or appeals to make sure that no students are unfairly disadvantaged. This may result in changes to our 5+A*-C including English & Maths figures for 2012.”

At St Benedict’s College, Colchester, around 60% of pupils achieved five or more A* to C grades including English and maths.

Principal Jo Santinelli said: “We are delighted that initial analysis suggests that 82% of our students have achieved 5+ A*-C grades this year; this result is testament to the hard work of students and staff.

“Our 5+ A*-C with English and maths figure appears to be around 60%, which is similar to last year, but discussions with other schools in Essex and in other counties have shown English GCSE results may be lower than expected this year.

“When this situation is fully investigated, we will be making the appropriate complaints or appeals to make sure that no students are unfairly disadvantaged.

“This may well result in changes to this figure.”

At Colchester High School 93% of pupils netted five or more A* to C grades, including maths and English.

Principal David Young said, “I am so proud of these results. This is such wonderful news and represents a number of outstanding individual successes.

“I am so pleased that the hard work of all of our pupils has been rewarded. I also want to thank all of the staff for going the extra mile to make this possible. These are amongst the best results in the history of the school, and there is much to celebrate.”

At Harwich and Dovercourt High School five A*-C grades including maths and English increased to 58% compared to 48% last year.

Headteacher Nigel Mountford said: “This year’s results are fantastic and set another new school record.

“The key measure of five A*-C including English and maths has seen a big jump from 48% in 2011 to 58% this year.

“This is wonderful news for our students and really places the school on the map.”

The school also scored a five A*-C pass rate of 78%.

Mr Mountford added: “The public may hear about the concerns raised by headteachers across the country regarding the the raising of the grade boundaries by the exam boards, at the instruction of Ofqual.

“This has led to the drop in students nationally achieving grade C or higher, especially in English.

“In addition, one particular exam board has not been efficient in the delivery of English exam grades to schools, including Harwich and Dovercourt High School, by the agreed deadline.

“None of this, however, should distract us away from how successful our students have been this year.”

At Tendring Technology College at least 69% of pupils achieved fives A*-C grades including maths and English with at least 86% gaining five A*-C grades.

Principal Caroline Haynes said: “These are fantastic results – the students and all the staff supporting them should be thrilled with what they have achieved together.

“At a time when Government policy is making it even harder to get the top grades our students have again improved on the record performances of previous years.

“We know it is a real challenge for some students to achieve A*-C grades in both English and Maths but here at Tendring Technology College the overwhelming majority of students have been successful in obtaining these two crucial grades.

“We are very concerned however that many schools are reporting that grade boundaries have been shifted in English this year to make it more difficult for students to achieve a grade C even if they have achieved the standard set out in the grade criteria. “This is likely to affect those students who have worked so very hard to achieve the required standard only to find that the goal posts have been moved and they have been relegated to a D.

“This should not be allowed to happen particularly when it is a result of political pressure.”

Meanwhile Colne Community School enjoyed another record-breaking year with 71% of pupils scoring five A*-C grades including maths and English, compared to 49% five years ago.

Executive principal Nardeep Sharma said despite the Government raising the bar and making changes in education policy, the school had remained on a positive trajectory.

He added: “It has been another fantastic year for so many of our students – they have worked incredibly hard and rightly deserve to celebrate.

“We are very excited for all of our exam students in Year 9 through to Year 13 – they have done themselves proud.

“Exam success is vital especially in this new age of Government budget restraints and volatility in both the job and Higher Education markets.”

Students at Thurstable School in Tiptree achieved a five A*-C pass rate of 77% while the figure including maths and English was 58%.

Among the high achievers included Will Pryke who scored nine A*s and five A grades while Lori Roworth achieved eight A*s and three As.

Headteacher Miles Bacon said: “I am delighted to see so many of our students achieving so well, and proud for them, their teachers and their parents that as a year group they have achieved such excellent results.

“The Olympic values of self-respect, friendship and excellence are very close to our school motto Belong More, Achieve More, Be More, and I feel similarly considering these results as I did on Super Saturday. Seeing hard work, talent and commitment fulfilled and properly rewarded is wonderful.

“We have a huge amount to celebrate this year, including the fact that Thurstable School has now improved the number of its students gaining five or more A*-Cs including English and Maths by 20 percentage points in the last 6 years.”

At Clacton Coastal Academy 88% of students have achieved five A*-C grades.

Headteacher Tracey Hemming said: “I am exceptionally proud of the performance of our students and staff.

“In my first year as headteacher I have seen remarkable determination and dedication from all at Clacton Coastal Academy.

“This has resulted in many of our students achieving far in excess of their targets.”

While pupils at Clacton County High School are celebrating record GCSE results with 97% achieving five A*-C grades.

Results for five A*-C including maths and English is at least 50%.

Principal Jeff Brindle said: “These are a very pleasing set of results which show high levels of achievement across the board.

“Both students and staff have worked hard to achieve these outcomes and it is pleasing to see their effort so fully rewarded.”

Although both Clacton schools are celebrating, concern has be raised over the English GCSE results which are lower than expected.

In a joint statement Mr Brindle and Stephen Chamberlain, executive principal at Clacton Coastal Academy, said: “When this situation is fully investigated, we will be making the appropriate complaints or appeals to make sure that no students are unfairly disadvantaged.

“Until this is resolved we will not be able to confirm overall figures for five or more A*-Cs including English and maths for 2012 and any results released so far are at best provisional.”

At Felsted School 88% of pupils reached the A*-C benchmark, up from 87% last year.

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