GCSE pass rates set to increase again

JUBILANT pupils and teachers are celebrating soaring GCSE pass rates across the region.The anxious wait for exam results ended for thousands of teenagers yesterday morning.

By Jonathan Barnes

JUBILANT pupils and teachers are celebrating soaring GCSE pass rates across the region.

The anxious wait for exam results ended for thousands of teenagers yesterday morning.

Signs across Suffolk were that this year's crop of students had outstripped last year's performance of 57% of pupils gaining five or more GCSEs at grades A* to C.


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Tony Lewis, member of Suffolk County Council's executive committee, said: "I know that young people have put in a considerable amount of hard work to achieve these qualifications, and they are to be applauded."

Nationally, the proportion of entries awarded a C or better rose to 59.2% from 58.1% in academic subjects while there was a 0.7% rise in those awarded the top two grades.

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Schools reported some outstanding success stories. Pupils at St Alban's High School, Ipswich, achieved an 80% pass rate in gaining five or more A* to C grades for the first time.

"They have met and exceeded our targets," said headteacher Dennis McGarry, who hailed excellent performances in maths, English and science.

Ipswich High School set a five-year high with 99% of the girls scoring five or more A* to C passes. Headmistress Valerie MacCuish said over 75% of grades were at A* or A.

St Joseph's College, Ipswich, reported a 6% rise in the overall A* to C pass rate, to 90%, and its best set of results for five years.

Deputy head Anthony Newman said the success reflected developments at the college in recent years.

Neil Watts, headteacher of Northgate High School, Ipswich, said the school had equalled its highest ever GCSE performance, with 72% of the year group scoring five or more passes at A* to C.

Two pupils at Ipswich School, James Bush and Simon Peatman, achieved the top A* grade in all 11 subjects and a further 14 achieved 10 or more passes at A* and A. Headmaster Ian Galbraith hailed a "very pleasing" set of results.

At Woodbridge School, 98% of pupils were awarded with five or more A* to C grades, with nearly one in five grades an A*.

Headmaster Stephen Cole said: "Pupils of all abilities have performed very well, but the proportion of the very top grade reflect the opinion of our inspectors that bright pupils are being stretched by first class teaching."

Every pupil at Amberfield School, Nacton, achieved five of more grades at A* to C. Headmistress Louise Amphlett Lewis praised the dedication of staff and hard work of pupils.

Farlingaye High School, Woodbridge, celebrated its best-ever results, with 66% of pupils registering five or more A* to C grades. "We are absolutely delighted with another super set of results," said headteacher Sue Hargadon.

Terry Ring, headteacher of Deben High School, Felixstowe, said he was "very pleased" with the school's results, which showed 62% of students gained five or more A* to C passes.

Students at Holbrook High School turned in an impressive set of results, with 65% gaining five or more passes at grades A* to C. Headteacher Jenny Lee added seven students scored all 10 grades at A or A*.

At Stowupland High School, 58% of students gained five or more A* to C grades, an increase of 2%.

David Oliver, headteacher at Stowmarket High School, where 55% of students gained at least five A* to C grades, said: "Our predictions based on how these students performed two years ago and our own targets anticipated an overall drop in performance but, in fact, we have improved on last year's significant improvement.

Thomas Mills High School, in Framlingham, was also celebrating a record score with 88% of pupils gaining five or more A* to C grades.

And nearby Framlingham College was also celebrating with 95% of students obtaining A* to C grades overall - a 1% rise on last year's result.

"It was particularly gratifying to see that the gap between boys' and girls' success was much smaller than indicated in previous national trends," said head Gwen Randall.

Debenham High School was celebrating another excellent year with over 89% of students gaining five or more A* to C grades.

East Bergholt High School had a pass rate of 67% for pupils with five or more A-C grades - slightly down on the previous year.

At Hartismere High School in Eye, 76% of pupils gained five A* to C grades. Headteacher Richard Hewitt said: "The core subjects of English, maths and science have achieved fine results and vocational subjects, such as business studies, have done extremely well.''

Every pupil at the independent Finborough School, in Great Finborough near Stowmarket, achieved at least five A* to C grades, and the average was eight.

Principal John Sinclair said: "We are all very pleased with the results, particularly since the year group produced results 23% better than independent testing suggested they should have done."

The number of pupils gaining five A* to C grades at Stradbroke High School was 54% - the same as last year.

Headteacher Dave Shorten said: "There are excellent individual results right across the board."

At Hadleigh High School, 63% of pupils gained five A* to C grades and headteacher Ian Carrington said: "This is slightly down on last year. But we are pleased with the results. Students really performed as we expected them to."

This week's storms caused Leiston High School's computer system to go down.

But thanks to the hard work of exams officer Pete Douglas, who managed to get the results sent to his home computer, staff were able to see that 64% of pupils achieved five or more A* to C grades before the students' slips arrived by post yesterday morning.

The number of pupils gaining five or more GCSEs at grades A* to C at Copleston High School, Ipswich, was 61% and headteacher Laurie Robinson said: "We were very pleased with the results right across the ability range."

Claydon High School headteacher Beth Soule hailed an "extremely good" set of results and a record year, with the pass rate from A* to G rising to 98%.

For the third year running, Westbourne High School, Ipswich, set a new record, with the proportion of students achieving five or more A* to C passes rising to 45%.

Anne Rickwood, headteacher at Chantry High School, Ipswich, said: "We are disappointed with our results this year. As a school we have year groups with very different ability spreads."

Holywells High School, Ipswich, registered its best set of results for five years, with the number of pupils gaining five or more A* to G passes rising by 14%.

Alan Whitaker, headteacher of Stoke High School, Ipswich, said about a third of students gained eight or more GCSEs at top A* to C grades.

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