Suffolk: Wait over for GCSE students

WEEKS of anxious waiting came to end for thousands of pupils across Suffolk as they collected their all-important GCSE exam results.

Countless tales of academic achievement emerged around the county yesterday, with impressive accounts of scholastic excellence and stories of accomplishment over adversity.

For many, including the multi-talented Tilbrook triplets, the grades will help set in motion the next stage in their education.

Between them, Rosie, Elo�se and Holly Tilbrook collected a staggering 14 A*s, 12As and three Bs from Debenham High School.

The joy of many students was this year tempered by concerns at schools about a drop in English results, leading to calls for exams to be remarked.

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A national fall in the proportion of A*-C grades, particularly in English, and in pupils receiving the top A* and A grades, has been largely ascribed to a change in the marking system to ensure grades are comparable.

Nevertheless, at Debenham High School, 70% of youngsters achieved A*-C grade, including English and maths - down only slightly on last year’s figure. Meanwhile, a total of 37% of students were awarded A* and A grades.

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Headteacher Julia Upton said the school would be seeking an investigation into the English results, adding: “Everyone has worked very hard and they should be incredibly proud.

“We are 3% down on last year and were expecting a rise but like other schools we are very concerned over the marking, particularly English. We are going to ask for that to be investigated. It appears to be common across the country.”

Keith Penn, headteacher of Stowmarket High School said that the situation regarding this year’s GCSE results was ‘wholly unacceptable’ after only 36% of pupils got five passes between A*-C, including English and maths.

“We are shocked and hugely disappointed with those results,” said Mr Penn.

“There appears to be a national problem with GCSE results, particularly in English but possibly across other subjects too. These are affecting overall school results, especially so in schools such as ours where large numbers of students were expected to achieve C grades across a range of their subjects.

“Although almost 60% of our students gained five A*-C grades, only 44% gained a higher grade in English and 53% in maths.”

Mr Penn said that the school had been expecting nearly 60% of students to be awarded five A*-C grades, including English and maths.

He said headteachers and national heads’ organisations would be asking for the grades to be investigated as a matter of urgency.

There was some good news though at the school after a number of students achieved excellent grades including Lief Bjornson who gained eight A* grades and two A grades.

At Farlingaye High School 60% of youngsters achieved A*-C grade, including maths and English.

Headteacher Sue Hargadon said the school would also be querying the results in core subjects.

“We are very pleased with some excellent results, with 72% of students achieving five A*-C grades,” she added.

“Our five A*-C with English and Maths currently stands at 60% but we will be querying, like many local and national schools, results in a core subject.”

A total of 23 students achieved at least 10 A* and A grades. Among those to do particularly well were Sam Moody who achieved 10 A*s, Chadie Hopgood and Will Kennerley who achieved nine A* grades and Cessie Hillman, Charles Hardingham and Tom Barton who all achieved eight A* grades.

“These great results across the ability range are a real tribute to the very hard work of students who are so well supported by their parents and staff,” Ms Hargadon added.

At Thomas Mills High School in Framlingham 73% of youngsters achieved A* to C grade, including maths and English.

Headteacher Colin Hirst said the English results had held up well - with 88% of students achieving at least a C grade.

“The results are five point up on last year,” he said. “I’m extremely grateful to staff for all their commitment and hard work and most importantly I’m delighted for the young people who also work extremely hard and have secured a super set of results.”

At Framlingham College 78% achieved five A*-C grades, including English and maths.

More than 30% of candidates secured seven or more A* and A grades, with over 14% achieving more than five A*s.

Headmaster Paul Taylor said: “We are again delighted to see so many very strong performances, providing further evidence of the outstanding added value that the college provides to a broad range of candidates.”

At Woodbridge School 97% of pupils achieved at least five A*-C grades, including English and maths.

A third of candidates achieved at least 10 A*s or As, including Milly Hooper’s outstanding 12 A*s.

Headmaster Stephen Cole said: “Woodbridge pupils’ renowned teamwork approach has again brought a set of excellent results in prestige subjects.”

At Copleston High School, headteacher Shaun Common said results were “pleasing”, with 61% of students getting A*-C grades including English and Maths.

Mr Common said: “There have been some pleasing individual performances from students and our congratulations go to all students, their families and staff who have worked hard to achieve these results.”

At Kesgrave High School, headteacher Nigel Burgoyne said the school was appealing English results which they believe were an “injustice”.

The school achieved 65% A*-C including English and Maths.

Mr Burgoyne said: “We are delighted that 87% of students achieved more than five A*-C grades (without English and maths), rewarding the superb endeavour of the students. Of particular note are exceptional results in Maths and Science with over 80% achieving A*-C grades.

“English results are 10% down on the previous 10 years, and we will be appealing with the exam board, as we sense an injustice.“

More than two-thirds of pupils at Northgate High School have achieved five or more A*-C grades including maths and English, with 66% making the grade.

Headteacher David Hutton said: “With 78% of our GCSE grades being awarded at A*-C our headline figure would have been even better but for one frustrating core module result.”

Chantry High School pupils scored 41% gained five A*-Cs including maths and English.

Headteacher Janet Dickson said: “We are particularly pleased with our results in maths with 60% of pupils achieving C grades or higher.”

At Ipswich School 99.2% of pupils earned five A*-C grades including maths and English.

Headmaster Nicholas Weaver said: “I’m particularly pleased that with one of our biggest ever year groups we have been able to provide them with the same kind of quality focus as smaller schools, which has enabled such great results.”

Dennis McGarry, headteacher at St Albans Catholic High School, said students had achieved “outstanding” results despite a “mysterious downturn” in English results.

He said: “There has been a mysterious downturn in our English results and we are looking in to the reasons for this.

“This has had an impact on the majority of students on the C/D borderline.

“Students within the upper grade boundaries do not seem to be affected by this.

“There have been some excellent individual performances. All other subjects have either met or surpassed their predictions.”

The school achieved 60% A* to C with English and maths - 10% less than predicted.

Last year, the former Thurleston High School achieved 37% A*-C grades at GCSE including English and maths. Since becoming the Ormiston Endeavour Academy seven months ago, staff are celebrating after that figure rose by to 52%.

New principal Samantha Penn said: “Students and staff have worked so hard to gain these results and I think we will see these continue to rise year-on-year. This is a fantastic academy and, with these results, staff and students have really shown what they can do. I’d like to thank staff and students for their hard work.”

Staff at Holbrook High School, which is currently in special measures, were “absolutely delighted” with 60% of students achieving A*-C including English and maths.

Deputy headteacher Nicola Shelley said: “We are delighted, students, staff, the whole school.

“Obviously there is more to do but this is a great foundation to go forwards.”

At East Bergholt High School there was disappointment - just 50% of pupils got five or more A*-C grades including English and maths.

Colin Turner, headteacher, said: “Over 89% of students achieved five A*-C grades, a new school record, although we are extremely disappointed that the percentage of students achieving five A*-C grades including English and maths was only 50%.

“However there were many outstanding individual performances; with 30% of students achieving at least five A*-A grades. The students worked extremely hard for their examinations and deserve every success.”

At Bungay High School, 52.4% achieved five A*-C grades, including English and maths. Like many schools across the county, Bungay will be contesting English results. The school’s overall A*-C rate was 80%.

Headteacher, Sean O’Neill, said: “We are contesting these figures with the exam boards and Ofqual. This is disappointing as the quality of teaching and preparation and the instruction of students is as strong as it has even been. We have seen a rise in the number of students achieving A*-A grades to 20%, with some excellent individual performances.”

One such performance came from Jessica Domiczew, who achieved seven As and two A*s, while Hazel Honeywood was awarded six As and three A*s.

At St Felix School, near Southwold, 91% achieved five A*-C grades, including English and maths, with almost half the pupils getting A* and A grades. George Stannard managed an impressive 11 A*s, while Charlotte Hicks, Zoe Corcoran and Lizzie Nicolson-Lai achieved A and A* in all their exam subjects.

Headmaster, Dr Simon Letman, said: “This year we have not only maintained our impressive overall pass rate but have almost doubled the proportion of A* grades achieved compared with last year. Small independent schools like ours have much smaller teaching groups, allowing us to focus more on the needs of each individual and this allows us to buck these national trends year on year.”

East Point Academy, formerly Kirkley High School, recorded a 41% rate of A*-C grades, including English and maths. Principal, Liz Redpath, said: “When East Point opened in September 2011 a common, and perfectly reasonable comment made to me was, ‘sounds good, let’s see the results’. After one year we are on the way, and this is just the beginning. There are some wonderful individual results with the highest grades being achieved.”

Benjamin Britten’s A*-C grades, including English and maths, were unavailable but the school achieved 77% in five or more A*-C GCSEs in all subjects. Headteacher, Andrew Hine, said: “First indications of results are that the hard work by students and staff during the year has been reflected in another record year for students at Benjamin Britten High School.”

At Felixstowe Academy, 74% of students gained five A*-C grades, while for five A*-C including English and Maths the provisional figures - as appeals are expected over the English grades - was 50%.

“Almost 40% of our students achieved the highest grades of A*-B, which is a fantastic achievement for each of them,” said headteacher Andrew Salter.

“We are extremely proud of all of our students who have worked so hard to achieve good results this year in both GCSE and/or BTEC qualifications. We are really pleased that so many of our students achieved their targets with equally as many exceeding their own expectations.”

At Sir John Leman High, in Beccles, 50% of pupils achieved A*-C grades with English and maths. Particular success stories included taekwondo champion Saskia Baylis who received nine A*s and two As, Connor Bligh who received five A*s and five As, Greg Tate who received six A*s and four A*s and Jazz Smith who got five A*s and six As.

Jazz, 16, of Oulton Broad, said: “I’m shocked, I did not think I’d get these. We’ve all seen the news and it was a bit scary, so I was a bit worried, but I’m very happy.”

She will be staying on at the school for sixth form, with the hope of going on to study medicine. Headteacher, Jeremy Rowe, said: “The last three years have been our best three years. Obviously the changes to English have affected us as they have all the schools, but overall I am very proud of our students. We carry on going from strength to strength and have an exciting couple of years lined up.”

The Denes High School, Lowestoft, posted a 29% achievement rate for A*-C grades with English and maths. Headteacher, Mick Lincoln, said: “Well done to individuals for some excellent results. We are disappointed with our overall five or more A*-C with English and maths where results have been affected by results in one curriculum area.”

At Diss High School 66% of students gained five A*-C grades including maths and English. Twenty students gained eight A*-A grades including Danielle Clark, Declan Jones and Jude Palmer who all gained 15 A* grades in their GCSEs.

Headteacher Dr Jan Hunt said: “We are delighted with these results, warm congratulations to both staff and students.”

Andrew Bloom, headteacher at Stradbroke High School said he was ‘pleased’ with the results and praised the hard work of the students, the high quality teaching and supportive parents.

At the school, 50% of students achieved five or more subjects at grade C or above, including English and maths.

At Hartismere School 73% of students received five A*-C grades, including maths and English. Headteacher, James McAtear said: “95% got five A*-C grades which indicates our scholars will be at the top of the progress tables once again, performing far above expectations. Thank you parents and governors and well-done scholars and staff.”

Despite several attempts, the EADT was unable to obtain results by Stowupland High, Finborough and Alde Valley School.

A number of schools have decided to wait until the results of remarking before releasing final figures to Suffolk County Council. Overall county figures compiled from self reported provisional results could change considerably but, at present, 52% of pupils in Suffolk have achieved five A*-C including English and maths.

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