Boundary changes blamed for results

Keith Pailthorpe, Head of Eastbourne Academy. SUS-150519-152046001
Keith Pailthorpe, Head of Eastbourne Academy. SUS-150519-152046001

Two headteachers have blamed grade boundary changes for their school’s GCSE results.

The Eastbourne Academy and The Causeway School came joint bottom for GCSE results in the town, with just 34 percent of students achieving five or more A*-C grades, including English and maths.

Keith Pailthorpe, the principal of Eastbourne Academy, said the school “cannot hide its disappointment” that the grade boundary changes were reflected in the academy’s results.

He said, “We cannot hide our disappointment that these results reflect yet another change in the national examination boundaries which have perversely affected students who arrive at secondary school with lower prior attainment.

“Despite this, students at The Eastbourne Academy have performed exceptionally well in many of their GCSE subjects and this one headline figure should not detract from their overall achievement.”

The Causeway School saw its headline figure drop from 43 per cent in 2014 - a fall of nine per cent.

Headteacher Gene Payne said, “These are an unusual set of results.

“We have significant numbers of students who have made exceptional achievements, but also a large proportion with some lower than expected grades.

“Once again we have students who have gained the grades to take up prestigious scholarships, and some very hard working and committed students who will be disappointed with some of their grades.

“Our students have worked hard and should feel very proud.

“It is upsetting that many of our students are personally feeling the differential impact of the recent changes to the exam system grade boundaries.

“I am, however, confident that Causeway students’ attitude and resilience will enable them to move forward to the next stage of their education.

“They are bright and strong and will not let one off disappointments hold them back.”

On Thursday, GCSE results day, the town’s headteachers released a joint statement.

It said, “Eastbourne Secondary Headteachers are again pleased to report the considerable successes of their students at a time of nationally acknowledged volatility in the examination system, as it adjusts to recently introduced changes.

“These changes will cause a significant variation in results between schools across the country as they adopt the new examinations but will in the long term serve students well.”

Of the local state schools, Willingdon was the top performing with 73 percent, closely followed by Seaford Head with 71.5 percent.

Bishop Bell followed with 68 percent, with Ratton close behind at 64 per cent.

Cavendish School and Hailsham Community College both turned in solid performances with headline figures of 56 per cent and 48 per cent respectively.