Schools buck national GCSE results trend

GCSE Results day at Bishop Bell CofE School. Students Lisa-Marie Cairns, Rebecca Hunt and mary-Beth Robinson celebrate their success. August 22nd 2013 E34262P
GCSE Results day at Bishop Bell CofE School. Students Lisa-Marie Cairns, Rebecca Hunt and mary-Beth Robinson celebrate their success. August 22nd 2013 E34262P

National statistics suggested many teenagers would be disappointed with their results this year but schools in town seem to have bucked the trend and are celebrating some of their best ever results.

As changes to make core GCSE subjects harder begin to bite, heads across the country were yesterday warning grades were becoming unreliable and incomparable year on year.

However, there was much celebration in Eastbourne.

A total of 97 per cent of Bishop Bell pupils achieved five or more A* to C grades with 70 per cent of those including the all-important English and maths GCSE – down just one percentage point on last year’s 71 per cent result.

It has been a turbulent year for Bishop Bell, with the school making the headlines over safeguarding issues. But this did not appear to affect results and Bishop Bell’s overall 97 per cent is the highest of the town’s state schools.

Terry Boatwright, executive headteacher at Bishop Bell, said, “These results are a real credit to pupils, their parents, and the Bishop Bell staff. Impressively, for the second year running, Bishop Bell has topped 70 per cent five or more A*-C with English and mathematics, with one in five pupils gaining six or more of the very highest A and A* grades.”

Results at The Causeway, Bishop Bell’s partner school, dropped slightly on last year.

Its overall five or more A* to C was 92 per cent – down from 96 per cent last year. A total of 58 per cent of those included maths and English, which was also down on last years figure by three percentage points.

Gene Payne, new head at the Causeway, said, “These are, once again, excellent results. Our students have worked hard and should feel very proud. I am sure they will be thanking their parents and our staff for all the fantastic support they received. This is the fourth year running The Causeway has achieved an impressive set of results, confirming the sustained achievement of the school since the partnership with Bishop Bell. Executive headteacher Terry Boatwright has made a huge difference here.”

A large number of students gained A and A* grades, with 44 per cent gaining at least one A* or A grade and 32 per cent gaining three or more A* 
and A grades.

Pupils and teachers at Cavendish were celebrating as 96 per cent of pupils gained five or more A* to C grades, which was a record breaking figure for the school. However the amount of those which included maths and English stood at 63 per cent – down from the 69 per cent it achieved in 2012.

Kenny Fitzpatrick, head, said, “Congratulations to Cavendish students who have achieved an excellent set of results and have exceeded all school targets. The 63 per cent coupled with the 96 per cent five A*-C, represent another record breaking year for our school. I am delighted that more Cavendish students than ever will go on to follow the career route or further education course of their choice.”

Eastbourne Academy, which celebrated dramatic improvements to its GCSE results in 2012, saw the biggest drop in town.

The school had 46 per cent of its pupils achieving five or more A* to C grades including the all-important English and mathematics – down from 53.5 per cent last year but still up on 2011’s 34 per cent figure. Eastbourne Academy’s overall five or more A* to C grades rose one percentage point to 83 per cent.

Keith Pailthorpe, headteacher said, “Despite this year’s tightening up of GCSE marking by the Government, Academy students have performed well above expectations confirming the higher standards now in place here.

“Students from different starting points made exceptional progress.”

Ratton School was unable to publish its results last year but 2013 saw 82 per cent of pupils achieve five or more A* to C grades and 64 per cent of those included maths and English.

Headteacher David Linsell said, “These are our best ever GCSE results. They are a just reward for the efforts, skill and determination of students, staff and parents; a great success for ‘achieving together’. Our results have been excellent across a very wide range of subjects with English and maths achieving above 70 per cent, performing arts and humanities subjects above 80 per cent and modern foreign languages all above 90 per cent.”

Willingdon Community School was the best performing school in the town with a huge 77 per cent of its pupils achieving five or more A* to C grades including the all-important maths and English GCSEs. This is an 12 per cent rise on last year and puts it ahead of Bishop Bell by seven percentage points.

Its overall five or more A* to C grades figure stands at 93 per cent – one percent down on last year.

Ian Jungius, head at Willingdon, said, ”I am delighted for all our students who have achieved Willingdon’s best ever results. This is a 12 per cent rise on last year which is a remarkable achievement at a time when national standards are getting tougher.

“These results place the school amongst the highest achieving schools nationally and locally. Over 80 per cent of students achieved top grades in English and maths.

“The quality of grades across the whole range of students was exceptional with 53 per cent gaining three or more A* to A grades and 76 per cent with at least one A* or A.”