Pupils strike GCSE gold

More students than ever at schools and colleges in Eastbourne struck gold in their GCSE results last summer.

The Department of Education yesterday published its Key Stage 4 results, highlighting the number of students passing the gold standard of five or more A* to C grades, including English and maths.

Terry Boatwright, executive headteacher at both Bishop Bell and Causeway secondary schools, said he was “absolutely delighted” with the set of results which saw marked increases year-on-year for the schools.

At the 1,040-pupil Bishop Bell School, 70 per cent of students hit the gold standard, compared with 63 per cent a year earlier and just 53 per cent in 2009.

Meanwhile at the 890-pupil Causeway School, 60 per cent struck gold, an increase of three per cent and up from 44 per cent in 2009.

Mr Boatwright praised the quality of teaching, notably among English and maths at both schools.

He said, “We have very personalised curriculums for our pupils which we believe helps motivate them along various career routes. For example, we have a joint facility for motor vehicle studies and horse care, but it has to be noted that we have exceptional teachers in our core subjects.

“We have a very close tracking of our pupils’ progress, and in terms of value added, in other words students’ predicted grades from when they come to us in year seven, Bishop Bell and Causeway are ranked among the top three in the county.

“The two schools have been supporting each other as a partnership since 2008 when the gold standard figure for Causeway was 31 per cent, and it now stands at 60 per cent.”

Eastbourne College saw a three per cent increase from 90 per cent to 93 per cent of pupils achieving the five GCSEs.

In a statement Eastbourne College said, “Once again, the Government’s performance tables under-represent the very high level of GCSE and A level attainment by pupils at Eastbourne College.

“Thankfully, for the first time and after a great deal of pressure, the Government now recognises IGCSEs in its calculations and this source of anomalous outcomes in previous years has been eliminated.

“For no good reason, however, the Government discounts rigorous GCSEs that have no less academic credibility than history and geography (the Government’s chosen humanities eligible for the English Baccalaureate or EBacc) eg: religious studies and Classical Civilisation. This renders the 74 per cent quoted as the percentage of pupils achieving the EBacc essentially irrelevant: only three pupils from a GCSE cohort of 112 in 2012 scored fewer than 8 GCSEs at A*-C and more than 97 per cent of all the GCSEs taken by this exam cohort were graded A*-C.”

Kenny Fitpatrick, headteacher of Cavendish School, sent out a statement on behalf of the Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford Federation of Secondary Schools. He said; “The set of results announced in today’s DFE Performance Tables demonstrates

the excellent progress and rise in standards of all the secondary schools in Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford.

“Our Federation of Secondary Schools is collectively proud to be amongst the highest achieving schools across East Sussex.”

Across East Sussex there have been significant improvement, with the number of pupils hitting the Government benchmark rising from 46 per cent in 2008 to 58 per cent last summer. Similarly the percentage of East Sussex pupils achieving five A*-C GCSEs, but not necessarily including English and maths, has risen from 63 per cent to 81 per cent across the same period.

Percentage of pupils achieving A*-C grades in five GCSEs including English and maths: (2011 figures in brackets)

n Bishop Bell: 70% (63%)

n Causeway: 60% (57%)

n Cavendish: 70% (59%)

n Eastbourne Academy: 53% (33%)

n Eastbourne College: 93% (90%)

n Hailsham Community College 66% (60%)

n Moira House: 63% (67%)

n Newlands 54% (35%)

n Ratton School: 45% (59%)

n Seaford College 73% (71%)

n Seaford Head 64% (66%)

n St Bede’s 77% (67%)

n Willingdon 65% (66%)