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GCSE results: Schools across South West celebrate

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: August 21, 2014

  • Colyton Grammar School pupils

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Thousands of teenagers across the South West will be waking up to their GCSE grades today.

We'll be publishing the results as they come in to us right here.

Commenting on today’s GCSE results, Andy Woolley, South West Regional Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Students and their teachers are to be congratulated on their GCSE achievements today. Headlines on results day tend to focus on top grades and overall pass rates. It is important to recognise all achievements, however. Awards at all levels can represent a significant achievement for some learners, and can provide a foundation for further, lifelong learning.

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“Congratulations are particularly due taking into account the chaotic and piecemeal changes made to GCSEs in England (but not Wales or Northern Ireland) in recent years, often at short notice. When even the awarding bodies and exams regulator describe the situation as ‘volatile’ there should be considerable concern, especially for the young people whose futures are at stake.

"Today's headline national figures will also mask underlying issues which will only become clear over time. We must ensure that changes being made to our qualifications system do not unfairly disadvantage specific groups of students, including those with special educational needs or those from backgrounds of economic disadvantage. We must ensure we have a system which has high standards but which ensures all young people are able to develop and demonstrate their potential.

“The regulators and the Department for Education openly acknowledge that the ‘volatile’ nature of this year’s results means we need to be especially careful in making judgements about individual schools and colleges, teachers, school and college leaders and learners themselves when we compare this year’s results with those that were achieved in recent years. This underlines the flawed approach of rigid floor targets and forced academisation.”

“Once again it is important to note that the results this year are based on work from reception classes to last year’s Year 11. Teachers build on each other year on year and collaborate during years. That is why the whole idea of performance related pay based on a snapshot of what happened this year is not appropriate for the teaching situation and potentially leads to less co-operation and collaboration of the type which this year’s success is built on”.

Stover GCSE Results 2014

Pupils from Stover School are celebrating some wonderful GCSE successes, with 25% of all papers achieving A* or A grades and 75% being passed at grades A* to C. In a mixed ability school with a very active Learning Support department this is a fantastic achievement for all concerned.

Amongst the many individual success stories, those attaining top grades included Katie Tradelius (7 A*, 2A), Emily Bahous (3A*, 6A), Steph Trapnell (3A*, 5A, 1B), Jake Williams (2A*, 7A, 1B), Serim Park (2A*, 7A), Sydney Raynor (1A*, 6A, 2B) and Jamie Williams (1A*, 5A, 3B).

“It is extremely uplifting to see all the hard work and effort on the part of pupils and teachers rewarded with such outstanding results, and we celebrate the triumphs of those who have worked towards and surpassed their personal goals at all levels of achievement – as well as the tremendous results detailed above” said Acting Principal, Dr Jeremy Stone.

Westlands School, Torbay

Students and staff at Westlands School in Torbay are celebrating today after achieving 50% five A*-C grades including English and Maths in GCSEs, despite a predicted downturn in national grades.

The school’s headline results are 12% higher than last year and several subject areas have seen even greater improvements. Most notably, the school’s English Language grades have improved by 29%, with 86.9% achieving an A* to C grade (19% above last year’s national average), and 55% of students gained a C or above in both Maths and English. This heralds a turnaround for the school, which has seen big improvements since being put into special measures by Ofsted in September last year.

“These results are evidence of how the school has improved in so many ways since this time last year,” said Alex Newton, the school’s new Principal, “and my congratulations go to both the students that have worked hard to achieve these results and to the staff who have guided them through their studies and exams.”

In addition to the headline figures, the school also saw noteworthy improvements in other areas. Some of the highlights include:

• 87% A* to C in English Language – 29% above last year’s results

• 55% A* to C in Basics (Maths and English) – 16% above last year

• 78% A* to C in History – 43% above last year

The grades are a significant improvement on 2013’s GCSE results and come on the back of improved A-level results last week, which saw top grades up 7%.

“Over the past school year there has been an emphasis on delivering improved standards of teaching and staff have worked hard to raise students’ aspirations,” added Alex.

“This has given Westlands’ students the opportunity to realise their potential and focus their efforts to achieve better results.

“We still have a long journey ahead of us, but I’m confident that we are well on our way to transforming Westlands from an under-performing establishment into a high-achieving, academically excellent school.

“We've already set many of the wheels in motion, including new schemes to accelerate literacy and to closely monitor student progress, but this is just the start. We are also working in partnership with Ivybridge Community College, one of the most successful schools in the country, both in terms of its academic achievements and its extra-curricular provision. This is a school that has recently been rated 'Outstanding' by Ofsted, in all measures, for the fifth time in a row, and I will be liaising closely with the Principal, Rob Haring, to ensure that we're putting in place every possible measure for improvement".

City College Plymouth

There were celebrations at City College Plymouth this morning as students achieved an overall pass rate of 98%.

A 100% pass rate was achieved for maths, geography and sociology, and all students aged 19+ passed their GCSEs in English and maths.

Principal at City College Plymouth, Phil Davies, said: “I would like to congratulate our GCSE students on achieving such fantastic results. Students who study GCSEs at the College do so for a number of reasons; to re-take and gain better grades, to develop their career, and for interest as part of a lifelong learning programme.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the College staff for all their hard work in helping our students achieve this impressive pass rate.”

Mike Jones, Employability and Enterprise Manager at the College, said: “This is a crucial time for young people. It’s important they are aware that if they don’t get the grades they expected, help is at hand! The raising of the participation age does not mean young people have to stay at school, especially if they don’t achieve grade Cs for English and maths. They can work towards gaining these vital qualifications alongside a full-time course at the College.”

Lipson Co-operative Academy principal Steve Baker said: “With unprecedented interference to both courses and grade boundaries, the examination system was thrown into great uncertainty this year.

“Re-sits were banned, coursework eliminated and examinations made tougher. Against this turbulent backdrop our students did remarkably well. I am very proud of the efforts made by students and teachers who responded to this challenge with determination and resilience.”

The school has some of the city high achievers, including Aimee Lonsdale achieved 6 A*s in Chemistry, Further Maths, Geography, History, Mathematics and Music; 5 A grades in Biology, English, English Literature, French and Physics and also a GCSE in Art.

Alannah Lakey achieved 6 A*s in Chemistry, Drama, English, Geography, History and IT; 4 A grades in Biology, English Literature, Further Maths and Spanish; and B grades in Mathematics and Physics.

David Howard-Baker achieved 3 A*s in Art, Further Maths and Music; 7 A grades in Biology, Chemistry, French, Geography, History, Mathematics, Physics and B grades in English and English Literature.

Eleanor Mason achieved 7 A*s in Biology, Chemistry, English, French, History, Health & Social Care and RS; A grade in English Literature, B grades in Mathematics and Physics and a starred Distinction in BTEC Art.

Chloe Medway achieved 5 A*s in Biology, Chemistry, Further Maths, Health & Social Care and Mathematics; 2 A grades in History and Physics; 4 B grades in Drama, English, English Literature and Spanish and a starred Distinction in BTEC Performing Arts.

Connor Ruse achieved 3 A* grades in English, Further Maths and History; 6 A grades in Biology, Chemistry, English Literature, Film Studies, Mathematics and Spanish; B in Physics and also a starred Distinction in BTEC IT.

Samuel Collis achieved 9 A grades in Biology, Chemistry, Computing, English, Further Maths, Geography, IT, Mathematics and Physics; as well as further qualifications in English Literature and Spanish.

Chloe Van Schalkwyck achieved A*s in History and Music; 6 A grades in Biology, Chemistry, French, Further Math, Health & Social Care and RS; and B grades in English, English Literature, Maths and Physics.

Zhin-Wei Beh achieved A* in IT; 6 A grades in Biology, Chemistry, Computing, Further Mathematics, Geography and Mathemati cs; B grades in English, English Literature, French and Physics and a BTEC in Art.

Yad Mhammed achieved 3 A*s in Arabic, Chemistry and Further Maths; A grades in Biology, Geography, Mathematics and B grades in Computing, English, French, Physics and Resistant Materials and also a starred Distinction in BTEC Construction.

Begum Whitehead achieved 3 A*s in English, French and RS; 4 A grades in Biology, Chemistry, Geography and History and 5 B grades in Art, English, Further Maths, Mathematics and Physics.

For those now wondering what to do with their results, the Exam Results Helpline was open from 8am today to provide advice and support to students and their parents.

Careers advisers are ready to provide impartial guidance to students who are unsure of their next step.

John Carberry, a careers adviser who has worked for the service for over 25 years, said: “A lot of the young people we speak to often aren’t aware of any other options available to them apart from their school’s sixth form.

“In some cases sixth form isn’t the ideal progression for students, as the leap from GCSE to A-level studies can be significant and very challenging. That’s where we come in – to guide each individual on what’s best for them.”

Careers advisers at the Exam Results Helpline provide advice on subject choices at sixth form as well as information on other potential options for students, including local colleges that are available and apprenticeships in the area.

The Exam Results Helpline – 0808 100 8000 - has been open for six days and has already helped more than 5,000 students.

Mr Carberry said: “Some students who call the line are just simply confused. If they haven’t got the grades they were predicted to get or have done better than expected it can throw them off their plans. They want to talk things through with someone experienced.

“Anyone who is unsure of what to do next should give us a call.”

You can also call City College’s exams results helpline on 01752 305803 or go along to an advice and guidance session at the Kings Road site tomorrow between 10am and 1pm.

College staff will be available to offer advice about the range of courses on offer, including academic qualifications such as A-levels, work-related vocational qualifications, including national diplomas and apprenticeships, and higher education qualifications including foundation degrees and higher national certificates.

Trinity School, Teignmouth

Sophie Fischer was this year’s top performer at Trinity School in Teignmouth coming away with ten grades A* and one A.

Sophie has already excelled nationally in the UK Maths Challenge and her GCSEs have rounded off a superb year.

Close behind were Indi Davey and Evie Old with eight A*/A grades each and Sophie Hewes, Hannah Powe and Libby Roberts, each with seven. Best performing boys were James Pearson and Benjamin Wells, coming away with five top grades each.

Headmaster Tim Waters says “it’s been another very pleasing year, with over forty percent of pupils coming away with at least one A/A* grade. We have another great group of pupils moving up to Sixth Form and this year’s results have laid strong foundations for their future.”

Trinity is a non-selective school and their Academic Deputy Head, Wendy Martin, said “we are delighted that so many pupils have achieved well above expectation and made the very best of their abilities.”

South Devon College

Today's GCSE results are being celebrated at South Devon College, as learners enjoyed yet another fantastic achievement with a 99.7% pass rate across all subjects, including English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities and Social Sciences.

This ranked the College well above the national average, and was further confirmation of the College's status as a leading education establishment.

The College has a strong and varied GCSE provision, offering 10 core subjects, whilst providing and encouraging students to improve their previous grades in the essential skills of English and maths. This year the College celebrated an excellent 100% pass rate in both English and Science, with a 99% pass rate in Mathematics.

The 99.7% pass rate is complemented by a majority of learners achieving high grades (A* to C). After such success, students will now be progressing onto a range of advanced vocational qualifications or AS and A Levels at the College, where students last week achieved an outstanding 99.7% pass rate in all subjects.

Stephen Criddle, Principal of South Devon College, said "This is yet another great success for our students, and showcases fantastic achievements across all areas of the College. This follows on from exceptional results in our A Level Academy, at degree level and in vocational qualifications.

"Such success reflects the high quality of teaching and learning at South Devon College, which complements our extensive support services, enabling learners to achieve and excel in their career aspirations. I would like to congratulate all of our learners on their results today, and have no doubt that this will form the foundation for further success in their further education."

With an increase in the amount of GCSE exams sat, South Devon College's provision continues to grow; as well as enabling students to improve existing GCSE grades, South Devon College is now delighted to announce the opening of the South Devon High School, a new and exciting opportunity for students studying at GCSE level.

Pupils at the South Devon High School will have the opportunity to study GCSEs in core subject areas, with a choice of specialist technical pathways. This provision has been designed to develop skills valued by local employers, with the first cohort of learners beginning their studies in September 2014.

Blundell's school in Tiverton

Blundell’s students have produced another strong set of provisional GCSE results. In a year where nationally the A* grade has been predicted to fall, Blundell’s A* result has actually increased on the previous year, with nearly 20% of all pupils gaining this maximum mark. Similarly, almost half the grades achieved are at A*/A with 98% of all pupils gaining five A*-C.

The Head Nicola Huggett said: ‘These very pleasing figures are due to the hard work of the pupils who can be very proud of everything they have achieved and the dedication and commitment of the staff. I am particularly proud of the 27 pupils - a quarter of the year group - who have gained an impressive minimum of eight A*/A or higher."

Exeter School

Exeter School pupils, parents and staff are celebrating another round of consistently good GCSE results which have set two new records in excellence.

51.3% of all grades were A*, beating the School's record of 47.1%, and a record 82.5% were A* or A grades, compared to last year's 80.3%. 99.3% of grades were A* - C.

There were many high achievers across the range of 19 subjects with 71 pupils achieving eight or more A* or A grades.

Thirty-nine pupils scored 10 A*/A grades.

12 pupils scored ten A*s. These highest individual achievers included Pinhoe twins Christopher Richardson and Rebecca Richardson, August Aalto, Zoe Baxter-Sibley, Hannah Francis, Abby Pelling, Jamie Telford, Sam Thomas, Frankie Trelawny, Jasper Turner and Hannah Withers.

Ten A* pupil Rebecca German has won a coveted place at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama Junior Guildhall, a specialist Saturday school which offers advanced training in singing.

England cricketer Ben Green scored 4 A*s and 5 A grades. Ben managed to revise for his GCSEs while on tour with the U17 England cricket team in Sri Lanka over Easter. He has spent the summer playing for the England Development Programme, Devon and Somerset. He is currently playing against Pakistan in Leicester for the EDP. Next week Ben is playing for Devon in the Minor Counties Championships Final against Oxfordshire and in September he will be playing at Lord's for the England Schools Cricket Association.

Jamie Telford and Chris Richardson represented the School in the U16 National Indoor Hockey Championships which saw Exeter School retain the title for the second year running.

Sporty Abby Pelling and Rebecca Richardson reached the National Indoor Hockey Final in the School's U16 Girls' team. The academic pair were also runners up in a national competition organised by the Oxford German Network which they entered during their GCSE exams.

The majority of pupils, including these top scorers, are continuing their studies at Exeter School.

Headmaster Bob Griffin said: "I am delighted with this terrific set of results which are testament to the hard work and dedication of our pupils and teachers. I wish all our pupils every success as they continue on their academic journey."

Colyton Grammar School

Students at Colyton Grammar School have collected another strong set of results this year. With 100% of students achieving 5 or more GCSEs Grade A*-C (including English and Maths) , 76% of all grades obtained this summer where top A* or A grades.

The following students achieved A* grades in twelve subjects at GCSE: Emily Dodds (Sidmouth), Rosie Lester (Budleigh Salterton), Ellie Marok (Payhembury), Tom Orchard (Lyme Regis), George Piper (Cotleigh), Kate Ralph (Talaton) and Victoria Synek Herd (Seaton).

With A* grades in eleven subjects at GCSE were : Holly Loader (Bridport), Richard Chatterjee (Sidmouth), Jonty Eaton-Hart (Payhembury), Will Kerr (Ottery St Mary), Yazmin Reid-Linfoot (Exeter), Megan Smith (Woodbury Salterton), Harry Wright (Lympstone), and Lotti Budd-Thiemann (Woodbury).

Paul Evans, Headteacher, said: “This is a strong cohort who have worked hard to achieve a good set of GCSEs this summer. As predicted, there have appeared to have been changes to the award of the qualifications nationally but it is too soon to have a clear overview of the implications of this.”

“The assessment structure of these students’ GCSE English Language, for example, changed mid-course but despite this, 52% went on to achieve an A* in the subject, which was higher than last year.”

“Students are well placed to move on to study ‘A’ levels in the new term and we are looking forward to working with them. They should be congratulated on their achievements”.

WESC Foundation, The Specialist Centre for Visual Impairment in Exeter

Three learners from WESC Foundation, The Specialist Centre for Visual Impairment in Exeter, are celebrating after receiving their GCSE results.

The determined learners have faced more challenges than most, as they are all registered visually impaired, and they gained passes in Maths, Science, English, Leisure and Tourism, and PE along with thousands of other teenagers

Additional support is offered to help the learners through the exam process, such as extended time allowed and the use of technology. GCSEs still pose many challenges and both the learners and their teachers are delighted with their achievements.

Carolyn Hallett, the exams coordinator, says, “Our students have a lot to be proud of. Not only do they have to contend with visual impairment and other complex needs, but one of the students also has significant memory issues, making their collective achievements even more impressive. They have all worked really hard to overcome their individual battles and I wish them all the success for the future.”

An education at WESC Foundation, however, is about so much more than just academic achievement, as equally vital is the role the school plays in preparing the learners for a life after education. All programmes at WESC Foundation include the Core Curriculum and Specialist Curriculum options, putting emphasis on its Skills and Knowledge for Independent People (SKIP) programme, helping to support transition into the wider world and promoting independent living. This teaches learners how to use a cane, to navigate their surroundings, to have a daily routine and generally to deal with everyday tasks confidently and independently. Our GCSE learners Harryot, Ben and Will have all made enormous progress, and Will, who has cerebral palsy, has made great progress towards independent living with the help of WESC staff members.

WESC learner Harryot says: “We have had a lot of support from technology throughout our GCSE studies and I’m really excited to continue in September. WESC Foundation has really helped me to become more independent. We even went up to London for a theatre trip.”

Truro School

The 5th Year students at Truro School are ecstatic following some outstanding GCSE Results.

The extent of this year’s achievements is evident in that half of all grades awarded were A* or A, with one fifth at the top A* standard. This is three times the national average. Twelve of our students achieved eight or more A* grades while twenty three students achieved 10 A*/A or higher.

Octavia Copeland, who achieved 4 A*s and 6 As, said: “I think I expected to do well but it still feels amazing! I’m so happy because I did well in the subjects I’m studying next year and I have a twin at the school, Toby, who also did well so we’re really pleased. Toby and I are both staying at Truro School, and I am going to study Classical Civilisation, Religious Studies, English and Geology.”

Headmaster Andrew Gordon-Brown said: “Once again we have seen some excellent results at GCSE level and our pupils are understandably pleased. Over half of our departments were rewarded with more than 50% A*/A grade outcomes. Phoebe Piercy has not only topped our school tables with her 11 A* grades, but has achieved the highest mark in the country in Geology, proving for the second year running that the Geology department does indeed rock.”

Mr Gordon-Brown went on to say, “As our 5th Year students make final decisions about A Level options, they will take comfort from the fact that our value-added at A Level this year has been truly outstanding. I am delighted that so many of them are staying on to benefit from Truro School Sixth Form and will make the most of the amazing opportunities on offer both inside and outside the classroom. ”

Truro High School

There was a room full of happy people when students collected their GCSE results at Truro High School.

With 52% of all grades at A* or A and 76% A* to B, there was plenty of cause for celebration as the girls opened their envelopes – many of them watched nervously by family members.

Jemima Davison’s Mum, Julia Waterton-Gullick, summed up a lot of feelings when she tearfully hugged her daughter after discovering she had achieved 11A*s.

“I’m so relieved, so pleased and so very proud,” she said. “We’ll definitely be celebrating this evening.”

Jemima, from St Merryn, was equally happy.

“It’s absolutely fantastic,” she said. “I never dreamt I’d get results like these. It’s absolutely fantastic!”

Jennifer Handley, from Carnon Downs, was with her older sister Josie and Mum Judith Handley, when she found out she’d got 4 A*s, 6As and a B.

“She’s done brilliantly,’ said her mother. “I had every confidence in her but it’s still a huge relief.”

This year’s star performers included Lowenna Ovens, from Frogpool, who got 12 A*s, Mia Parnall, from Penponds, and Emily Westlake, from Truro, who, like Jemima, both got 11 A*s. Amy Purohit, from Zelah, Freya Martin, from Mount Hawke and Anna Gowenlock, from Cusgarne got 10A*s and 1A. Zahra Dalal and Lydia Pearse, both from Truro, got 9A*s and 2As. Anna Howe, from Lostwithiel, got 7A*s and 3As and Niamh Durkin, from Stithians, got 6A*s and 5As.

There was also an A grade in Astronomy for Year 9 pupil Lowenna Penny, from Portscatho, who has been studying the subject with school staff during lunchtimes and evenings and who came to open her envelope with her dad Tim.

“I’ve been reading books about the subject since I was very young,” she said. “When we had a school trip to the Roseland Observatory I became even more interested.”

New Headmaster Dr Glenn Moodie, who officially starts in his new role on 1 September, was on hand with Truro High staff as the pupils came in.

“Waiting for results is very tense – not just for the pupils but for their families as well,” he said. “There is nothing quite like the feeling that comes with knowing you have worked hard and achieved grades you’re pleased with.”

“The relief and joy today were tangible and I wish everyone continuing success as they move forward to the Sixth Form.”

Cornwall Council congratulate pupils

Cornwall Council has congratulated young people in Cornwall who have worked so hard at their GCSE courses.

Andrew Wallis, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said the achievements were a tribute to the hard work and commitment of both students and schools in Cornwall and praised the support provided by parents and carers. “I would like to congratulate everyone on their achievements” he said.

“All our schools are committed to providing the best quality education for their students and today’s results show that, once again, hard work has paid dividends. This is a very important time for these young people who will be making key decisions which will affect their future lives."

Also welcoming the success of Cornish students, Jane Black, the Council’s Head of Service for Learning and Achievement, said that the exams were an important stepping stone for young people in Cornwall. “I’m really pleased to see so many young people do so well in their GCSEs. We are still waiting for detailed results from a number of our secondary schools but anticipate that the picture here will reflect the national picture. We will be analysing the data from all our schools over the next few days when we will have a clearer idea of how they have performed”.

“The changes in the educational system mean that these young people will continue in learning or training until they are 18. However, this does not mean they need necessarily to stay on in a classroom. While many will choose to remain in full time education, such as a school sixth form or FE College, they can also opt for work based learning such as an apprenticeship or take part in part time education or training if they are employed, self employed or volunteering for 20 hours or more per week.

“The aim of the change is to give every young person the best chance to achieve and succeed” she added. “Evidence shows that taking part in education or training beyond the age of 16 offers young people the chance to develop the skills and qualifications that will open the doors to future employment, help them make the most of their potential and earn more over their lifetime.”

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