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GCSE RESULTS: Schools record major improvements in A*-C grades
Buy this photo » Wallingford School pupils, Will Vowell and Imogen Reay, both 16, got eight A*s and two As and six A*s and four As respectively Picture:OX 61381 Kevin Harvey
DIDCOT Girls School and Banbury Academy posted some of the biggest improvements countywide.
At the two state schools, the proportion of children achieving five GCSEs at A* to C including English and maths rose by 14 and 16 percentage points respectively.
That means 71 per cent of pupils at Didcot Girls are making the Government’s benchmark passrate, and 65 at Banbury School.
Wallingford School looks set to be the top-performing state school in Oxfordshire for a second year running.
This year, 76 per cent of the pupils got A* to C grades, the same as last year.
Headteacher Wyll Willis said: “We’ve done extremely well. We had a fantastic year last year and we thought we might struggle to match it this year but in fact we’ve got exactly the same result.
“Given the national results we must have upped our game significantly.
“We would expect to be in the top 10 per cent nationally.
“All the young people and their families deserve a tremendous amount of credit for buying into a culture of high achievement.”
Abingdon School saw more than half of its exams marked at A*, while over 71 per cent of exams at Magdalen College School were at the top grade.
Twenty two boys at Magdalen had 10 or more A*s.
King Alfred’s Academy, Wantage, was also close to the top of the table, with 73 per cent of pupils achieving the benchmark.
Among the individual high achievers was Oxford’s St Gregory the Great student, Chinedum Echeta, who achieved 2 A*s, 6As and an A* in A-Level maths. Chinedum, who lives in Williamson Way, Rose Hill, started A-Level maths in Year 9. He said: “I’m particularly pleased with my A* in A-Level maths and also my two As in GCSE English language and literature.
“I remember I had seven exams in the first week which was really stressful but it got better after that.”
Didcot Girls’ School’s Jessica Streets was ahead of the rest.
The 16-year-old from Wallingford got the best results out of 192 students taking exams at the school.
She scored 10 A* grades and three A grades and is now planning to study A-Levels at the school in physics, chemistry, maths and geography.
She said: “I’m delighted.”
At Matthew Arnold School, Cumnor, results were also up, with 80.1 per cent of pupils achieving five A* to C grades and 68.1 per cent with five A* to C including English and maths. Headteacher Katherine Ryan said results were eight percentage points better than last year and 11 students had scored straight As and A*s. She said: “We are really pleased we have made a big step up on last year’s results. Everyone has worked really hard.”
Lydia Carter, 16, from Longworth, scored four A*s, five As, two Bs and two Cs. She said: “I am really happy and relieved.”
And Gareth Moore, 15, of The Garth in Botley, said he was “elated” with his eight A*s and four As.
The highest proportion of children achieving the English Baccalaureate – at least five A* to c grades including English, maths, the sciences, a language and history or geography – was at Chipping Norton School, closely followed by Oxford’s The Cherwell School, with 44 and 43.9 per cent of pupils respectively.
National results show biggest fall in grades to date
NATIONALLY, fewer GCSEs were awarded at least a C grade this year, fuelled by a rise in the numbers of pupils sitting exams early and multiple times.
Just over two-thirds (68.1 per cent) of entries scored A*-C, down 1.3 percentage points from 2012 – the biggest fall in the exam’s 25-year history. It is the second year running that the pass rate has fallen. The proportion of entries gaining top grades also fell by 0.5 percentage points – with 6.8 per cent achieving a coveted A*.
The dip in national results came amid a major upheaval in the exams system, with more pupils entering maths GCSE early or multiple times, changes to science GCSEs and an increase in pupils taking international GCSEs in certain subjects contributing to the falls in performance.
Exam board chiefs warned that sitting exams more than once – especially in maths – was doing “real damage” to education. They said there was “limited educational benefit” to pupils sitting
GCSEs in the same subject many times, and suggested that “perverse incentives” were encouraging schools towards multiple and early entry to ensure that pupils secured crucial C grades or higher in maths and English.
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