John Stephens, CEO of Bright Futures Educational Trust shares his thoughts on this year’s GCSE and equivalent results.
There’s nothing like being part of GCSE results days. Amongst students, parents and carers you see a mix of emotions that are also mirrored in the staff that have been on the journey with those students. There are always tears – usually of joy and, occasionally, of disappointment, but there’s no doubt that this is a pivotal moment in the lives of those whom we serve helping them to decide their next steps.
This year we have seen the new and more challenging specifications introduced in almost all subjects, so even seasoned teachers of GCSE in some subjects would not have known exactly what the expected standards at each grade would look like. Once again, however, the students at Altrincham Grammar School for Girls have achieved excellent GCSE results with 36.1% of all entries attaining the ‘exceptional’ Level 9. This really is a remarkable achievement with some subjects achieving over 80% level 9s! We should never take exceptional results like this for granted. They are the outcome of so much dedicated hard work over a number of years.
The picture at South Shore Academy is not what we had hoped and have worked hard for. Improvements in the headline English and maths results are modest from a low base last year. There were of course some very positive individual successes and good outcomes in a number of subjects such as business (100% pass), PE, RE, IT (100% pass), physics, chemistry and biology. Indeed, physics results increased by 38 percentage points on last year with chemistry improving by 21 percentage points and biology by 20. It was particularly pleasing to hear of the successes of a student that had endured many significant challenges but had, even so, achieved well in English and maths. We all were pushing hard for faster and more significant improvements this year in English and maths so it is disappointing for everyone that we are not yet seeing the impact of all the work that has gone into the school. We need to undertake a very careful analysis of the results and determine how our approaches need to be strengthened to drive much needed and sustained improvements.
At Cedar Mount Academy the provisional results are indicating that the significant rise last year in the number of students achieving a pass in English and maths has been maintained; indeed, it may be that this year’s cohort has exceeded the previous ‘best ever’ results. Equally pleasing has been the significant rise in the number of students achieving a ‘strong pass’ (grade 5+) in English and maths with lots of top grades across all subjects. This shows that improvements in recent years are beginning to embed and provide strong foundations for even greater successes in the future. There have been some excellent outcomes in particular departments including sciences, humanities and modern foreign languages.
I’m sure you will join me in wishing all our GCSE students the very best for their futures and in thanking our staff, our governors and trustees, parents/carers and all those who have supported our young people in any way on their journeys.