I am immensely proud of our students today. They have demonstrated great commitment and hard work at a difficult time when GCSE syllabuses have been changing, exams have almost doubled in number and everybody except the government recognises that they have become too hard, especially for lower-attaining students, and are contributing in some extent to the mental health crisis facing today’s teenagers.
It’s really important to remember that students are not defined by their list of grades today; they, their parents and my colleagues all know that each individual has a wide variety of talents and qualities. The statistics take no account of whether a child is good at sport, is a young carer, is a talented actor, dancer or musician, has special educational needs, is passionate about the environment or human rights, has missed months of school through health issues, or is a loyal and supportive friend to others. Similarly, their lives and future prospects are not defined by the results, either; there are many examples of people who have made a phenomenal success of their lives without a string of top grades. Like all things, it’s a balance: as a Headteacher, of course I believe that GCSEs are important, and that a good set of results is a far better start in life than a poor set; but it’s not to the exclusion of everything else. Further, the league table mentality in education means that on days like this students who work like mad and over-achieve with a grade 4 can get overlooked when they deserve just as much praise. Each student’s results must be judged in their own context.
However, it would be equally wrong to downplay the excellent individual performances whereby able students have worked hard and achieved impressive results. Ellie Harris and Angel Justus both gained five grade 9s and four 8s among their results; Ellie, Angel, Daniel Madams, Becca Nisbet, Tom Raeder, Jaimee Slocombe and Charlie Sparkes each achieved nine grades 7-9 (equivalent to the former A*-A grades). Other students who achieved six or more grades 7-9 were Toni Baynes, Joe Blackburn, James Clark, Jasmine Daniels, Lauren Elliot, Maddy Knight, Ruby Martin, Jess Narramore, Chloe Somerwill and Sam Taunton. It’s also very pleasing that Grade 9s were achieved in twelve different subjects, which clearly shows that students can do well right across the board.
We can’t really compare our results with previous years as it’s statistically inaccurate because of all the changes. My feeling is that the class of 2019 will be broadly consistent with the last year or two, probably a little lower than last year, but we won’t know for sure until the Autumn. These are the headline statistics.
5 standard passes including English and Maths 60%
Standard pass (grades 4-9) in English 71%
Standard pass (grades 4-9) in Maths 65%
1+ grade 1-9 99.5%
No of candidates 175
7 students achieved nine or more grades 7-9
17 students achieved 6 or more grades 7-9
68 % of all grades achieved were grade 4 or better
20 % of all grades achieved were 7-9
It’s the students’ day, of course, but there are a lot of adults behind each child to whom I should pay tribute. Every year at the Open Evening for Year 6 pupils and parents I talk about the tripod, its three legs being student, parent and school; if one leg is defective the tripod/student wobbles. Therefore, parents and carers deserve a great deal of thanks for all the support (especially emotionally) you have provided for your sons and daughters. I must also thank my colleagues for their colossal efforts in teaching, guiding and supporting our students through the national changes and increased rigour. And I mustn’t forget our wonderful exam team, who run the incredibly complex exam process with great skill, which includes processing all the exam results in less than 24 hours and organising their smooth distribution; so a special mention to Rebecca Dominy (Exams Officer), Sara Parker and Penni Ball.
Daniel Madams and Jacob Broom
Charlie Sparkes and Barnaby Bilton