GCSE RESULTS ROUND-UP: Suffolk students rise to the challenge in new era of tougher exams
Students across the Suffolk Free Press region celebrated meeting the challenge of the first year of tougher GCSEs in all subjects, as they collected their results today.
Year 11 pupils learned if they made the grade this morning, following a more demanding exam season under a broader 1 to 9 grading system, with 4 as the new pass grade.
At Ormiston Sudbury Academy (OSA), 60 per cent of students gained a grade 4 or higher in English, while 53 per cent achieved the same feat in maths.
Across all subjects, almost 10 per cent of grades were in the top bracket of grade 9 or 8, A* or A, and Distinction * or Distinction.
Caroline Wilson, OSA principal, told the Free Press the results had not been affected by the increased exam difficulty, with the school’s sixth form set to take on a higher number of students compared with last year due to their successes.
“I am delighted for all the students who have worked so hard to reach their goals and achieve these results,” she said.
“I would also like to thank our dedicated staff and parents for all of their hard work and support, which made this possible.”
Among the high-performing students was Bertie Barthropp, who earned five grade 9s, three 8s and three 7s, and will return to the school to study five A-levels.
His results were made more impressive by the fact that he moved to the school from France at the start of the year 11 - having learned a different curriculum abroad, he was forced to complete two years of GCSE work in just one year.
“It was really hard work in the beginning. I had lots of coursework to do, but it went well over the rest of the year,” he said.
“I am really happy with how I did. I was pleasantly surprised.”
Grace Bareham, who received two grade 9s, three 8s and three 7s, praised the school for all the support it had provided.
“I think the teachers have had a big impact,” she said. “Without them, I would not have done this well. That’s part of the reason I’m staying on for sixth form.
“Some of the exams, I thought were quite hard. When I came out of some of them, I had no idea how it had gone. I didn’t think I would do so well.”
In Great Cornard, Thomas Gainsborough School hailed this year’s results as its “best ever”, with 70 per cent of pupils attaining a pass grade in both maths and English.
This pass rate represents a 9 per cent increase for the school year on year.
Headteacher Wayne Lloyd said: “We are delighted with these results. I would like to congratulate the students on their excellent performance.
“It is a fitting reward for their hard work and the dedication and the support that they have received from their teachers.
“This year group were the first to join us as Year 7s in 2013 and have proved to be an absolute credit to the school and their families from first to last. We look forward to welcoming over 120 of them back into our sixth form in September.
“We expect high standards at TGS and will continue to work tirelessly to ensure the highest possible outcomes for all our students into the future.”
Hadleigh High School also celebrated a strong set of results, with 63 per cent of English and maths exams marked as a grade 4 or above.
Headteacher Caroline Gibson said: “Students have attained these results through hard work, persistence and a determination to succeed.
“They have been fully supported by a dedicated team of staff in a time of significant changes to GCSE examinations. We are proud that our pupils are in a strong position for the next exciting phase of their learning.”
In Clare, Stour Valley Community School posted a similar pass rate of 62 per cent in maths and English.
Richard Smith, chairman of governors at the school, said: “We are delighted at these results, which show continued strong progress especially in light of the new and stretching curriculum.
“Such amazing results don’t happen by accident but are achieved through an enormous amount of hard work and dedication.
“Huge thanks go to the teachers at Stour Valley, who have relentlessly navigated their way through the new GCSE courses, and to the students themselves.
“We wish them all the very best for a happy and successful future.”