Celebrations as students buck trend with improved English GCSE results
SECONDARY schools in South Devon are bucking the national trend with improved English results in this year's GCSEs.
Several of the Bay's nine state-funded schools and colleges and many in the South Hams said their results were up on last year in core subjects especially English.
Mark Eager, headteacher of Brixham College, said: "We have continued to raise standards and the result has been a further increase in our performance.
"Once again the college has achieved its best-ever results. Both staff and students are delighted.
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"It also appears that we have bucked the national trend if it is true that results have dropped nationally in GCSE English.
"In our core subjects of maths and English pass rates have increased."
A record 57 per cent of students achieved five or more passes at A*-C including English and mathematics which is the figure that is increasingly being seen as the main measure of school effectiveness. 78 per cent of the 206 Year 11 students achieved five or more A*-C grades at GCSE including English and maths.
Mike Morey, chairman of governors, said: "These results are a credit to the students and a testament to the dedication, hard work and effort."
Students at South Devon College also bucked the national trend with 100 per cent pass rate across the board including in maths, English and science.
The college offers nine GCSE subjects.
College principal Stephen Criddle said: "The college continues to build on its success year-on-year, with great GCSE and vocational results following on from our recent outstanding A-level results.
"It reflects the high standards of teaching and learning available at South Devon College.
"I would like to pay tribute to all the staff and students who have worked so hard to achieve such outstanding results."
Staff and students at Paignton Community and Sports College were similarly celebrating their best GCSE results ever with 79 per cent of the 233 students who took the exams achieving five or more A* -C grades and 45 per cent achieving five or more C grades including English and maths.
The top A star grades were to be found in maths, science, English literature and sociology BTEC equivalent to GCSEs also saw some good results.
"Sport, performing arts and music all saw the top distinction grades in these qualifications."
College principal Jane English said: "We were optimistic that these would be excellent and it is pleasing to see that all the hardwork and dedication put in by both staff and pupils has produced an impressive set of examination results.
"Well done to everyone including parents who have played a big part in this years success."
Charlie Webber, deputy headteacher at Churston Ferrers Grammar School, said: "Ninety-nine per cent of our students achieved five A* to C grades including English and maths. 60 per cent of the entries were A* or A."
Torquay Girls' Grammar School saw 100 per cent of pupils achieving five A* to C grades including English and maths with 73 per cent of all grades either A* or A.
Headteacher Dr Nick Smith said: "This is yet another fantastic set of results; the result of our talented and hard-working students being expertly taught by our talented and hardworking staff.
"Particularly noteworthy were the 34 girls who achieved all A*/A grades and the girls who succeeded whilst overcoming personal issues.
"This completes the fifth straight year in a row that our results have risen."
However, Cathy Gilfillan, headteacher of St Cuthbert Mayne secondary school in Torquay, said she was 'frustrated and angry with the goalposts shift' in terms of marking which had left 10 per cent of her GCSE students with a D grade when they would have got a C grade last year with the same amount of work.
She said: "We have students who have done amazingly well. and received six A/A* grades.
"We have a 45 per cent pass rate in five A to C grades which would have been well over 50 per cent if the goalposts had not been moved inexplicably. "
Meanwhile, GCSE results at KEVICC in Totnes have soared by 13 per cent making them the best ever.
The percentage of students gaining five or more of the top A* to C grades including English and maths went up from 51 per cent last year to 64 per cent this year.
The percentage of students gaining five A*-C grades also went up to 77 per cent.
Results in maths rose by 13 per cent from 59 to 72 per cent this year. And the number of departments recording very strong performances with over 90 per cent A* to C grades in their particular subject was spread across the school including chemistry, biology, physics, art, religious studies and media studies.
KEVICC principal Kate Mason said: "This is our best-ever performance and that is down to improvements in the quality of teaching and learning, very careful monitoring and tracking of students' performance, raising expectations and aspiration and very hard work on the part of students and staff."
The number of students from Dartmouth Academy achieving the key benchmark of five or more A* to C GCSE grades rose to 93 per cent, up from 68 per cent in 2011 — a 25 per cent increase.
This is the second year in a row Dartmouth Academy has posted a record score for this measure.
Maths saw big improvements jumping from 32 per cent achieving A* to C to 59 per cent in 2012.
Science saw a similar jump: from 42 per cent of students achieving two A* to C grades to 85 per cent.
The academy also enjoyed a 10 per cent rise to 40 per cent on five A* to Cs, including English and maths.
Principal Nick Hindmarsh said: "I am particularly pleased with our results in maths and science, which have seen big jumps — showing the changes we brought in during the last year have had the positive effect we predicted.
"We now shift our focus to continuing this progress to achieve even more in the coming year."
Gill Battye, headteacher of Torquay Community College, said staff and pupils ought to be congratulated for their hard work after the school enjoyed much improved GCSE results.
The headteacher said A* to C results had improved by 14 per cent on last year to 80 per cent and 100 per cent of students left the school with at least one qualification.
She said: "We have had very good results. They are much improved on last year. I'm very pleased."