Students and teachers at Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School are celebrating today as news of this year’s GCSE results are published.
This year sees a further roll out of the reformed examination system that started last year with the three subjects of English Language, English Literature and Maths.
The roll out now extends to most other subjects – although several will retain the A* to G grading for another year, resulting in a confusing mixture of number and letter grades!
The new system scores from a high of 9 down to a low of 1 (rather than the traditional A* to G range).
The government and Department for Education (DfE) specified that the new GCSE syllabuses will include more challenging and knowledge-based content, with exams only at the end of courses.
It is widely reported that the grade 7 is equivalent to the previous A grade and grade 4 broadly in line with a low grade C – although this isn’t an exact equivalent.
The government will publish schools’ results, not just at the ‘standard pass’ (grade 4 and above), but also at the ‘strong pass’ (at grade 5 and above) in school performance tables only.
The number of students achieving a ‘strong pass’ will be one of the measures by which schools are judged.
The grade 9 is expected to be achieved by only a small percentage of students and is intended to score above the previous A*.
This, together with changes in content and rigour, makes a direct comparison to previous years impossible.
HCCS is very proud of its results this year, in spite of the changes.
81% achieved between grades 9 to 4 in English Literature, with 79% in English Language and 87% in Maths.
In addition, an impressive 74% of students achieved five or more GCSEs at grade 4 and above including in Maths and English.
This year’s students are celebrating their success in studies across the spectrum of 25 different subjects.
The overall pass rate at grades 9 to 4 was 84%. 80% of students achieved grades 9 to 4 in both Maths and English.
Six subjects achieved a pass rate of more than 90% at grades 9 to 4 including all the sciences:
The students’ success doesn’t stop there, with subject pass rates at 9 to 4 scoring above 80% in Spanish (83%), German (85%), Maths, (87%), English (81%), Art (88%), and PE (85%).
Pass rates were over 75% in Drama, Computer Science, English Literature, Geography and History.
In subjects using the legacy grading system of A* to G, higher level (A* to C) pass rates of more than 75% were seen in Business studies, Film Studies, Resistant Materials, Systems and Control and Information Technology.
HCCS says these results clearly demonstrate the outstanding success of students across a broad curriculum and is a testament to the hard work and commitment of the students and their teachers.
Eight students at the school achieved 7-9 across the board, but that’s not the only measure of success.
As a testament to the qualities of perseverance, determination and ambition, 21 students from across all abilities achieved one grade or more above what was expected in five or more of their GCSEs.
Five of these dedicated students achieved higher than expected grades in almost all of their examination results.
At the highest end of achievement at GCSE, six students achieved 5 or more of the top grades of 9 or A* with one student achieving an astonishing clean sweep of grades 9 and A* in all subjects.
Denis Oliver, executive headteacher, was quick to praise the students and staff at the school.
He said: “This is a well deserved set of results for everyone associated with the school.
“I would like to thank all of the staff, parents, governors and, most importantly, the students themselves, for the role that they play in making our school into the magnificently successful learning environment that it is.
“My heartfelt congratulations go to our students who never cease to amaze me with their enthusiasm, ambition and drive together with a real thirst for learning.”
He added: “We knew that students would need additional support with the more challenging and knowledge-based content, with exams only at the end of the course.
“So over the past two years we have made changes to the way that we support students to help them to get the best out of their study time.
“That extra support has been well received and appreciated. Looking at the results, the extra well structured time put in by students and their teachers appears to have paid off.
“It is important to remember that for most students today is about putting the plans in place for their next steps in their lifelong learning journey in terms of academic or vocational training.
“Most of the students celebrating today will, of course, continue their studies at our Sixth Form College and staff have been on hand all day to assist with the enrolment process.
“They will also help those students who will continue their education and/or training elsewhere.
“All have been part of our school community/family and we wish every one of them every success for the future.”