GCSE RESULTS: Pupils rise to the challenge after tougher exams
Pupils rose to the challenge with strong GCSE results following a tougher exam system.
Nearly all GCSEs have been graded under the new numerical system to better distinguish between the highest performing pupils.
Nine is the highest grade, one is the lowest, four is a standard pass and five is a strong pass.
The key performance measure is the percentage of pupils achieving grades four or above in English and maths.
At St Benedict's Catholic School, in Bury St Edmunds, of the 136 pupils who sat GCSEs, 67 per cent gained the benchmark.
Headteacher Kate Pereira said: "We are very pleased with our GCSE results at St Benedict's.
"Well done and congratulations to all students and thank you to our talented staff and supportive parents who helped to prepare them.
"The hard work has paid off."
Of the 234 pupils at County Upper School, in Bury St Edmunds, 74 per cent gained grade four or above in English and maths.
In English, 71 per cent of grades were at five and above and in maths, 59 per cent received a five.
Headteacher Vicky Neale said: "This year saw massive changes to GCSE and we are delighted that, right across the ability range, our students have done so well.
"In English, 71 per cent of grades are at five and above and in maths, 59 per cent got a five.
"The new seven, eight, nine grades make up almost a quarter of our grades and just under half of all students achieved the most challenging qualification, the full English Baccalaureate.
"Very, very few students nationally will have achieved a grade nine and so we especially congratulate Clare Hole and Wilf Harvey who achieved this in nine subjects, Daniel Garcia-Leon who secured it in eight subjects and Logan Pyle whose excellent overall performance included six grade nines.
"All these pupils pursue a range of other interests supporting our view that an all-round education produces better results than a narrow focus on examinations.
"These superb results, following last week’s excellent ‘A’ level performance, crown another hugely successful year for County in and out of the classroom.
"Once again, I thank the staff who do such an excellent job and congratulate all the students: they certainly deserve to celebrate their achievements today.”
Of the 306 pupils at King Edward VI School, in Bury St Edmunds, 76 per cent achieved four or above in English and maths - an increase of eight per cent from last year.
Headteacher Lee Walker said: "We are thrilled with this terrific set of results, which are eight per cent higher than last year’s.
"This achievement is a credit to our students and staff, all of whom work incredibly hard.
"It is great to be part of this very special school, and to know we’ve made a real difference for these highly talented young people.
"We are hugely grateful to parents and carers who provide essential support and play such a crucial role throughout the journey.
"Results are very strong across so many of our subjects, and we are delighted that our students have embraced our core value of aspiration so wholeheartedly."
Top achievers included James Gilbert with nine grade nines, a grade eight and an A in Latin taken in Year 10; Martha Williams with eight grade nines and two As including statistics which she took in Year 10 and Nicole Mulholland with five grade nines, three grade eights and two As including statistics in Year 10.
There was also Mamie Michael with five grade nines; two grade eights and three grade sevens; Gabriella Piper with four grade nines, four grade eights and two A*s and Sophie Skidmore with five grade nines and three grade eights, a grade seven and an A.
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At Thurston Community College, 318 pupils sat GCSEs with 63 per cent scoring grade four or above in English and maths.
Principal Helen Wilson said: “Congratulations to our students and staff, who have worked so hard in the face of huge turbulence in the examination system this year, to achieve such fantastic results.”
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At Ixworth Free School, of the 37 pupils who took GCSEs, 62 per cent achieved grade four or above in English and maths.
Headteacher Mark Barrow said: “It is great to see that students of all abilities have achieved better than expected progress.
"Students should be extremely proud of their hard work, particularly in traditional academic subjects like triple science where all candidates achieved a grade seven or above.
"I’d like to congratulate our students, teachers and parents for their dedication and commitment.
"We wish them every success as they move on to the next stage of their education in a position of great strength."
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Maddie Coombes, of Bardwell, is dreaming of becoming a globe-trotting travel writer or journalist after achieving five grade nines including double science, as well as three grade eights and a grade seven.
She is heading to Hills Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge.
“I can’t believe these results are mine,” she said.
“All my hard work has paid off – I’ve been revising since Year 9.
"Ixworth Free School has been absolutely great with their support, I went to every revision class during the holidays and weekends. I revised so hard and gave up socialising and not getting distracted by social media.
"In my future career I can see myself travelling around the world and writing about historic places, or perhaps being a journalist as I’ve always been interested in that.”
Her mum Suzanne added: “I’m so proud of Maddie. She worked so hard, but you never know how it’s going to go on exam day.”
A dream career in science is now a huge step closer for Ixworth Free School student Ed Harley.
The 16-year-old, of Great Barton, achieved three grade nines in chemistry, physics and history, as well as three grade eights, three grade fives, an A* and an A.
He said: "I’m over the moon with my results. It’s much better than what I expected. The support from Ixworth Free School was amazing, all of us really reaped the benefits of the extra revision and study sessions.
"The government has done a lot to promote STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths), it’s so important to encourage more people into STEM careers. I’ve always had a natural interest in STEM subjects and it is definitely a future career option for me."
Ed was awarded a scholarship at Woodbridge School to study maths, further maths, physics, and chemistry.
Ixworth Free School’s top performer, Lizi Bolton, achieved six grade nines, one grade eight and an A*.
She is also heading to Hills Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge to study maths, further maths, physics and chemistry at A-Level.
At Mildenhall College Academy, 175 pupils sat GCSEs with 54 per cent gaining grade four or above in English and maths - with 70 per cent reaching the benchmark in English and 61 per cent in maths.
Principal Susan Byles said: "I have never known a cohort of students work so hard in preparing to take so many exams.
"The students have done incredibly well, matching the achievements of last year’s cohort who only had to take the new GCSEs in English and maths.
"This cohort sat the new GCSEs in every one of their subjects and the students were exhausted by the time they completed all of the examinations in the series.
"Their results do them credit."
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Among the notable successes were Bianca Willis, who achieved 10 GCSEs at grades nine to four with grade nine in English Literature, grade nine in Spanish and grade eight in English Language; Tom Canham, James Garry and Josef Zamichowski all achieved 10 GCSEs at grades nine to four with grade nine in maths and
physics; Rogan Parker achieved 10 GCSEs at grades nine to four with grade nine in maths and grade eights in chemistry and physics.
When I consider everything that these young people were having to cope with I am full of admiration for the results they achieved - Susan Byles
Some students at Mildenhall College Academy also triumphed over adversity including Cain Shipp who made the greatest progress out of all students, despite suffering a bereavement during the exams. He achieved eight GCSEs at grades nine to four, with a grade seven in history and A* in finance.
Jessica Talbot and James Garry both underwent major surgery in the time leading up to the exams.
Jessica achieved 11 GCSEs at grades nine to four with grade nine in dance and grade seven in both English and English Literature.
James achieved 10 GCSEs at grades nine to four with grade nines in Maths and physics.
Michael Geary, who had to have a reduced timetable due to the pain he experienced from a long standing medical condition, achieved nine GCSEs at grades nine to four.
Mrs Byles added: "When I consider everything that these young people were having to cope with I am full of admiration for the results they achieved.
"Their resilience and perseverance is second to none.
"Well-deserved congratulations go to all of our students."
At Stowmarket High School, 140 pupils sat GCSEs and 70 per cent of pupils gained grade four or above in English and maths - compared to 59 per cent last year.
Outstanding individual performances included Sophie Butel with six grade nines, one distinction, a grade eight and two grade sevens; Chloe Ainger with three grade nines in maths, biology and chemistry, an A* in business, A* in IT and grade eight in physics; Lorna Brown with three grade nines in maths, biology and physics, an A* in graphics and grade eights in chemistry, French and English and Nell Devlin with three grade nines in maths, chemistry and French and grade eights in biology and physics.
“The GCSE results at Stowmarket High this year are everything we had hoped for this exceptional cohort of students,” said headteacher Dave Lee-Allan.
He said: “We always knew with the right guidance and support this year group could do extremely well, and they have met our aspirational targets, so we are of course delighted for the entire community.
"This year group had such cohesion, energy and positivity, it really was a pleasure working with them.”
Of the 165 pupils who sat exams at Stowupland High School, 58 per cent gained grade four or above in English and maths.
Headteacher Wendy Baster said: "We are delighted with the achievements of our students and share the excitement as they begin for the next phase of their education.
"Congratulations to Year 11 students and their families.”
She added that a number of students including Zoe Balaam, Alice Crawford, Ria Fergusson, Benjamin Grogan, Christopher Gourlay, Catrina Lloyd, and Rachel Parker 'performed superbly' gaining sevens and above across a wide range of subjects.
"We also have students whose progress is quite exceptional including Crystal Beckett, Lewis Brough, Jasmine Elkin, Ella Erith, Kirsty Oliver, Shannon Parsons, Lucy Ray, Josh Rhodes, Leigha Studd and Amy Waters who deserve particular congratulations," she said.
Of the 182 pupils at Thetford Academy, 42 per cent achieved grade four or above in English and maths.
Principal Dan Carter said: "Since joining the academy I have been very impressed with the dedication of our students and staff, and we have seen that in many results - particularly in languages where 50 per cent of pupils received a grade seven or higher in Spanish, alongside strong results in French, Portuguese, and Polish. "Several students got the new top grade nine in multiple subjects, including Holly Scott, Skaiste Ivanaviciute, Milda Siauciulyte, and Mollie Hammond."
At Iceni Academy, in Methwold, 102 pupils sat GCSEs with 66 per cent gaining the grade four or above English and maths benchmark.
Principal Stephen Plume: "This is a great set of results and absolutely deserved by our hard working students.
"Supported by our enthusiastic staff and parents, Year 11 really have sustained their effort all year and are now seeing the rewards for their determination.
"We are particularly pleased with the increase in the number of top grades being awarded."
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At IES Breckland, in Brandon, 77 pupils sat GCSEs and 62 per cent gained grades four or above in English and maths.
Principal Alison Tilbrook said: "We're particularly pleased with our mathematics results, where 74 per cent of students achieved a grade four or higher (a 17 per cent improvement on last year).
"English results remain strong at 70 per cent of students achieving a grade four or above.
"Eighty per cent of our students achieved a grade four or above in two sciences and 70 per cent of students who sat a language attained a grade four or above.
"Another highlight is the progress made by disadvantaged students at the school who, for the second consecutive year, has been superb – leading to outcomes comparable to those achieved by all students at the school.
"We are proud of all of our students’ outcomes, especially Jasmine who achieved 10 GCSEs at grade seven or above including a coveted nine in science, Jack W, Alexandra, William, Jade and Emily who also secured outstanding GCSE results."
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Of the 71 pupils at Culford School, 93 per cent achieved grades four to nine.
Headmaster Julian Johnson-Munday said: “These results are excellent, particularly the value added across the range of abilities.
"We are also delighted with the high number of top grade levels achieved by many of our pupils.”
At Thetford Grammar School, 25 pupils sat GCSEs with a 100 per cent pass rate and 96 per cent of pupils gained five nine to four grades including maths and English.
Headmaster Michael Brewer said: "In amongst excellent results are many stories of individual successes, with pupils accomplishing the highest possible personal goals.
"It is a pleasure to share in these journeys and to see the positive impact that attending Thetford Grammar School has had on pupils’ attainment.
"These results are a testament to the determination and diligence of our pupils, to the care and guidance of their families, and to the expertise of their teachers."