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New figures show progress rates for our A-level students

A-level figures released by the Department of Education have revealed which schools and colleges came out on top in 2019.

Thetford Grammar School was ranked highest with a progress score of 0.45 – well above average.

Amanda Faye, deputy headteacher said: "We are immensely proud of our students; they work incredibly hard to achieve fantastic results. We believe that their determination combined with our small class sizes and dedicated teaching staff results in pupils that are able to always achieve their potential, and in most cases surpass it."

The progress score shows how much progress students made between the end of key stage 4 and the end of A-level, compared to similar students across England.

The Thetford Academy. Picture by Mecha Morton.
The Thetford Academy. Picture by Mecha Morton.

The Thetford Academy scored – 0.44 which is below average.

Dan Carter, principal, said: “We’re committed to Thetford children. In the past we have opened our doors to sixth form students who might not have met the entry requirements elsewhere, but are full of ambition. We want children to be able to access their next step in education locally.

“Our teachers and students work incredibly hard. More of our students are going on to study at good universities and this year some have been offered places at Cambridge. Investing our time and energy in Thetford’s young people is paying off. But we aren’t complacent – we constantly want to improve.”

St Benedict’s Catholic and King Edward VI schools, in Bury, Culford School, and Thurston Community College all achieved above average scores.

Imogen Senior, headteacher at St Benedict’s Catholic School, which received a 0.35 score, said: “These figures highlight the strong progress that students make in their time with us. We know that learning is a journey and we believe our students’ education, built on the core values of compassion, wisdom and resilience, helps them not only to secure the progress we have seen here but also prepare them for a future of continued success.”

Lee Walker, headteacher at King Edward VI School, which received a score of 0.15, said: “We are delighted that the hard work of our students led to such positive outcomes for them.Their results are a testament to the dedication of staff members who supported them on a pastoral level in and out of the classroom.It is heartening that these young people left us in the summer feeling confident and ready to embark on the next stage of their lives.”

Helen Wilson, headteacher at Thurston Community College, which received a progress score of 0.14, said: "We are delighted that the performance tables reflect the above average progress of our students in line with the other top sixth forms in Suffolk. In addition, Thurston Sixth students who stayed on to study in Year 13 made progress in line with the top 10 per cent nationally. Although we are mindful that this type of data should always be understood in context, it is further evidence of the many high quality sixth form experiences young people have in our county."

Stowmarket High School and County Upper School, in Bury both received below average scores.

Vicky Neale, headteacher of County Upper which received a -0.21 score, said: “Our results are considerably above average from a wide ability range of students.Most importantly, across the ability range, 90 per cent of those students moved on to the destination of their choice, including five to Oxbridge colleges and five to prestigious higher level apprenticeships. The DfE has confirmed an error within our published results but we know that from key stage 2 to A-level, our students make very strong progress.”

The Bury Free Press contacted the Department of Education about any errors in County Upper's results and they said they were 'not aware of any issue with this institution’s results'.

Dave Lee-Allan, headteacher at Stowmarket High School, said: "After improving results for a number of years, for a couple of years we've had some more challenging results. I am disappointed with that figure but we have had a number of students joining the school mid-year because people have recognised our aim of improving - this doesn't help your figures. Factors like that contributing. We have been achieving average grades for a number of years in a row. These students were from the closing middle schools - we've been particularly damaged by that process.

"We recognised we're a rapidly improving school but we could always see that this was coming. It's disappointing but everyone seems to believe in us because our numbers continue to rise quite rapidly."

Mildenhall College Academy, Stowupland High School and Finborough School all received average progress scores.

Steven Clark, headteacher at Finborough School which received a progress score of -0.22, said: "We are deeply proud of what has been, as the data suggests, a very small group of outstanding young men and women. All of whom have excelled, achieving their chosen excellent university places and progressing with great character to the successful next stage of their lives, studying wonderfully diverse degree subjects, from Medicine to Law and much in-between.

"Every one of our sixth formers enjoys a bespoke programme encompassing academic and character development, guided individually by their tutor to ensure success and best progression beyond school life.

"With the significant growth of our school in recent years we look forward to continued success as we ensure that ‘better never stops'.

"The published national analysis provides a statistical figure that unfortunately does not represent the full extent of our rich academic and wider curriculum our students enjoy at Finborough both at 16 and 18.

"The outstanding young adults who are part of our Sixth Form at the top of the Finborough Family devour all and great opportunities on offer to them."

Peter Whear, headteacher at Stowupland High School, which received a -0.05 progress score, said: "The Sixth Form at Stowupland High School is at a very exciting stage in its development. Construction work on the new dedicated Sixth Form centre is well underway. Staff and students are very excited about the prospect of moving into the building in September. In terms of academic achievement, A-Level results in 2019 showed an improvement on the previous year. Overall, students' progress was at least in line with that made by students across the country. We anticipate further strong improvements this summer."

A full list of the progress scores is available on gov.uk

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