Report by Jonny Bonell and Geoff Berkeley
HUNDREDS of students in the city were celebrating another excellent crop of GCSE results despite fears from some headteachers over “volatile” grades.
Teenagers across Worcester woke up with a knot in their stomach this morning (Thursday) as they prepared to pick up their envelopes.
RGS Worcester saw some of the city’s best achievers with 96.4 per cent of students obtaining five or more A* to C grades.
A total of six pupils came out with ten or 11 straight A*s and 26 youngsters secured all A* and A grades, but headteacher John Pitt said he believed the changes to the exam boards had harmed this year’s and future GCSE results.
“It is difficult to interpret GCSE and IGCSE results at the moment since Examination Boards have warned of “volatile” results this year,” he said.
“We are pleased with our results which are much in line with expectations, and we should congratulate the pupils for their hard work and commitment as well as the staff who have gone the extra mile for them.
“I do feel that pupils over the next few years are in a rather difficult position of being unable to measure their performance against any benchmark, especially given they will be competing for the same jobs as those who have gone through the exam system already.”
Claire MacLean, principal of Tudor Grange Academy, said it was also an anxious day for teachers due to a raft of changes to the marking system. But she said was delighted to report that 66 per cent of her students achieved A* to C in English and 61 per cent in Maths.
“We are pleased that English and Maths held up because we were worried about turbulence as we were likely to be hit by only counting first entry,” she said. “But we do feel confident as a school that we have made the right decision for individuals regardless of that.”
Neil Morris, headteacher of Christopher Whitehead Language College, which secured an overall pass rate of 54 per cent with five or more A* to C grades and 98 per cent A* to G, added: “We had 12 students who have got A* across the board, which is stunning, yet our English results once again are a bit alarming.
“I feel they have taken a bit of a dip and I feel sorry for those students who are going to be compared to students of previous years on what is clearly a different playing field.”
It was also a record-breaking year for Nunnery Wood High School.
A total of 68 per cent of students achieved the benchmark of five or more A* to C grades which was the Spetchley Road’s site highest ever figure and a six per cent improvement on last year.
Headteacher Alun Williams said: “We are absolutely delighted with this year’s results and to have achieved these record figures in the national context of tougher GCSE exams is fantastic.
“Our students have worked really hard for these results and they thoroughly deserve their success.”
St Mary’s Worcester, who shut their doors for the last time this summer, bowed out in style with a pass rate of 94 per cent and 100 per cent of pupils receiving at least 5 GCSE’s graded A* to C.
One of the star achievers Penny Brearley, who received 11 A*s and one A, said: “I am so proud of the results I have gained, I couldn’t have asked for a better GCSE experience. I am so thankful to all of the teachers as I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Gary Stokes, head of upper school, said: “I am extremely proud of the students and their excellent results are a true reflection of the hard work and sacrifices made, as well as the fantastic support of their teachers.
“Congratulations to the girls for all their hard work from their proud teachers at St Mary’s, we wish them the very best of luck for the future.”
Elsewhere, Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College saw pupils secure a pass rate of 67 per cent, with nine per cent of Year 11’s getting ten A* to A grades.
Headteacher Sean Devlin said: “Overall, it’s a very pleasing set of results specifically given the changes in examination format.
“A tremendous number of students have achieved beyond expectations and forecast grades which is testimony to the massive hard work of the teachers, they put so much in this year helping the students.”
The nervous tension quickly turned into joy for students at Bishop Perowne CofE College where 41 per cent of our students achieved at least one A* or A.
Katy Fellows, 16, was one of the high achievers at the Merriman’s Hill Road school as she scooped nine A* grades and one A.
“I’m very pleased and surprised,” she said. “I didn’t think I was going to do that well.”
Kings School also celebrated their GCSE results after 61 youngsters achieved an A* or A in nine or more subjects. 38 per cent of passes were at A* grade.