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Tuesday, 20 February 2018
SCHOOLS in the Henley area have recorded another good set of GCSE results despite a tougher marking system being introduced this year.
The traditional grade boundaries for English and maths of A* to G have been replaced by a numbered system, with 9 the highest mark available and 1 the lowest.
The system, which will be expanded to other subjects next year, means the top marks of A* and A are now split into three grades, 9, 8, and 7, while the pass grades of B and C are now 6, 5 and 4.
It also puts more emphasis on final exams and less on coursework, while the top grade of 9 is now more difficult to achieve than the old A*.
At Gillotts School in Henley, 82 per cent of students achieved grade 4 or above in English and maths, while 68 per cent achieved grade 5 or above.
Last year, the percentage of students achieving the comparable grade C and above in English and maths was 87 per cent and in 2015 it was 77 per cent.
The percentage of students with a pass or higher in all of English, maths, two sciences, a language and a humanity was 49 per cent, more than double last year’s national average of 24 per cent.
In English language 26 per cent of students achieved a grade 7 or better, compared with 32 per cent who achieved an A* or A last year, while the percentage achieving the same score in maths was 33 per cent compared with 30 per cent last year.
In biology, chemistry, physics, history and geography, more than 33 per cent of passes were A* or A grade.
Seventeen per cent of students achieved eight or more A*s or As, up from 16 per cent last year, while 31 per cent achieved five or more, also a point higher than in 2016.
Students crowded outside the school hall ahead of the results being handed out on Thursday morning and many shed tears of joy when they opened their envelopes.
Hannah Beales, 16, from Peppard Common, was awarded 9s in English literature and English language and an 8 in maths as well as A*s in biology, chemistry and physics, A grades in music, religious studies and art & design and a B in Spanish.
She will go to The Henley College to study biology, chemistry and art at A-level.
Hannah said: “I’m surprised but so happy. I wasn’t expecting this with the new grading system. I was so nervous, I was up at 6am looking at all the grade boundaries.”
Kitty Pilgrim-Morris, 16, from Shiplake, achieved 9s in maths and English literature, a 7 in English language, A*s in German, religious studies, dance, biology, chemistry and physics and A grades in additional maths and drama.
She will study maths, English literature and dance at Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School in Marlow.
Kitty said: “I’m probably most happy with the A in additional maths because we did that after school as an optional subject and I taught myself a lot of it.
“I got up really early this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. I held the envelope for about 10 minutes because I wanted everyone else to open theirs first.
“My mum was really happy. My sister got four A*s at A-level last week so we are a happy family.”
Nancie Bowley, 16, from Gallowstree Common, achieved 9s in maths, English literature and English language, A*s in PE, religious studies, geography, biology and chemistry and A grades in German and physics.
She will now attend Kendrick School in Reading to study maths, biology, chemistry and geography.
Nancie, who celebrated by attending the Reading Festival, said: “I’m shocked, it’s so much better than I was expecting. I haven’t stopped crying — when I opened the envelope I thought I’d got the wrong one!
“I let my sister look at them first and she said I did okay. When I saw the 9 in maths I didn’t look at anything else, I was so happy that I started crying.”
Daniel Henderson, 16, of Greys Road, Henley scored a 7 in maths, a 6 in English literature and a 5 in English language. He was also awarded two A grades, four Bs and a D. He now plans to take A-levels in maths, German and history at The Henley College.
“I’m pretty happy but I feel like I should have done a bit better in physical education,” he said. “I was a bit nervous but quite relieved when I knew I’d got what I needed.”
Max Wermann, 16, of Deanfield Avenue, Henley, achieved a 9 in maths and 8s in English literature and English language. He was also awarded an A* and five A grades.
He said: “I’m very happy and very relieved. I was pretty confident about all of them but English was a surprise.”
He will take his A-levels at Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School.
Sophia Hahn, 16, of Meadow Road, Henley, scored a 7 in both maths and English language and a 6 in English literature as well as six A grades and a B.
“I’m pretty happy,” she said. “I think maths is probably the result I’m most proud of.”
She will study chemistry, biology and psychology at A-level at Shiplake College.
Oscar James, 16, of Gillotts Close, Henley, achieved a 7 in maths, a 6 in English literature and a 5 in English language as well as two A* grades and five A grades.
He will now take his A-levels at Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School.
“I’m pleased with everything but English language,” said Oscar. “I was hoping for at least a 6. I’m very pleased with the rest of the results.”
Oliver Beaumont, 16, of Chiltern Road, Peppard, was delighted with his 9 in English language and 8s in literature and maths.
He was also awarded five A*s, one A grade and a B and will now take A-level history, politics and economics at Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School.
He said: “I didn’t think I’d get a B in Spanish so I was pleasantly surprised.”
Nikita Gurung, 16, of Simmons Road, Henley, achieved a 7 in maths and a 6 in both English literature and English language as well as four A*s, four B grades and a C.
She said: “I was really, really nervous because I thought I’d failed maths and English because of the new GCSEs but I’m happy now, especially with the maths.”
She will take A-levels in maths, economics and history at The Henley College.
Headteacher Catharine Darnton, who was presented with flowers by some students, said: “Over recent years we have seen a marked and consistent improvement in results.
“We are delighted with this year’s results, which will confirm us as one of the consistently best-performing schools in Oxfordshire.
“This is a consequence of the commitment and hard work of the students and staff. I am very proud of all that the students have achieved and would also like to recognise all the support that students have received from their families. These results come about through successful collaboration between students, teachers and parents.”
At Chiltern Edge School in Sonning Common, which was put into special measures in April after being rated “inadequate” by Ofsted, 78 per cent of students passed English, with 11 per cent getting the top 9 score, and 70 per cent passed maths.
Across performing arts subjects, such as dance and drama, 75 per cent of students gained A* or A grades.
When students went in to collect their results at the school the walls were decorated with congratulatory messages.
Koolanna Momoh, from Caversham Park Village, who was there with her mother Angela, was one of the highest achievers with three A*s, three A grades, a 9 and an 8.
She said: “I am so, so surprised. It was a lot of hard work, particularly with English. I’m now going to Farnborough Sixth Form College.”
Edward Beal, from Caversham, was awarded two A*s, four A grades, a B and a C as well as a 9 and a 7.
He said: “The results are mostly what I was expecting. I was slightly annoyed about getting a B in my geography exam.
“I’m going to The Henley College to study computer science, maths, further maths and ancient history but I might change that to physics.”
Isobel Lusted, from Sonning Common, achieved one A*, five A grades, two 8s and a 7. She said: “I thought I was going to fail so now I’m really happy. I’m going to The Henley College and then to university, hopefully to study English.
“I revised really hard for my English exams and was hard on myself. I wasn’t sure if I was going to pull it off so I’m really happy.”
Owen Attree, from Sonning Common, achieved an A grade, two Bs, four Cs and a 7 and two 6s.
“I did better than I thought I would,” he said.
Hamish Andrews, also from Sonning Common, was awarded two A grades, two Cs, two Ds and a 7, 5 and 3. He said: “I got what I needed to study creative media design at The Henley College, which is what I wanted.”
Headteacher Moira Green, who was appointed to turn the school around, said: “These results are a testament to the hard work and dedication of both staff and students.
“Chiltern Edge has been through a difficult time recently. Looking forward to the new academic year, we have the foundations to move rapidly back to ‘good’ and to resume our status as the school of choice for our community and a place of educational excellence.”
At Langtree School in Woodcote, 76 per cent of pupils achieved five or more passes at A* to C, including English and maths, compared with 75 per cent last year. This equals the school’s record, set in 2014.
Eighty-two per cent of pupils achieved at least five A* to C grades and 77 per cent passed maths and English. Of all grades, 26 per cent were A* or A and 79 per cent C or above.
Nine students achieved the new 9 score in English or maths.
Hamsi Evans, from Goring, was the school’s top performer, achieving three 9s as well as five A*s and an A grade.
“I’m so relieved,” she said. “I was so nervous I hadn’t planned ahead or thought about celebrating.”
Isabel Carr, from Woodcote, acheived only A*s and A grades as well as two 9s and an 8.
She said: “I’m ecstatic. I thought I was going to fail some of the exams so I’m really happy.”
Both students will go to the Downs School in West Berkshire to study for their A-levels.
Hamsi hopes to train to become a doctor while Isabel wants to become a book editor. They will be joined by Charles Norman, from Whitchurch, who achieved five A*s and A grade as well an 8 and two 7s.
Charles, who will study geography, biology and chemistry at A-level, said: “I’m really proud with how I’ve done and was not expecting to get this number of A*s. I stuck at my revision and it does take a lot of stamina to keep going with it.”
Friends Lucas Palmer, Jodi Bain and Luke Forrester, all from Woodcote, planned to celebrate at Reading Festival after picking up their results.
Lucas was awarded three A grades, three Bs, two 7s and a 6.
He said: “I’m pleased with that. It’s what I expected for the amount of work I put in.”
Luke said he was surprised but pleased to receive two A grades, three Bs, a 7 and two 6s.
Headteacher Rick Holroyd said: “Our headline attainment figures match the very best results the school has ever achieved and to achieve this in a year when the pass rates have fallen nationally is extremely impressive.
“I am so pleased for so many of our students, who will now be able to progress to post-16 education with confidence. Yet again, the staff have worked tirelessly and I am extremely grateful and appreciative of all the extra effort they have put in.”
At Highdown School and Sixth Form Centre in Emmer Green, the number of students achieving five A* to C grades, including English and maths, was 73 per cent compared with a record 75 per cent in 2016.
Frances Patrick, from Caversham, was among the school’s top performers with seven A*s, an A grade, two 8s and a 7.
“This was a lot better than I was expecting so I’m really, really happy,” she said.
Frances will go on to Kendrick School in Reading.
Lauren Patrick, from Caversham, was awarded five A*s and three A grades, two 9s and an 8,
She said: “I think I managed it because I put in a lot of hard work and our teachers were really helpful and supportive.”
Ewan Harris, from Caversham Heights, secured four A*s, four A grades, two 9s and a 6. He said: “I’m really happy with my two 9s as that puts me in the top few per cent in the country. It feels like I have done better than an A*.
“My A-levels are going to be in maths, chemistry, biology and Mandarin. Those are my favourite subjects.”
Szymon Wolszleger, from Emmer Green, achieved an A grade, four Bs, two 6s and a 5.
He said: “I’m very happy. I’m staying on here to study psychology, biology and geography.
“I’m hoping to go on and study psychology at university as it’s my favourite subject.”
Will Peer, from Caversham Heights, attained three A grades, three Bs and a C as well as two 6s and 5. “I’m very pleased that I passed as many as I did,” he said. “I’m now heading to Farnborough College to study economics, biology and geography.”
Callum Rodger, from Caversham, managed a top grade 9 in maths as well three A*s, three A grades, a B and a 6 and 7.
He said: “I’m very, very pleased with how I have done. I’m staying here to study maths, physics and chemistry at A-level.”
Headteacher Rachel Cave said: “Our year 11 students are celebrating an outstanding set of results this year.
“With new, more challenging qualifications in English and maths, we are delighted that more than quarter of the grades are at the top 7 to 9 levels.
“Again, a third of our students achieved the English Baccalaureate. This measure was harder to achieve this year, so this represents another step forward.
“Overall, again, 73 per cent of students achieved good passes in English and maths and three other subjects.”
At the Piggott School in Wargrave, a record 86.5 per cent of students achieved five A* to C grades, including English and maths, compared with 78 per cent last year.
The combined English and maths pass rate was 88 per cent, while there was a 100 per cent pass rate in biology, chemistry, physics, Chinese, computer science, electronics and photography.
There was also a 100 per cent pass rate in vocational courses and performing arts. Harman Sondh, 16, from Knowl Hill, achieved eight A*s, 9s in English literature and English language and an 8 in maths.
He will stay on to study chemistry, biology and history in the sixth form.
Harman said: “It’s a huge relief to find out that all the hard work I put in has paid off. My mum was very proud.”
Kier Wills, 16, from Charvil, achieved six A*s and two A grades and scored 9s in maths and English language and a 7 in English literature. He hopes to stay at the school to study computing, French and another subject he has yet to decide.
Kier said: “The results are definitely better than I expected. I woke up super early and couldn’t get back to sleep so it’s a huge relief.” Francesca Boonham, 16, of Park Lane, Wargrave, achieved seven A*s and an A grade as well as a 9 in maths, 7 in English literature and 5 in English language.
She will stay on to study maths, chemistry and physics at A-level.
Francesca said: “I’m very pleased. It’s a relief to get it out of the way.”
Amy Babington, 16, from Charvil, was awarded one A* in art, four A grades and an 8 in English literature, 7 in maths and 6 in English language. She will study biology, English language and art at A-level.
Amy said: “I did so much better than I thought I was going to. I was so scared and didn’t know what to expect so I’m really happy.”
Headteacher Derren Gray said: “Our students and staff work exceptionally hard and this is evidenced once again in this year’s results.
“The huge majority of our students will be returning to study at our sixth form, together with a significant number of external candidates.
“I thank all the teaching and support staff for their continued hard work, dedication and professionalism. I congratulate all our students on their richly deserved success.”
At Icknield Community College in Watlington, 72 per cent of students achieved five or more A* to C grades, down two percentage points on last year.
Seventy-four per cent passed maths, up from 72 per cent in 2016, and 79 per cent passed English, compared with 86 per cent last year.
Among the top performers were Gabriella White, who achieved eight A*s, two 9s and a 6, Lukas Rodda, who was awarded six A*s, two A grades, a 9 and two 6s, and Katie Dunbar, who achieved five A*s, two A grades and three 6s.
Headteacher Mat Hunter said: “I am delighted that so many of our students across the ability range have achieved so well across such a wide range of subjects.
“Many congratulations to all our students who have achieved individual success through their sheer hard work and determination. My thanks also to the staff and parents who have supported them so well.”
31 August 2017
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