PUPILS in Henley and South Oxfordshire bucked the national trend with their GCSE results.
PUPILS in Henley and South Oxfordshire bucked the national trend with their GCSE results.
Most of the schools in the area equalled or bettered their records despite the national pass rate falling for the first time in the exam’s 25-year history and the proportion of A* to C grades dropping for the second consecutive year.
Across Oxfordshire, an estimated 60 per cent of candidates achieved the key benchmark of five A* to C grades including English and maths, compared with just under 58 per cent last year.
At Gillotts School in Henley, 72 per cent of 171 pupils achieved grades A* to C including English and maths, equalling the school’s best ever result, set last year.
Ninety per cent of pupils achieved five or more passes at grades A* to C, four per cent lower than last year.
A third of all grades were either A* or A and 37 per cent of pupils achieved five or more A* or A grades.
Headteacher Catherine Darnton said: “Over recent years we have seen a marked improvement in results at Gillotts and we are delighted that this year’s have taken us forward again to a new high, particularly in terms of grades A* and A, as a consequence of the commitment and hard work of the students and staff.
“Set against the national picture of moves to prevent grade inflation, these are really outstanding results.”
Many of the year 11 students arrived at the school to pick up their results on Thursday last week in wellingtons as they were en route to Reading Festival.
The school’s top performing pupils were Amy Lovell and Lara Wirt, who each achieved 10 A*s and three A grades, and their names will be added to a board in the school reception displaying the highest achievers.
Both girls are to study for their A- levels at the Kendrick School in Reading.
Amy, 16, of Lowfield Road, Sonning Common, said: “I was really nervous before I opened the envelope but I was so happy when I found out how I had done. I had hoped to get all A*s but was worried about English because of the controversy about the marking.”
She is to study A-level maths, biology, chemistry and French and plans to read medicine or biomedicine at university.
Lara, 16, of Northfield End, Henley, said: “I didn’t really know what I was going to get, mainly because I didn’t think the exams had gone particularly well so I was so happy with my marks.”
She will study English literature, biology, chemistry and history.
Stephanie Barnes, 16, from Whitchurch Hill, will also be going to the Kendrick School after achieving nine A*s and three A grades. She will study biology, chemistry, history and maths.
She said: “I wasn’t expecting to do this well at all.”
Matthew Tillyer and Kai Agnew, both 16, were the school’s top- performing boys and will now study for their A-levels at Sir William Borlase Grammar School in Marlow.
Matthew, of Berkshire Road, Henley, achieved eight A*s and five A grades. He said: “I did better than I thought I would in some subjects and worse in others. I’m looking forward to going to Borlase but I am going to miss the teachers and my friends from Gillotts.”
He will study German, maths, economics and chemistry.
Kai, of St Luke’s Road, Maidenhead, achieved eight A*s and two A grades. He said: “I was a bit nervous before getting the results but they were what I was expecting. I’m off to Reading Festival just to round the day off — I’m really happy.”
Kai, who will take A-levels in further maths, physics, chemistry and German, said he wished there was the option to stay on at Gillotts.
Anna Peters, 16, from Binfield Heath, will also attend the Marlow school after achieving nine A*s and two A grades.
She said: “It was quite exciting to find out how I had done because I felt like I had been waiting for so long.”
She will study biology, chemistry, maths and history at A-level.
Twins Bryony and Will Walker, of Bramston Close, Shiplake, will both study A-levels at Reading Blue Coat school after surpassing their target grades.
Bryony, who achieved five A*s, five As and one B, will study biology, chemistry, geography and classics.
Her brother, who achieved seven A*s, three As and a B, will take maths, further maths, economics and government and politics.
Bryony said: “I was happy because I didn’t think I would get as many A*s as I did. I’m really pleased to have got A*s in my A-level subjects.”
Students at Langtree School in Woodcote set a new school record with 79 per cent achieving five or more A* to C grades, six per cent more than last year.
Sixty-two per cent achieved five or more A* to C grades including English and maths, compared with 51 per cent last year.
Forty-one per cent of the 108 students were awarded five or more A* or A grades, the fourth consecutive annual increase.
Imogen Asquith, from Henley, scored 12 A* grades. Nina Webb, Ella Tepper, Elliott Glass, Matthew Walsh, Georgia Smith and Harry Wickens achieved seven or more A* grades.
Headteacher Rick Holroyd said: “The real success has been with the more able students — they’ve done staggeringly well.
“All the students have worked exceptionally hard to get these very impressive results and we are delighted for them.”
Pupils at Highdown School and Sixth-Form College in Emmer Green achieved the school’s highest ever pass rate, with 74 per cent of the 213 candidates achieving five or more A* to C grades, two per cent higher than last year.
Sixty-four per cent of students achieved five or more A* to C grades including maths and English, equalling the record set last year. Just under a third of students who sat the exams obtained five or more A* or A grades.
Six students scored all A* and A grades. They were Amy Jenkins, David Langridge, William Underwood, Djuna Mount, Maytal Psarra and Anna Mills, all from Emmer Green and Caversham.
Twenty-six per cent achieved the English Baccalaureate, which is awarded to pupils who score a C or higher in English, maths, a science, a humanity and a modern language.
Headteacher Rachel Cave, who took over the role in April, said there was “a lot of shrieking and whooping”.
“Lots of pupils have turned up in their wellies and will be going straight back to the festival after they’ve picked up their results,” she said.
“They had a good soaking because of the rain during the night but they’re so happy that they just don’t care.”
Ella Saunders, of Derby Road, Emmer Green, achieved two A* grades and nine As.
The 16-year-old, whose mother Helen teaches maths at Chiltern Edge School in Sonning Common, will stay at Highdown to study A-level maths, English, drama, psychology and an extended project.
She said: “The grades were much better than what I was expecting. I got moved down to foundation level French and had to get a tutor because I wasn’t predicted to do very well, so to get an A is great.
“I think everyone has done pretty well. I’ve seen lots of people smiling and haven’t seen anybody crying.”
Icknield Community College in Watlington achieved record results for the second consecutive year with 55 per cent of pupils achieving five passes at A* to C including English and maths, a one per cent increase on last year.
Sixty-five per cent of pupils achieved five or more A* to C grades, nine per cent less than last year.
Every one of the 137 pupils achieved at least one GCSE with 99 per cent securing five or more.
Headteacher Mat Hunter said: “We are pleased that we have been able to improve on our best ever results and extend our congratulations to the many students who have achieved their personal bests.”
Tom Brock, of Church Meadow, Watlington, was among the highest achievers, scoring six A*s and three A grades.
“I’m really pleased,” he said. “I got the grades I wanted and I’m looking forward to sixth form next year.”
He will study for his A-levels at Wallingford School.
Tom Edrop, 16, of Chestnut Place, Watlington, achieved four A*s, four As and a B.
He will study A-levels in biology, geography, law and English literature and language at The Henley College.
Tom said: “I’m going to enjoy my summer now.”
Rowan Howe, 16, of Passey Crescent, Benson, was awarded two A*s, two As, four Bs and a C grade.
He will study A-levels in maths, chemistry, biology and physics at The Henley College.
Rowan said: “I wasn’t really that nervous as I thought I had performed well in the exams.
At the Piggott School in Wargrave 70 per cent of the 177 students achieved five passes at A* to C including English and maths, a nine per cent rise on last year.
Eighty-two per cent achieved five passes at A* to C grades, two per cent less than last year. Thirty-one students achieved eight or more A* or A grades and 17 pupils scored at least 10 A* or A grades.
Headteacher Hilary Winter said: “These results are a reflection of the hard work, determination and commitment of all our staff, students and their parents. I am delighted that so many of our students are returning to continue their education in our sixth form.”
At Chiltern Edge School in Sonning Common, 77 per cent of the 125 students achieved five or more A* to C grades, two per cent less than last year.
Sixty-six per cent of students achieved grades A* to C including English and maths, the same as a year ago. There was a four per cent increase in the number of A* grades achieved.
Headteacher Daniel Sadler said: “I am delighted with the results. They reflect five years of hard work by the students, highly effective teaching from our staff and excellent support from parents. Our year started with a very positive Ofsted report and has finished on another high.”
Sonia Kleshcheva, 16, of Abingdon Drive, Caversham, achieved an A*, four A grades and five Bs. She will study A-level French, English language, art and philosophy at Leighton Park School in Reading. Sonia said: “I’m so happy. I’ve been waiting so long for this.”
Lizzie Langer, 16, of The Horse Close, Emmer Green, achieved five A grades, two Bs and Cs. She will study A-level philosophy, psychology, drama and English literature at The Henley College.
She said: “I’m going to college in September and I’m hoping to become a primary school teacher.”