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GCSE Results 2017: “Phenomenal” results for Norwich schools despite tough conditions

PUBLISHED: 13:40 24 August 2017 | UPDATED: 07:56 25 August 2017

GCSE results day at Taverham High School. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

GCSE results day at Taverham High School. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

archant 2017

Heads at schools across Norwich and surrounding villages have praised their students and teachers for coping with a “difficult” new grading system amid dwindling resources.

GCSE results day at Taverham High School. Georgianna Lacey-Scane gets a celebratory hug. Picture : ANTONY KELLY GCSE results day at Taverham High School. Georgianna Lacey-Scane gets a celebratory hug. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

While those achieving top grades fell nationally, Norwich schools bucked the trend, most notably Hewett Academy, whose pass mark for English and maths shot up 20 percentage points from 34pc to 54pc.

Also improving on last year was Taverham High, up two percentage points to 71pc.

Carol Dallas, head of Taverham High School and chairman of Norfolk Secondary Leaders of Education, said it has been a “difficult” year.

“Teachers have been grappling with fewer resources and students are really motivated and want to do well,” she said.

GCSE results day at Taverham High School. Headteacher Carol Dallas. Picture : ANTONY KELLY GCSE results day at Taverham High School. Headteacher Carol Dallas. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

“They want to see samples of papers, and there are very few resources available for that.

“The students understand the system - what they don’t know is how employers or further education institutes are going to regard them. The concern is where it is going in the future.”

Head of maths Justin Gerrard said the results were “phenomenal” despite the exam being “more difficult with harder content”.

Pass marks in English and maths at Hellesdon High, meanwhile, fell by four percentage points to 64pc.

GCSE results day at Taverham High School. Left to right, Georgianna Lacey-Scane, Gabriella Taylor and Amelia Mickleburgh. Picture : ANTONY KELLY GCSE results day at Taverham High School. Left to right, Georgianna Lacey-Scane, Gabriella Taylor and Amelia Mickleburgh. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Head of school at Hellesdon High Mike Earl said: “Given the educational landscape and more difficult GCSEs we are delighted, actually. The students responded as best they can because they weren’t given any real guidance from the exam boards. Once again, the students have excelled themselves and surpassed all expectations.”

Among the 2017 cohort were some star achievers, including Amelia Mickleburgh, 16, of Taverham High, who got five A*s and A, two nines and a seven and plans to go on to university with the hope of becoming an astrophysicist.

“I didn’t expect to get nines because they were so hard compared to the old GCSEs,” she said. “When I came out I felt I did really badly . It was really hard because I was working as a gymnastics coach so I had to fit that around my revision.”

Twins Harry and Lily Carter, 16, are both going on to A-Levels after achieving all pass marks with no winner in their sibling rivalry.

GCSE results day at Taverham High School. Twins, Harry and Lily Carter. Picture : ANTONY KELLY GCSE results day at Taverham High School. Twins, Harry and Lily Carter. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

“I would say we are both pretty even, but we are both going on to GCSEs and hope to beat each other then,” said Harry. “We have been in the same set since Year 7. We like to spur each other on and help each other.”

Proof hard work pays off

Proof hard work and determination pays off, Gabriella Taylor of Taverham High gained pass marks across the boards despite missing a year of school with epilepsy.

The 16-year-old had been warned by doctors she may not complete her exams due to the severity of her seizures, but this morning she proudly opened a clean sweep of A*-C grades with pass marks above four in English and maths.

She said she was “ecstatic” as in many lessons she could only manage 20 minutes, having been diagnosed with a form of epilepsy last year.

“I can’t control it,” she said. “I was having fits every day, it was awful. In that situation you can’t catch up, it just takes a lot of work outside school.”

She is now preparing to take A-Levels in chemistry, biology and physics, with a view to becoming a dentist.

“The hospital were questioning whether it was a good idea to take the exams,” she said. “I wasn’t meant to take them this year but I was adamant.”

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