December 10 2013 Latest news:
Friday, August 16, 2013
For thousands of students across the region, their A-level results were the culmination of two years of hard work, and most schools reported that students hoping to go to university secured a place.
But for schools and colleges themselves, yesterday painted a mixed picture, with more Norfolk schools seeing their proportion of the top A*-C grades fall than rise.
Of the county’s schools who provided the information, 15 saw A*-C grades fall, while nine saw them rise. Four were unchanged.
These results reflected the national trend, which saw the proportion of grades at A or above fall for the second year running. In total, 26.3pc of entries scored an A or A*, down from 26.6pc last year.
Kevin Stannard, director of innovation and learning at the Girls’ Day School Trust, a group of private girls’ schools said: “A pupil’s results should not depend on which year they sat the exam in, which subjects they studied, and which exam board’s syllabus they followed.”
The fall in top grades came as more students opted for traditional subjects such as science and maths, although the number taking languages, aside from Spanish, fell.
Ian Clayton, headteacher of Thorpe St Andrew High School, said while straight-A students still got the top grades, a number of good students on the borderline missed out by a few marks, and the school would be asking for a lot of exam papers to be re-marked.
He said: “I think the anecdotal evidence is that grade boundaries are being tightened up, whatever is being said.
“It’s not fair to compare. You can’t compare year on year, and that’s the difficultly, and it makes it more difficult further on for youngsters. But if they get the grades they need to go to university that’s a stepping stone, and if they get a good degree it won’t make a difference.”
Melvyn Roffe, principal of Wymondham College, said he did not have confidence in how exam boards marked students’ papers, citing students at the college who were given E grades in English in their AS-levels but received A*s in their A-levels yesterday.
He said: “A-level results are things you carry around with you for the rest of your life. For most of our students, it’s their way to get to university. But the difference in an A* and a B, for example, going into a job interview, could be quite significant, and I currently have no confidence that for many, many subjects, consistently, exam boards get even that major difference right.”
Norfolk County Council said that, based on the average total point score per student used in national performance tables, the figure for Norfolk students was the same as on results day last year.
Mick Castle, cabinet member for schools, said: “I would like to congratulate thousands of Norfolk students who are celebrating their A-level, AS-level and vocational qualification results today and commend them on their hard work and dedication. This sort of success is very much a team effort, so as well as praising our young people we should also pay tribute to teachers and parents.”
South West Norfolk MP and education minister Elizabeth Truss welcomed the increased take-up of maths and science, and said: “These subjects are not just fascinating and worth studying for their own sake – they are also the ones which open up modern, hi-tech careers and are most in demand by employers and universities. This is good for the economy and will help the UK compete.”
For information about local apprenticeships, jobs and other vacancies aimed at 16 to 19-year-olds, see www.helpyouchoose.org. The National Careers Service has careers advisers available from 8am to 10pm on 0800 100 900. Norfolk County Council’s NEET helpline is on 0344 800 8022 (option 1) from 10am to 4pm.