Norfolk’s dip in GCSE results reflected nationally amid reports of tougher exams

From left, Maisie Payne, Elise Limon, Jade Fairall, and Avneet Kular celebrate at Hethersett High Sc

From left, Maisie Payne, Elise Limon, Jade Fairall, and Avneet Kular celebrate at Hethersett High School where GCSE results were up from 43pc in 2012 to 57pc in 2013. - Credit: Archant 2013

Students across Norfolk have collected their GCSE results today, in what is reported to be one of the toughest years since the qualifications were introduced.

In Norfolk, provisional results show that 54% of pupils gained five A* to C grades at GCSE, including English and maths, compared with 55.6% in 2012 (a 1.6 percentage point decrease). This is a dip that is expected to be reflected nationally after reports of tougher exams in English, maths and science and a drop in A* to C grades overall.

Mick Castle, Cabinet Member for Education and Schools at Norfolk County Council, said: 'This administration has made excellence in education our foremost priority – redressing cuts made during the Big Conversation by providing additional investment* to support schools to improve.

'Students and teachers have put a huge amount of effort into these exams and deserve recognition for their work. The dip in performance appears to be a national one and reflects the government's drive to make the exam system tougher. However, we already had a significant task in Norfolk in supporting and challenging schools to raise levels of achievement and that focus will intensify with the additional funding we have made available. We will be unyielding in our efforts to support schools to improve.

'We have many good and outstanding schools in Norfolk and several schools that have posted significant improvements this year – despite these more challenging exams. Our focus now is to get these schools and teachers working with those that need extra help, sharing best practice to ensure that there is excellence across the board for Norfolk's children and young people.'

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Despite the overall dip today, several schools have posted significant improvements, including:

• King's Lynn Academy – a 10 percentage point improvement in the proportion of students achieving the gold standard of five A* to C grades, including English and maths (45pc in 2013, compared with 35pc in 2012).

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• Fakenham High School and College – up from 44pc in 2012 to 58pc in 2013, in the proportion of students achieving the gold standard.

• Hethersett High School – up from 43pc in 2012 to 57pc in 2013.

• Nicholas Hamond Academy, Swaffham, – up from the Department for Education's recorded figure of 19pc in 2012 to 46pc this year.

• Northgate High School – up from 50pc in 2012 to 59pc this year.

Sheila Lock, Norfolk County Council's new Interim Director of Children's Services, said: 'I am only in my first few weeks in post but it is already clear that those working in education in Norfolk are committed to pulling together to ensure that all of the county's students are achieving their very best.

'As champion of the county's children we must work to develop a strong local education system to ensure every student achieves their potential. We will look closely at today's results and challenge those causing us concern as a result of today's results.

'Our strategy is aimed at getting to know Norfolk's schools even better so that we can identify concerns at an earlier stage and intervene if necessary – moving more schools to good and outstanding status and raising levels of achievement across the board.

'Despite the tougher context, we know that all schools can and want to raise levels of achievement. We are determined to work with all of them to make this possible - sharing strategies for success and encouraging schools to work together for the benefit of all of Norfolk's students.'

For full coverage of today's GCSE results in Norfolk click here

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