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Schools say GCSEs ‘true reflection’ as pass rate surges

PUBLISHED: 17:29 20 August 2020 | UPDATED: 18:34 20 August 2020

Lynn Grove Academy Gorleston, Students get their GCSE results. Picture: Brittany Woodman

Lynn Grove Academy Gorleston, Students get their GCSE results. Picture: Brittany Woodman

Archant

Pupils celebrated GCSE results as the number of students awarded top grades surged to record high after a U-turn meant results could be based on teachers’ estimated grades amid cancelled exams.

Students at Norwich School receive their GCSE results. 

Picture: Keith WhitmoreStudents at Norwich School receive their GCSE results. Picture: Keith Whitmore

Thousands of youngsters across Norfolk and Waveney received their GCSE results following major changes - but around 200,000 Btec pupils will not get their final results following a last-minute review of grades.

More than one in four (25.9pc) GCSE entries scored one of the three top grades this year, up from just over a fifth (20.7%) last summer, figures from exams regulator Ofqual show.

MORE: GCSE results 2020 - All of the results from Norfolk and Waveney

GCSE results day at Smithdon High School. Picture: Ian BurtGCSE results day at Smithdon High School. Picture: Ian Burt

The proportion receiving the top grades - at least a 7 or an A grade - is a record high based on available data following the decision to award grades based on teachers’ assessments, rather than an algorithm.

Most schools in Norfolk decided not to release overall figures but those that did showed some big increases.

At Lynn Grove Academy in Gorleston the percentage of pupils getting grades 9 to 4 in English and maths rose to 71pc from 65pc last year. Smithdon High School in Hunstanton saw the figure rise to 76pc from 67pc.

Smithdon High School headteacher John Hirst. Picture: Ian BurtSmithdon High School headteacher John Hirst. Picture: Ian Burt

Independent Langley School near Loddon recorded 81.5pc compared to 70pc last year.

Despite the rises headteacher insisted grades were a reflection of the student’s resilience in a very different school year.

Smithdon High headteacher John Hirst said: “Today’s results and the grades our students have received are a true reflection of their work and dedication along with the professionalism and integrity of our staff.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders. Picfture: Archant LibraryGeoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders. Picfture: Archant Library

“We are very proud of what the students have been able to achieve.”

MORE: Headteacher blasts ‘ridiculous’ suggestion schools would inflate GCSE grades

Nigel Willingham, headteacher at St Clement’s High School, where the figure rose from 53pc to 72pc, said: “The grades achieved reflect the hard work of our students during their whole high school career.”

Those pupils unhappy with their grades will not be able to appeal against the result, exams regulator Ofqual has confirmed, though they can sit exams in the autumn.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), and former Bury St Edmunds head, said: “Like much else in this debacle, the grounds for appeal will leave many people dissatisfied, but it is difficult to see how they could be extended at this stage in a way which wouldn’t immediately create more disruption and inconsistency.”


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