Sunderland schools remain proud as GCSE grades drop amid national ‘volatility’

GCSE results 2014...'St Anthony's Academy - time to get a hug from mum on GCSE results day.
GCSE results 2014...'St Anthony's Academy - time to get a hug from mum on GCSE results day.
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GCSE grades in Sunderland have fallen in a year of increased volatility nationally.

England’s exams regulator, Ofqual, predicted a higher degree of variability in results due to several changes taking place, including changes to the GCSE English, a return to end of year exams and scrapping modular ones and changes to the league tables which have resulted in less early entries.

In Sunderland the percentage of students gaining the ‘gold standard’ of five or more A*-C grades including maths and English has fallen from 60 per cent last year to 54 per cent.

And, for some of the schools the drop was very significant, including Hetton School, which dropped 21 per cent to 43 per cent, Biddick Academy, 19 per cent to 48 per cent and Castle View Enterprise Academy, 18 per cent to 50 per cent.

However, some schools, including St Robert’s of Newminster, Kepier academy, St Anthony’s Catholic Girls’ Academy and St Aidan’s Catholic Academy, saw a slight increases on last year in the number of pupils clinching the gold standard set of results.

Councillor Pat Smith, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services at Sunderland City Council, said: “This year’s figures suggest that Sunderland schools, colleges and academies are, as with the rest of the country, all seeing some ‘volatility’ in their results.

“This is because everyone is adjusting to reforms that are seeing more emphasis on exams rather than coursework and modules.

“Therefore it is difficult to make direct comparisons with last year’s results.

“However, this does not distract from some strong performances that have come with the support of all staff, family and friends.”

Katherine Monte, head of school at Thornhill School, said they have been delighted with the results overall, which have seen an increase in the number of pupils gaining 10 or more A* and A grades and the progress the students have made in English and maths has been very significant.

She said: “We are really, really proud of the success of our students. It is down to a lot of hard work from then and all the staff.”

Among the happy youngsters at the Thornholme Road school, were Charlie Steer-Stephenson, who got eight A*s and five As, Sarah Barber, who got eight A*s, five As and one B, Emma Kerr, who got six A*s, five As and two Bs, Rebecca Kitchen, who got nine As, one A* and two Bs, Mark Redman, who clinched four A*s and 7 As and Hannah Lindstedt, who got an A*, nine As and two Bs.

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