Top marks for Derbyshire as schools hail another record year of GCSE results
A DERBY school was celebrating after pupils managed to improve their GCSE results by 11% in another bumper exam year in the city.
The result meant that Sinfin Community School had broken through the Government's 35% target – as 37% of pupils gained five or more A* to C grades, including English and maths.
But head teacher Steve Monks knows that the school cannot afford to sit back and relax as the floor target for GCSEs will rise again this year to 40% and is expected to be 50% by 2015.
He said: "The school is naturally delighted with the big improvement in last year's headline GCSE results.
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"This was down to targeted interventions with key groups of students and general improvements in teaching and learning across the school.
"We have also benefited from support from Derby City Council and Chellaston Academy, with whom we have formal links.
"But we realise the need to maintain and improve these figures this summer."
St Benedict Catholic School, in Darley Abbey, also managed an 11% improvement – up from 45% in 2010 to 56% last year.
Head teacher Dr Chris Reynolds was delighted that the school's previous best result of 53% had been beaten.
He said: "We were delighted with our results and our students put in a lot of hard work.
"For the past two years, we have been putting specific strategies in place and these appear to have paid dividends.
"These include things like targeting those students on the borderline of their grades who are perhaps underachieving, giving students plenty of opportunities for additional study, such as after-school sessions, and also working with parents."
Dr Reynolds said the improved results had led to a 20% increase on previous years in the number of pupils applying to do their post-16 studies at the school.
He said: "We had the highest number of applications, from both internal and external students, to join our sixth form for this year."
The improved performance in Derby was also helped by
a 3% improvement at Chellaston Academy, up to 81%, at da Vinci Community College, which saw a rise of 4% to 40%, at Moor Community Sports College, which hit 50% – up from 45% in 2010 – and a 1% increase to 62% at Lees Brook Community School in Chaddesden.
West Park School in Spondon managed to boost its pass rate from 72% to 78% – a school record – and also repeated its 100% pass rate in five or more A* to C grades in all subjects from 2010.
This led to the school being at the top of the table in the city for the highest average pupil points score, taking into account eight results from all types of qualifications, of 723.6 points.
Among the top performers was Jessica Hodgkinson, who gained nine A* grades and two As, and Dominic Murray, who achieved eight A*s and three As.
Head teacher Brian Walker said: "We were absolutely delighted with our best-ever results. It was deserved recognition for the hard work of everyone."
In a new statistic in this year's tables, the average points score was also measured, using eight GCSE results as well.
For example, this reduced the West Park School average points score figure to 404.5, showing that some pupils take vocational subjects as well as GCSEs.
The difference between the two sets of average points scores was similar at most schools, as many offer a range of vocational and academic courses.
Currently the Government is trying to encourage schools to adopt a more academic approach by offering more core subjects such as English, maths, languages, science and humanities.
It is trying to discourage the practice of offering diplomas, with schools are able to claim an equivalent pass rate of four GCSEs for each one, thereby boosting their overall passes.
Government ministers are hoping that more schools will adopt the English baccalaureate, or EBacc has it has become known, instead.
For the second year running it published the percentage of pupils gaining A* to C grades in English, maths, a science, a language and either history or geography in each school – which create its EBacc result.
Nationally 17.6% of pupils gained the higher grades in the five subject areas – up 2% from 2010.
In Derby, 11.7% of pupils gained the EBacc target and in Derbyshire it was 12.6%.
Top EBacc performers tended to be schools which retained teaching the three sciences – physics, biology and chemistry – and languages.
In Derby, top performers included Derby Grammar School with 83% of pupils achieving A* to C in the five subjects, Littleover Community School, with 34%, and Woodlands School at 28%.
In Derbyshire, Repton School achieved 59% and Ecclesbourne School in Duffield got 44%.
The city managed to improve its overall A* to C pass rate, including English and maths, by almost 2% to 56.9%, following a hike of 9.5% in 2010.
Derbyshire County Council schools raised their pass rate from 55% to 58.4%, against a national increase of 5.4%.
Mike Longden, county council cabinet member for education, said: "The league tables have confirmed another year of much-improved performance across Derbyshire, as shown by excellent GCSE and A level results."