Students and staff at the Elizabethan Academy are celebrating success in this year’s GCSE exams. The government has stated its intention to inject more “rigour” into the exam system, and this year’s cohort were the first to sit new-style exams in English and maths.
With a Grade 4 being equivalent to the old Grade C, the number of Elizabethan students achieving a pass grade in the key subjects of English and maths was significantly up on previous years, despite the increase in difficulty.
There were a number of outstanding individual success stories. Top of the class was Henry Wilson, who achieved the top Grade 9 in both English and maths, and has an additional nine A* grades and two Grade As to his name! As part of the Elizabethan’s strategy for Gifted and Talented students, Henry attended maths lessons at the academy whilst still at primary school, and has just sat the first module of the A-Level maths course.
Henry said: “I’m thrilled, I really didn’t expect to get so many high grades.”
Morgan Glasby also achieved Grade 9 in English literature alongside an 8 for maths and As in every other subject he said he was “ecstatic” about his results. “All my hard work has paid off.” Morgan is continuing his A-Level studies at the Elizabethan, doing A Levels in biology, physics and business studies at Retford Post 16.
Jasmin Saalmann achieved a Grade 8 in both English and maths, combined with a further four A*s, one A and three Bs. Jasmin said “I was a little apprehensive about the new grading system, but I’m extremely happy with my results.” Jasmin has also enrolled for Retford Post 16 to study sociology, German and ICT.
The government and Department for Education have specified that the new GCSE syllabuses will include more challenging and knowledge-based content with exams only at the end of the course. There is less non-exam assessment (coursework) too. English language, English literature and maths are the first to be graded from 9 to 1.
Academy Principal, Christine Horrocks, said she was “delighted” with this year’s results. “We were told to expect a degree of volatility this year as the new exams become embedded. However, although it is impossible to draw direct comparisons with previous years, the Elizabethan’s results have remained strong.
“We have high expectations of all our students, and with the new Grade 9 being reserved for exceptional performance, awarded to approximately 2% of students nationally, I am especially pleased to see a good number of our students achieving it.
“We value inclusivity at the Elizabethan, and I am proud to say that 95% of our students have left us with at least five GCSEs. Everyone has achieved at least one qualification. We have achieved this without narrowing the curriculum, and still believe that personal development and character building are vitally important for our young people. There is a wide range of opportunities for all students at the Elizabethan, and I am particularly excited by the launch of our new Combined Cadet Force in September.
“Alongside our new uniform, we are introducing a new motto for September 2017: finis coronat opus (the end crowns the work… effectively, you get out what you put in). This year’s results really do reflect the hard work and determination of staff and students alike.”