Gallery: Record-breaking GCSE results in Ipswich as schools celebrate huge rises

Students Georgia Dawson and Emma Jarvis celebrate their GCSE results at Kesgrave High School.

Students Georgia Dawson and Emma Jarvis celebrate their GCSE results at Kesgrave High School.

Education chiefs in Ipswich are celebrating record-breaking GCSE results today after the majority of schools achieved better marks than last year.

Kesgrave high GCSEs results day
Elliot Lye with 6 a* with Chris bones

Kesgrave high GCSEs results day Elliot Lye with 6 a* with Chris bones

Eight out of 14 secondary schools in the Ipswich area reported an increase in the proportion of students achieving the standards expected of them.

GCSE results at Kesgrave High School were the best-ever in the school’s history after 71% of students achieved at least five A*-C grades including English and maths this year.

Last year, the figure was 55%, with the 16% annual increase the biggest in the county this year.

Headteacher Nigel Burgoyne said: “It is exceptional to see such strong performance across the whole year group. We are particularly delighted that the boys’ performance overall almost matched the girls this year, massively bucking the national trend, while 14 students achieved straight A*/A grades in all their subjects and five of these were boys.

“This is a lovely year group and it is just wonderful to see them do so well. Parents and staff have worked tremendously hard and have been a real team in supporting the youngsters in meeting their potential.”

Meanwhile, almost double the amount of students attained the benchmark grades at Suffolk New Academy. A total of 46% of students attained at least five A*-C grades including English and maths this year, compared to 24% last year.

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Principal Craig D’Cunha said: “These are a great set of GCSE results, the best results for the academy since this measure was introduced, and the first that Chantry Academy has received since becoming part of the Active Learning Trust and changing its name.

“I am extremely proud of our students, whose results today demonstrate two years of hard work and effort.

“I would also like to congratulate their teachers, who have supported and motivated the students, preparing them for these important exams, and have played a crucial part in their success today.”

Gary Peile, chief executive the Active Learning Trust, added: “I would like to congratulate Chantry’s students, who have achieved great results during a period of transition for Chantry Academy.

“In particular, I’d like to congratulate Craig, whose hard work and determination has ensured a great deal of progress has been made in a relatively short space of time.”

There was also a 14-point percentage increase at St Alban’s Catholic High School. A total of 69% gained five or more A*-C grades including English and maths this year – a rise from 55% last summer.

Principal Colin Walker said: “After the great success of A-level results last week, we are again delighted with the performance of our pupils at GCSE.

“Their focus and determination has generated GCSE results that place them well for the next stage of their lives.

“Our pupils have worked hard with their staff who are dedicated to achieving the best results possible. We are very proud of the way the pupils have matured over their time at the school so far and are particularly thrilled that 100% of pupils leave Year 11 with at least five GCSE pass grades.”

Results improved by 10 percentage points at Copleston High School, where 63% of students achieved at least five A*-C grades including English and maths, compared to 53% last year.

Principal Shaun Common said: “We would like to congratulate our students, parents and staff on our GCSE successes. There have been a number of wonderful individual performances at a time when the examinations are more demanding and this bears testimony to the incredible hard work of our students, supported by our dedicated staff.”

Holbrook Academy is also celebrating a 15% improvement in their GCSE results this year, with 69% of pupils gaining five or more A*-C grades including English and maths. The score last year was 54%.

Headteacher Dr Simon Letman said: “We are absolutely delighted and given that only two years ago we came out of special measures it is even better.

“The other thing that is really important is the boy-girl performance gap is narrowing, and over 85% got A*-C in maths, which is great.”

At Northgate High School, some 66% of pupils achieved five or more A*-C grades including English and maths – up from 59% last year. Headteacher David Hutton said: “The five-plus A*-C including English and maths pass rate is up and we are delighted results are once again so strong. I congratulate our Year 11 pupils on their well-deserved success.”

Ipswich Academy, which last year was ranked as one of the worst-performing schools when only 19% of students attained five or more A*-C grades including English and maths, recorded a result of 25% this year.

Executive principal Pamela Hutchison, who set a target of 40% in January, said: “We did not want quick fixes. Staff and students were determined to change the way in which we worked together to ensure that over the coming years Ipswich Academy becomes a good and then outstanding school.

“In June, HMI recognised our determination and the progress we had made this year.

“Working with the Ipswich Academy community has been a privilege. The year has brought its challenges but Ipswich Academy is a different school today, ready to move swiftly to providing a great education for its students.”

More students at the Royal Hospital School in Holbrook also reached the standards expected of them. Some 90% of students achieved at least five A*-C grades including English and maths this year, compared to 75% last year.

Headmaster James Lockwood said: “I am absolutely delighted with the number of pupils for whom sheer hard work and commitment has paid off and with the wide range of abilities accepted into the school it reflects how well we are able to realise the individual potential of every pupil.”

Staff at Ipswich School were thrilled with 100% of their GCSE pupils achieving five or more A*-C grades including English and maths – the only school in the Ipswich area to score the same result as last year.

Headmaster Nicholas Weaver said: “With one of our biggest cohorts of Year 11 pupils in recent years, this is another set of excellent results, and follows the school’s 100% pass rate seen in last week’s A level results.

“I would like to congratulate all our pupils on their results over a broad range of subjects, in particular those 20 pupils who have gained at least seven A* grades, which is widely accepted as the benchmark for recruitment into top universities such as Oxford and Cambridge.”

However, results fell at five schools in the Ipswich, including Westbourne Academy, where 42% of pupils achieved A*-C including maths and English – down from 44% last year.

But the academy is confident that results will improve for next year. Principal Gary Trott said: “While we are disappointed with a slight dip in the amount of student’s gaining 5A*-C with English and Maths compared to last year, we are delighted that student progress has been maintained overall.

“I would like to congratulate those students who have achieved good results and wish them all the best for their future education. I would also like to thank staff and parents who have worked tirelessly with students to help them to achieve their best.”

Ian Cleland, chief executive officer of Academy Transformation Trust, said: “I would like to congratulate students who have some good results. This year’s group of students were performing significantly below national expectations when they entered the academy.

“It is really good to see that by the end of their time at Westbourne they are achieving at national level in terms of their progress in English and mathematics.

“This reflects on the commitment and hard work of students and staff. We wish students all the best for their future education.”

Results also fell at St Joseph’s College in Ipswich where 76% of pupils gained at least five A*-C grades including English and maths this year. It was 78% last year.

But Principal Danielle Clarke insisted: “I have no doubt that in line with last year, St Joseph’s College’s results will once again be well above both county and national averages.”

She added: “I am both delighted and proud of our students’ achievements, with 91% of our students achieving five A*-C GCSE passes.

“In line with last year’s record grades, over 75% of students obtained five A*-C GCSEs including English and mathematics. I would like to commend students and staff for their hard work in achieving such superb results.”

Results also fell at Stoke High School – Ormiston Academy. Some 35% of students achieved at least five A*-C grades including English and maths this year, down from 43% last year.

But 20% of pupils gained at least three A*/A grades and principal Janet Dickson said: “Congratulations to all our students this year. Many have achieved excellent results, and the number of As and A*s has increased by 16% on last year’s very strong performance.”

At Ormiston Endeavour Academy, formerly Thurleston High School, 42% of students achieved at least five A*-C grades including English and maths this year, compared to 45% last year.

But education chiefs at the school believe new principal Christine Woods, who joined in April, will turn around the school.

A spokesman for the school said: “In a recent monitoring visit, significant improvements were seen by inspectors, and Christine has already been credited by Ofsted for instilling a sharp focus and renewed impetus at the school.

“We are confident that significant improvements will be seen next year and in the years to come under her brilliant leadership.”

The number of students achieving five A*-C grades including English and maths at Ipswich High School for Girls also dropped from last year, but the school celebrated a record breaking set of A*-A grades.

This year, 92.5% of pupils gained five or more A*-C grades including English and maths, down from 97% last year.

However, 66% of pupils achieved A*-A grades, with almost a quarter of students at the school achieving straight A*s and A grades in their results.

The school also achieved 100% of pupils gaining five or more A*-E grades, including English and maths.

Head, Oona Carlin, said: “This year’s results are outstanding. Our humanities and arts subjects have broken all records with a combined success rate of almost 85% A* and A, and over two thirds of all our science and languages results are A* and A. “With eighty students taking GCSEs this year, we are delighted that our results reflect excellence across all subjects – the pupils and teachers should be very proud of these achievements.

“2016 will bring considerable change in the grading of the new GCSE exams, so it is significant that our academic foundations are so strong.”

Last summer, just over half (51.7%) of pupils in Suffolk scored at least five A*-C grades including English and maths in their GCSEs. In 2013, the figure stood at 54.6%.

However, with the national average falling from 59.2% in 2013 to 53.4% last year amid toughened-up performance measures and major GCSE reforms, Suffolk climbed 12 places in the national league table, from 137th position out of 151 local authorities in 2013 to 125th in 2014.

Nationally this year, the proportion of GCSEs awarded at least a C grade has risen again this year, but top grades have fallen for the fourth year in a row, official figures show.

In total, almost seven in 10 (69%) entries were awarded A*-C, up 0.2 percentage points on 2014.

But there was a 0.1 percentage point drop in A* grades – the fourth year running that there has been a fall – with 6.6% of entries given the highest mark this year.

Among the subjects to see improvements in results were history, French, Spanish, computing and art, with as much as a 10% improvement on previous years.

For those of you who got the grades you were hoping for, congratulations. But for those who missed out, the Exam Results Helpline will be open to provide advice and support to students (and their parents). Careers advisers will be answering calls from 9am today on 0808 100 8000.