GCSE roundup: West Suffolk

STUDENTS across west Suffolk were yesterday celebrating after notching “impressive” GCSE results.

Will Clarke

STUDENTS across west Suffolk were yesterday celebrating after notching “impressive” GCSE results.

More than half the pupils at every west Suffolk school got at least five or more A*-C grades following the summer exams.

However some claimed the results could have been even better if students were allowed a wider choice of GCSE courses.

David Forrest, headteacher at Sudbury Upper School, where 55% of pupils received five or more A*-C grades, said: “The curriculum has been narrow and academic for some years and we need to offer our pupils more subjects which are more relevant and skills based.

“Along with Great Cornard Upper School we have been developing more vocational courses which students want to do and that is a good thing.

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“The curriculum is not well designed for half of our students and we need to offer them something which they say is more relevant and interesting and in which they can be successful.”

Paul Rossi, headteacher at St Benedict's Catholic School in Bury St Edmunds, which scored 77% of its pupils with five or more GCSEs between A* and C said 14-year-olds were too young to be making decisions which might close down opportunities.

“For some students a more practical approach might be better providing the core skills, like numeracy and language, are there,” he said. “I believe schools should produce balanced young people and even those choosing more vocational courses need a broad basic education.”

Patricia O'Brien, portfolio holder for children, schools and young people's services, said: “Students across Suffolk deserve to be congratulated today for their GCSE and vocational exam results.

“Particularly pleasing is seeing the efforts and achievements of all students being celebrated, from those who have recorded a run of A and A* grades to those who have done their very best.

“The students have worked hard for these exams, as have their teachers. This, combined with the support of families and friends, seems to be a significant factor in achieving success.”

At King Edward's VI Upper School 72% of pupils received five or more A*-C grades.

Headteacher Geoff Barton said: “Well done to all our students on achieving this impressive set of results. We look forward to seeing many of them back in our Sixth Form and wish the others well at college and in training.”

79% of pupils at County Upper School in Bury St Edmunds received five A*-C grades.

Headteacher Vicky Neale said: I am absolutely delighted with these results which are the best in our history and I pay tribute to the staff, the students and their parents who have worked so hard as a team to achieve them.”

At Thurston Community College 69% of pupils scored five or more C grades or above.

Culford School scored best in west Suffolk with 99% of students at the private school outside Bury receiving five or more A*-C grades.

Culford's director of studies, Dr John Guntrip, said: “These are an excellent set of results which are a real tribute to how much hard work pupils and teachers put into preparing for these examinations.

“One of the many highlights is that all pupils who took GCSE Maths a year early achieved 100% A* to A grades, up from 94% last year.”

Great Cornard Upper School and Technology College headteacher Mike Foley said: “We are really pleased - it shows sustainable progress from last year's results. We also have several students with complete sets of A* grades. I think these are good exams for pupils.”

60% of Great cornard students achieved five or more A* - C grades.

Mildenhall College of Technology headteacher Terry Lewis said: “This year is probably the weakest group (of students) we have had but they have done well to match the second best results ever and we are very pleased with them.”

65% of Mildenhall pupils received five or more C grades or above.

Newmarket College headteacher Dr Bob Cadwalladr , where 44% of students received five C or above grades, said: “It is a great pleasure to share in the success of the young people of Newmarket.

“This will be a great foundation for their further education and training. We are pleased that in many aspects the results have improved this year and will be working hard to make them even better next year.”

The two Haverhill schools were among the biggest improvers with 79% of Castle Manor Business and Enterprise College and 76% Samuel Ward Arts and Technology College pupils receiving five or more A* - C grades.

Samuel Ward deputy headteacher Mark McCullough said: “This is fantastic result for teachers and pupils. We have been improving year on year but this is a big jump on last year.”

Castle Manor headteacher Madeleine Vigar said: “These examination results maintain the trend of rapid and significant improvement in standards at Castle Manor Business and Enterprise College over the last five years. Students and staff have worked tirelessly to ensure success.

“Today's results are the outcome of that hard work and the College's outstanding curriculum which is designed to meet every student needs. I am particularly pleased with the achievements in mathematics - standards have risen dramatically this year because of the additional attention we give to this important subject”