Today (25 August) students across Bristol are collecting their GCSE results following years of hard work and a long wait over the summer. Provisional results for the city show more than 60% have achieved grade C and above in both of the core subjects of English and maths. This is a significant increase of over 4% on last year’s results.
This year the national headline measure of success has changed, with five A*-C grades including English and maths no longer being the gauge by which schools are judged. Instead, new measures have been introduced in order to take into account the prior attainment of students and the progress they have made. The changes also mean that the results of all students count towards a school’s result, not just those who reach grade C and above in five or more subjects.
Two of the new headline measures are called Attainment 8 and Progress 8. The first of these, Attainment 8, is concerned with individual’s achievement across eight qualifications including English and maths, which are double weighted. Progress 8 measures how well schools have helped students to progress and looks at how much they have improved from the end of Key Stage 2, compared with students nationally with similar starting points. Comparisons with previous years are not yet possible.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “First and foremost, success belongs to the students collecting their results today and I’d like to congratulate our young people on the hard work they have put in, whatever the outcome. Our schools are working together to narrow the achievement gap, so that every 16 year old is able to achieve the very best they can, enabling them to take part in the success of our city. As a Learning City Partnership we share a common vision - teachers, education leaders, employers – that by working together we can create a fairer city for young people.”
Currently 95% of the city’s secondary schools are rated as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by OFSTED, compared to the national average of 76%.
Cllr Claire Hiscott, Cabinet Member for education and skills, said: “Bristol’s schools are in a strong position and we should be proud of how far we have come in the past few years. Today we are celebrating the success of our young people and I’d like to commend them along with all the teachers, governors, school staff and parents who have supported our students along the way. Our aspiration is, as always, to see all students reach their full potential and we’ll continue working in partnership with schools to help them succeed.”
Sarah Baker, chair of the secondary heads’ association, said: “These are excellent results for Bristol’s young people. OFSTED results show that Bristol’s schools have been improving in recent years, and our students are now achieving the grades we would expect. Congratulations to all the students, teachers, governors and staff who have worked so hard for these results.”
Results are all provisional until they are confirmed later in October, but across the city there are some great success stories of schools and students who have done well.
Oasis Academy John Williams saw a marked improvement on last year, continuing the school’s upward progression since 2008. The highest achieving pupil secured nine A* and two A grades.
Commenting on the results, the Principal of Oasis Academy John Williams, Victoria Boomer, said: “GCSE results day is a proud day. 66% of our young people achieved A*-C grades in both English and maths; a 14% increase on last year’s results and a continued trajectory of improvement since 2008. Watching our young people, with their families, open their results envelopes and realise how their efforts have culminated in the achievement of wonderful results, then celebrate this with friends and our dedicated and talented staff team, is one of the most memorable and moving moments of the school year.”
Fairfield High School also enjoyed its best ever year. Executive Principal Ms Catriona Mangham, said: “We are delighted with the amazing GCSE results here at Fairfield High School. These are the best results the school has ever achieved with 62% of students gaining A*-C in English and maths and levels of progress and attainment for all core subjects way above the national average. This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of all staff and students and the excellent support we have received from the Excalibur Academies Trust over the past year.”
City Academy’s results improved again with more than 54% of students achieving C or above in English and maths, which is a 9% increase on last year. Improvements in both of those core subjects were up on last year.
Jon Angel, Principal at City Academy, said: “This is a fabulous set of results for the academy and a testimony to the hard work of the students and staff. The on-going support of the parents and the local community and the collaborative work of the Cabot Learning Federation have had an enormous impact on the outcomes and aspirations of our students.”
Next year further changes will come into play as grades will move from letters to numbers. A scale of 1 – 9 will be introduced, where 9 is the top mark and equivalent to an A*.