GCSE RESULTS upturn as new academies open

Students celebrate exam success
Students celebrate exam success

TWO of the three secondary schools closing to make way for new academies have shown a marked upturn in their GCSE results.

Both Hillcrest and Filsham Valley saw a rise in the percentage of students getting five or more A*s to C grades, including maths and English.

Last year for Hillcrest the figure was 38 per cent. This year it stands at 43 per cent.

For Filsham Valley it was 44 per cent for 2010 and this year, 53 per cent.

But the pass rate for The Grove dropped to 40 per cent this year, compared to 43 per cent of students last year.

Yesterday’s results come just days before the three schools are officially closed and two academies open in a major shake-up of the town’s secondary education system.

The Grove, in Darwell Close and Filsham Valley, in Edinburgh Road, St Leonards, are to become The St Leonards Academy.

And Hillcrest, in Rye Road, will re-open as The Hastings Academy.

Staff at the three schools celebrated students’ results yesterday on the eve of their closure.

Cej Burgess, acting headteacher at Filsham Valley, said: “I am absolutely delighted with these record results. This transformational improvement is great credit to our staff and students who have worked so hard to make this, the last year of Filsham, its best ever. It forms a fantastic foundation for the St Leonards Academy to build on.”

And acting headteacher at Hillcrest, Pip Gasson, said she was ‘extremely pleased’ for both students and staff.

She said: “Results at Hillcrest have improved for the third successive year and three times as many students compared to last year have gained at least one A* or A grade. A special mention should be made to two of our students, Liam Geering who achieved 14 A* and A grades, and James Grand, who gained 10 A* and A grades. These results confirm our belief that we have established a strong foundation for The Hastings Academy.

Fiona Calderbank, acting headteacher at The Grove, said: “All 100 per cent of our students have achieved five or more A* to C grades overall, with 40 per cent of them also getting both English and maths. Our science results are excellent with every student gaining at least two science qualifications. It has really been an example of teamwork between staff and students paying off.”

She said the three per cent drop in the percentage of those getting five or more A* to C grades, which included maths and English was probably due to a different cohort of students in terms of their abilities.”

Sir Dexter Hutt, the executive leader of the Hastings Federation since 2008, said: “Over the last three years results for Hillcrest, Filsham Valley and The Grove have increased from an average of 21 per cent to 45 per cent for the percentage of students gaining five or more A* to C, including maths and English. The percentage of students gaining five or more A* to C grades has increased from an average of 38 per cent to 90 per cent.

“Our federation brief from the county council was to contribute to the regeneration of Hastings by establishing a strong platform to launch the new academies. I believe we have achieved this.

“The commitment of our staff has been a key factor. I would like to thank them, and also the many others who have contributed to this success. Their support and encouragement have made a real difference.”

Helenswood saw an 11 per cent drop in the percentage of students getting five or more GCSE passes at A* to C, including maths and English. Last year the figure was 60 per cent, this year, 49 per cent.

But the percentage of students getting five or more A* to C grades overall went up from 71 per cent to 72 per cent.

Lucy Monk, headteacher, said: “Although we are disappointed that our overall pass rate including English and maths has slipped from last year, I am absolutely thrilled that an amazing 31 per cent of our students achieved the very highest GCSE grades. These results are set to ensure that a record number of students from Hastings and St Leonards remain in education post-16.”

William Parker Sports College students, parents and staff were jubilant after seeing another good year for GCSE results.

The percentage of boys getting five or more A* to C grades, including maths and English stood at 53 per cent this year, a rise from 38 per cent in 2010.

And those getting five or more GCSE passes overall at grades A* to C was 84 per cent, a rise of eight per cent from last year.

John Court, headteacher, said: “I warmly congratulate the students and pay tribute to their dedication and the skill of teaching staff in this superb move forward. These are truly fantastic results.”