House to Home with Amber Rudd: Well done to students and teachers

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Remember the day you got your GCSE results? Or like me, was it your O-levels?

The nervousness, fear and hope with which you collect those envelopes and see the results is one that nobody forgets.

There are, as we all discover, many more moments like that in life, with disappointments and achievements to deal with. But that one at about 16-years-old is the first, and therefore carries a huge significance.

And locally our young people did well. There are two figures to look at for the results. There are the ones based on five GCSES, including critically maths and English, and the ones which don’t require passes in those subjects but assess how many of the students got five GCSEs or equivalents in any subjects.

I am hugely admiring of the schools that guide their students to get five plus GCSES in any subjects. Some young people really struggle with maths and the fact that despite not passing that, they get five GCSEs with which to build their next step, is an achievement.

They now have choices, where in the past they might not have. Particular congratulations go to The Grove which achieved 100 per cent pass rates in five GCSEs without maths and English.

But the statistic that contains most ‘rigour’, to use the popular Government term for traditional subjects, and shows how many students have passed maths and English with other GCSEs is the key benchmark.

The Government target is 50 per cent. I believe we should aim higher than that, and the results this year in Hastings and Rye suggest that we can.

William Parker, Filsham Valley, Hillcrest and Rye College achieved their best ever results for this target. William Parker was up 11 per cent on this target from last year, and the Academy schools, Hillcrest, The Grove and Filsham Valley were up 11 per cent combined. Helenswood made progress with the highest grades, with a whopping 31 per cent of students receiving three or more GCSES at A or A*. This compares with only 26.5 per cent of students in the south east getting one A or A*.

The grades are for the students to build their next steps on. Congratulations go to all of the people who made it possible - particularly the schools, the teachers and the leaders who provided the critical direction for change and improvement so notable over the past three years.

In 2008, 27.2 per cent of our young people got the critical five GCSEs including maths and English. This year it was 47.7 per cent.

I hope next year, with the impetus of new academies and continued strong leadership it can be over 50 per cent.

In the meantime, well done to the students and the teachers.