When the going gets tougher, our students get going

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TOUGHER exam questions and harder marking held no fear for students at the borough’s four high schools as most passed with flying colours. Examining boards were expected to be tougher on marking science and maths papers and the questions to be more difficult for this year’s GCSEs exams.

Though some students reported Science, Maths and English being harder than they expected, the number of students achieving five A to C passes including English and Maths at William Parker Sports College and Helenswood School.

Full results for the academy schools were not available at the time of going to press.

At a rainsoaked William Parker Sports College, the first boys arrived around 8.30am yesterday (THURS).

Many calmy walked into the results classroom and picked up their envelopes in quiet anticipation or just not being used to getting up so early on their summer break.

The pass rate rose to 38 per cent for the number of students passing with five A* to C grades including English and Maths. Last year’s figure was 34 per cent.

The overall number of students achieving five A* to C grades was almost 60 per cent. In total students achieved 162 A or A* grades.

Headteacher Daniel Hatley said: “I have only been here since March so only had a few weeks to impact on performance. But our short term plan has worked. We put on lots of extra revision sessions and one-to-one tuition and it has paid off. But next year we want to see the pass rate rise to more like 70 per cent for A to C including English and Maths.”

Down the road at Helenswood School, 90 per cent of students achieved five A*to C grades.

Overall passes for five GCSEs including English and Maths was 56 per cent.

Headteacher Lucy Monk said: “Congratulations to all students in the class of 2013. They worked hard to achieve this success and we are proud of their achievements, especially in a context where exams are getting harder year on year.

“There were new things like six header questions for chemistry which students had to make sure they covered all aspects. We know that we will have to work even harder to maintain these results across all subjects. But Thursday was a day to celebrate the success of our girls and we look forward to continuing to support many of them as they progress into AS and A2 study at Parkwood 6th form.”

At The Hastings Academy 92 per cent of students achieved at least five A* to C grades, a similar outcome to last year’s figure of 94 per cent.

The percentage of students getting the top grades including English and maths has not yet been published. Principal Theresa Phillips said that the academy is clarifying English coursework results and will publish a figure in due course.

Last year, 46 per cent of students achieved at least five A* to C grades including maths and English.

The proportion achieving a grade C or above in maths has risen by eight per cent from last year.

“We are very pleased with the good improvements we have seen in GCSE results in many subjects,” said Mrs Phillips.

“In addition to some stunning results by the most academically able, an extraordinary 92 per cent of students achieved at least five A* to C GCSE grades.

“As our recent Good Ofsted report stated ‘Teaching at The Hastings Academy is good and as a result, students throughout the academy are now learning well’.”

The percentage of students achieving the top grades at The St Leonards Academy is yet to be confirmed.

Principal Jenny Jones said: “We are delighted to have bucked the national trend at The St Leonards Academy by improving on last year’s results.

“We are seeking clarification on our maths results before we can confirm final figures.”

Last year 51 per cent of students gained at least five A* to C passes including maths and English.

Malcolm Trobe, from the Association of Schools and College Leaders, said: “Science and Maths were tougher this year.

“They have changed the syllabus so the questions were more difficult.”