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Cumbrian schools record big rises in GCSE exam pass rates

The wait was over for thousands of Cumbrian teenagers today as they learned their GCSE results.

GCSE exam results photo
From left, William Howard pupils Daneka Etchells, Naomi Little and Cath Lomax celebrate

Early indications are that some schools will see a record-breaking set of results, published on a Tuesday for the first time.

Several are celebrating significant leaps in their pass rates with one west Cumbrian school fighting back from the trauma of the floods to record a near 100 per cent pass rate.

Elsewhere, Richard Rose Central Academy in Carlisle and Ullswater Community College in Penrith, two schools which have both been under the watchful eye of government watchdog Ofsted over the last year or so, made big strides.

At Cockermouth School, students turned in the school’s best ever results – with an overall pass rate of 99 per cent.

In total, 80 per cent of students achieved five A* to C grades, while 68 per cent gained five A* to C grades including English and Maths.

Headteacher Geoff Walker said: “Many of this group were significantly affected by the floods. We lost two weeks of school time with them but they have still achieved these remarkable results.

“Our results are up on last year in all measurements. We have recorded our highest ever percentage of students gaining five A* to C grades. Our students were prepared extremely well by the teachers and they responded in a very positive and enthusiastic way.”

At St Joseph’s School in Workington, 65 per cent of pupils achieved five A*-C grades including English and maths. The pass rate for A* and A grades was more than 17 per cent – up on last year’s nine per cent.

Headteacher Tom Ryan said: “This year the results from St Joseph’s pupils were outstanding. These results are excellent and reflect the tremendous work the students have put in over the past two years.

“Their achievements have been made possible because of the quality of our staff who instilled a strong sense of ambition and continued to demand maximum commitment.”

Among the high achievers at St Joseph’s were Lee Armstrong, 16, of Chaucer Road, Workington, who gained three A*s and eight As, Giulia Canigiani, 16, of South William Street, Workington, who got four A*s, seven As, four Bs and one C, and Drew Sandelands, 16, of Park Avenue, Seaton, who got one A* and nine As.

Jonathan Irving, 16, of Gray Street, Workington, got seven As and one A*, Samantha Edgar, 16, of Derwent Avenue, Seaton, got five A*s and five As and Philippa Hawley, 16, of Stainburn Road, Workington, got one A*, eight As and one B. Drew said: “I’m so pleased with my results. It now means I can go to Cockermouth sixth form to study PE, biology, English language and history.

“It’s a stressful time for students and it didn’t help when the bridge went down. I had to get the train as well as drive a couple of times but by the time the exams period came the road bridge as up.

“I will be celebrating with my friends this afternoon but then it’s back to normal with rugby training tonight.”

Jonathan plans to go to Gen II to do a mechanical engineering apprenticeship.

“The exam period is a stressful time when it comes to all the revision but it helped us as students to get some of our exams out of the way early in the year,” he added.

“I was in early this morning to pick up my results but I’ll be coming back with friends later to see what they got. It’s an exciting day for me because my results are not what I expected.”

Giulia said: “Today’s been a bundle of emotions for me – a mixture of nerves, anticipation, excitement and relief.

“From when you sit your exams to picking up your results is a nerve-wracking time with everything playing on your mind but I was thrilled to bits with my results.”

There were also results improvements at Whitehaven school where the number of students achieving five A*-C grades was 40 per cent – a five per cent increase on last year. Deputy headteacher Andy Ward said: “We are absolutely delighted by this.”

Head of year 11 Helenlaura Bew praised pupils, adding: “They have all worked so hard this year they all realised the work they had to do I am so proud of them. I have seen them grow up into confident adults.”

Top students include Cameron Rigg who gained 11 A* and A grades, Luke Mudie who gained 10 A* to A grades and Jack Barrow who received nine A* to A grade.

GCSE results are usually given out exactly a week after A-level students receive their grades, on a Thursday, even though schools often receive details electronically a day or two earlier.

Schools had to wait for confirmation of results to arrive through the post before they were allowed to inform pupils.

Now, in a trial to issue the information more quickly, schools opened this morning across Cumbria.

Advice and guidance groups, as well as schools and local colleges and training providers, are now gearing up to help a wave of teenagers take their next step into the world.

Many will continue their studies while others opt for vocational courses, apprenticeships or find their first job.

Lauren Clark, Connexions Cumbria’s business and customer relations lead, says its advisers will be on hand to help teenagers in the coming days in local schools and centres across the county.

She said: “If you do not get the grades that you need then don’t panic. You should talk to teachers or tutors about what you may still be able to do. If you only miss by one or two grades, perhaps you will still be allowed to do what you had planned.”

Have your say

Barrow is waiting with baited breath to find out the results that the world class education provided by Furness Academy has given 400 of the towns' young people. When will we get to hear the news? The longer the wait the more concerned we are becoming.

Posted by Mr. Chips on 27 August 2010 at 17:43

From the lack of an announcement from Furness Academy re: GCSE results it would seem that this years results DID NOT better the results last year from the 3 predecessor schools combined which was an average of 34% 5 a* - c Inc english and maths.
There are many concerned parents in Barrow who deserve to know why the school is performing so badly and what is being done about it.

Posted by Ironman on 27 August 2010 at 12:00

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