SCHOOLS and colleges across Sheffield seem to have apparently ‘bucked the trend’ for A-level results as fewer top grades were scored nationally for the first time in 20 years.
Across the country, 26.6 per cent of exam entries were awarded an A or A*, down from 27 per cent in 2011, while the number of university places confirmed also dropped by almost 7 per cent.
It is the first time the pass rate has dropped in more than 20 years and is believed to be the biggest fall in the history of A-levels.
However, in Sheffield some providers reported success at the top grades had risen instead.
At King Ecgbert School, Dore, the A* to B pass rate was 59 per cent, an increase of 6.2 per cent on last year.
Lesley Bowes, headteacher, said: “We’re delighted and that is bucking the national trend as well.
“We had 13 of our students getting only A*s, so we are absolutely thrilled with how well they’ve done.”
At Silverdale School, the A* to B pass rate was 64 per cent, a rise from 60 per cent last year.
The percentage of student who scored A* or As was 35 per cent – above the national average.
Helen Storey, headteacher, said: “We are very pleased at the way our students have performed- they have worked very hard.
“All of our Oxbridge candidates have got in and all of our students who wanted to study medicine have got onto to those courses.”
Mount St Mary’s College in Spinkhill said staff and students were celebrating their best A-level results for five years.
Grades from A* to B were up by 8 per cent on last year, to 54 per cent.
Dronfield Henry Fanshawe School said there had been a 7 per cent improvement in the pass rate at grades A* to B.
At Sheffield Springs Academy, 33 per cent of entries resulted in A* to B grades with many individual successes.
Christine Goldsack, chairman of the academy’s governing body, said: “These are a very strong set of results and I congratulate all the students who achieved the grades they were hoping for.
“These results demonstrate how our sixth form is going from strength to strength and set the standard of what we hope to continue to achieve in the future.”
Eckington School said grades at A* to A were its ‘best ever’, with A*-C passes increasing 5 per cent to 61 per cent.
Sheffield College’s A* to B pass rate was 30 per cent - the same as last year.
But the college said it had been the ‘best ever’ set of results, with an overall pass rate of 97.41 per cent.
Nationally, the overall pass rate, from grades A* to E, has risen for the 30th year in a row to 98 per cent.
John Day, Wales School headteacher, said it had been an ‘excellent year’ with a 98.9 per cent overall pass rate.
He said: “Particularly pleasing was the improvement in the highest grades at A* to C which showed an increase in excess of five per cent on last year.”
Exam chiefs insisted the national drop in top grades was down to more, and a broader range of, candidates taking A-levels,
Boys also overtook girls at A* grade for the first time with 8 per cent of boys’ entries attaining the top mark, compared to 7.9 per cent of girls’ entries.
Ziggy Liaquat, managing director of exam board Edexcel, insisted there was a ‘very strong set of results’ and students ‘should be very proud’.
He said the fall in A grades was “marginal” and said: “The standard needed to reach an A grade has not changed.”
Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the drop in top grades was a ‘minor fluctuation’.
In Rotherham, Maltby School’s pass rate went up 2.2 per cent to 97.5 per cent, Brinsworth was at 99.3 per cent, up 0.1 per cent, and Wickersley’s pass rate was up 4.9 per cent to 99.7 per cent - the highest in the borough.
Barnsley Council also congratulated all A-level students on their achievements.