Pupils celebrate as GCSE pass rates at an all-time high

GCSE Students at Parkwood Academy School. From left, Misha Stewart, Hannah Matthewson, Bethany Matthewson and Soma Omar
GCSE Students at Parkwood Academy School. From left, Misha Stewart, Hannah Matthewson, Bethany Matthewson and Soma Omar
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RECORD GCSE pass rates were celebrated at schools across Sheffield today as thousands of pupils received their long-awaited results.

Education chiefs searched the statistics for evidence that the city is continuing to close the gap on national averages, a long-standing objective.

Favourite for the accolade of best performing state school was Notre Dame High in Ranmoor, with 82 per cent of pupils achieving five passes at A to C grade, including all important English and maths - the Government’s favoured measure of success.

Headteacher Jane Willis said the results were a record - and a full 10 per cent up on 2010.

“Students and staff have done a tremendous job. There is enormous pressure on young people to do well academically, but it is also important for them to become well rounded citizens,” she added.

Pupils at King Ecgbert in Dore were not far behind with a 75 per cent pass rate, eight points up on last year and also the school’s best yet.

Headteacher Lesley Bowes said: “We are all absolutely delighted with these results which have improved significantly since last year.

“Eighteen per cent of our passes were at A* and A grades and many individual students have made superb progress.”

Also on 75 per cent were students at Silverdale at Bents Green - not a record but still five per cent better than the 2010 figures.

Best ever results were reported at Stannington’s Myers Grove Secondary, which closed this summer to merge with Wisewood, creating Forge Valley School from next month.

Head Andy Ireland said the 52 per cent pass rate was 20 per cent better than it had been just two years ago.

“One pleasing aspect this year was that the boys’ and girls’ results were about the same - which means the boys’ performances were significantly good.

“It’s a great way to bow out with the best results in the school’s history,” Mr Ireland added.

Bradfield’s pass rate was 70 per cent, down slightly - but head David Conway predicted that would soar next year to 80 per cent, based on current evidence.

Tapton in Crosspool also reported 70 per cent, down slightly, but with a lot of superb individual results, according to head David Bowes.

“The students have worked incredibly hard and the picture was mostly smiles here today - though some were disappointed,” he said.

At Ecclesfield, one of the city’s biggest secondaries, statistics were still being finalised but it was expected the school would top the 50 per cent barrier for the first time - a new best.

“This is great news for us. It builds upon our latest Ofsted report which shows we are turning the school around after we were previously given an official Notice to Improve,” said deputy head Joel Wirth.

Much attention this year will focus on the city schools which are fighting to push their results above the Government’s new minimum accepted standard of 35 per cent.

The first to move out of the danger zone this year is the City School at Stradbroke, where pupils achieved a 41 per cent pass rate, a healthy seven points up on 2010.

Yewlands at Parson Cross was just above the ‘floor target’ on 36 per cent, with head Angela Armytage reporting that results were broadly in line with expectations for that particular year group.

Parkwood Academy at Shirecliffe reported a 31 per cent pass rate - but that was three points up, and principal Mike Westerdale said he was very happy with such steady year on year progress.

In Broomhill King Edward VII School had a moderate year with a pass rate of 55 per cent, ten per cent down on last summer - but over 26 per cent of passes were at A* or A, well above last year’s national averages.

In the independent sector Sheffield High School’s results were as impressive as ever, with almost 90 per cent of girls achieving straight A*, A and B grades.