Sheffield’s 16-year-olds are set to buck national trends with a second consecutive year of rising pass rates in their GCSEs.
Many city schools improved their test scores, shrugging off tougher marking regimes which elsewhere in the country have resulted in a sharp fall in the number of top grade passes.
Sheffield’s two original academies, Park and Springs, are leading the way after years of struggle since their foundation in 2006.
Sheffield Park on the Manor reported a best ever 61 per cent pass rate, up 11, while Sheffield Springs in Arbourthorne made even greater progress with a 15 per cent rise to 46 per cent.
Park headteacher Craig Dillon said: “The academy is going from strength to strength and has a bright future ahead.
“These results will spur us on to continue to work hard and drive the academy forward.”
Fir Vale was also celebrating after a 13 point rise to 53, while Firth Park Community Arts College was up 10 to 54 per cent and Ecclesfield rose by six per cent to 69.
A return to form by students at King Edward VII School – up 14 per cent to 65 – also boosted hopes that Sheffield would at last match or even overtake the average national pass rate, which last year stood at just under 59 per cent.
But not every school had a good year.
Hinde House in Shiregreen could not sustain last year’s unprecedented 20 per cent increase and slipped back by 10 points to 44.
Headteacher Chris French said grade changes in English had made a massive difference, with students who last year would have scored Cs getting Ds instead.
“It’s extremely unfair for our young people,” he said.
Parkwood Academy at Shirecliffe was also down on its improved 2012 pass rate, from 47 per cent to 41, only just above the Government’s 40 per cent minimum target.
All Saints RC High was down by five to 63, while Newfield, Westfield and Forge Valley had modest increases of one and two per cent.
Whether Sheffield reaches the national average could now depend on a handful of schools who have so far failed to reveal their results, including Birley, City, Stocksbridge and Yewlands. Results from students at traditionally high-performing High Storrs and King Ecgbert have also not been released.
Even headteachers whose schools had seen increases said results had fallen below expectations due to tougher marking in core subjects of English, maths and science.