GCSEs go OK for pupils despite marking changes

STUDENTS in Rotherham secured exam success in their GCSEs despite a “significant recalibration” in marking standards.

After the Covid pandemic caused huge disruption to pupils’ education, Rotherham’s pass rate took a similar hit to that seen across the country.

But headteachers said they were delighted with the results and praised students’ application and hard work.

Liam Ransome, principal at Wath Academy, said there was evidence of an improving trend since the last pre-pandemic results.

“The academy’s overall attainment across eight subjects and attainment in English, maths and science has significantly improved from 2019, despite the Government’s intention to return to pre-pandemic grade boundaries and outcomes,” he added.

“Our students and staff have gone above and beyond and this year’s results are testament to their efforts, particularly due to the disruption to education the students faced due to the pandemic over the last few years.

“There are many success stories within the year group, particularly Mya Mcveigh-Judd and Holly McMaster who achieved ten grade 9s, Isobelle Fenton achieved eight grade 9s and Oliver Handby achieved seven grade 9s.

“We are very proud of all of our students due to the hard work and dedication they demonstrated throughout their time with us at the academy.

“We would like to thank the students, parents, staff and the community for their continued investment and support.”

Oakwood head Chris Eccles said: “We are proud of the many achievements of the class of 2023, collectively and as individuals.

“They have overcome unimaginable disruption to their teaching and learning during their five years and it is testimony to their hard work, commitment and determination that so many of them have done well and been rewarded for their efforts.

“At this stage we are not able to calculate the progress they have made as this is determined annually once all results nationally have been calibrated and greater uncertainty lies with this this year, with the reported move back towards the 2019 grade boundaries and as a consequence a reduction in the number of higher grades.

“However, at Oakwood there have been improvements from 2019 at 7+ and 5+ in English, history, religious studies, biology, maths, chemistry, physics, sport and health & social care.

“Thanks to the support pupils have received from staff across the school, Oakwood High School will once again have helped secure the next steps into education, training or employment for their pupils and wish them every success in the future.”

Students at Wales High School were also celebrating as they picked up the first wave of results since education returned to normal, having spent months learning at home during Years 8 and 9.

Deserving of special mention was Emily West, who achieved a total of seven grade 9s, two grade 8s and one grade 7.

Also achieving highly were Simon Mayor, with seven 9s, two 7s, and one 6, and Emma Rogerson, who achieved seven 9s, one 8 and two 6s.

Emily Bott, Grace Perry, Charlie Smith, Isobel Grand, Henry Morrow, Molly Shepherd, Lilia Jones, Lilia Harris, Hannah Shonfield, Darci Fretwell, William Shepherd and Laura Kedziak also notched up their fair share of grade 9s.

Wales head Pepe Di’Iasio said: “Congratulations to all our students and teachers on these results.

“An enormous amount of hard work has gone into these qualifications in often difficult circumstances and the young people receiving their results today deserve every great credit for what they have achieved.”

The borough-wide rate for grade 4 or better in English fell from 77 per cent to 71.3 per cent since last year, with 54.1 per cent of students achieving grade 5 or better (down from 61.7 per cent).

In maths, 67 per cent of Rotherham students achieved a grade 4, with 47.2 per cent of students achieving grade 5 or better.

Cllr Victoria Cusworth, RMBC’s cabinet member for children and young people, said: “I'm extremely proud of all our young people, teachers, parents, schools and everyone involved in supporting children to achieve the best GCSE results they can.

“Once again, we’ve seen many examples of strong results from children across Rotherham.

“The last two years have been extremely disruptive and difficult for everyone involved in education due to the pandemic, but the resilience and hard work they have shown has been outstanding and I wish all our pupils well in whatever comes next for them.

“Support is available in school on next steps for young people who haven’t achieved the results they wanted.

“If you haven’t done as well as you’d hoped it isn’t the end of the world by any means - time is still on your side - and there are plenty of options still open to you to get to where you want to be.

“There has been a significant recalibration in GCSE pass grades on a national level this year and Rotherham sits in this trend.

“What is positive is that we have seen a number of real successes across schools in Rotherham and this bodes well for positive progression in attainment across the borough as we go forward.”

Young people in Rotherham can access free and anonymous mental health and wellbeing at www.kooth.com.