Article date – 23 August 2018

Last year saw the introduction of tougher GCSEs in English language, English literature and mathematics which has been followed up with further changes this year with the introduction of reformed GCSE examinations in several popular subjects including history, geography, sciences and modern languages.

Attainment at GCSE is also measured by a new performance metric, Attainment 8. In broad terms, that measure reflects the achievement of a student across eight qualifications, measuring a student’s average grade across those subjects. This year, the overall Attainment 8 score for pupils educated in St Helens is 45 points per pupil, an increase on the score achieved in the previous year.

Performance at Rainford High is particularly impressive with 67 per cent of pupils achieving grades 5- 9 in English and mathematics. Principal Ian Young said: “Once again we are extremely proud of our students receiving their results today. It is great to see their hard work and dedication has really paid off.

“Many of our students will continue their education here and head onto our sixth form, while others will take different paths – whatever they choose; we wish them all the best of luck in everything that they do.”

Also to be celebrated are noticeable improvements at Haydock High and St Augustine’s. Both saw an increase in the percentage of students achieving a standard pass (4-9) in GCSE English and mathematics, with 119 top grades given across 113 students at St Augustine’s. 

Executive Headteacher of Haydock High, Cameron Sheeran said: “So many students have worked so hard and deserve their successes today. This is the first year where most subjects are graded 9 to 1 and there has inevitably been some anxiety from students and parents about the changes.

“Throughout the last year, we have increasingly focused on students’ needs and challenging high achievement for all students and I firmly believe that this approach is the key factor in today’s results, particularly the significant improvement in Progress and Attainment 8.

“This cohort have been super to work with. Staff understandably feel proud of them and their achievements today. My sincere congratulations go to those who achieved coveted grade 9s, very well done.”

In a statement, the Senior Leadership Team at St Augustine’s said: “It is incredibly pleasing to see that all the hard work and effort put in by students, their families and staff at St Augustine’s has been rewarded in the grades achieved.”

Elsewhere, improvements continue to build at the Sutton Academy where 52 per cent and 48 per cent of pupils achieved 9-7 grades in chemistry and physics respectively – while Hope Academy enjoyed a successful year after 63 per cent of students achieved Grade 4-9 in maths, an increase of 8 per cent on the previous year.

Over at Rainhill High School student, Joe Brabin is believed to be among just 150 students across the country to be awarded a grade 9 in one each of his GCSE subjects –while De La Salle has managed to reduce the gap between the performance of disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged students, and between boys and girls, too.

Meanwhile at Cowley, the top ten performers shared 90 9 – 7 (A* – A) grades (or equivalent) between them, with an impressive 282 9-7 grades (or equivalent) awarded in total – and improved results in languages, health & social care and science were achieved at St Cuthbert’s, with the number of students entering for and achieving the EBACC suite of qualifications, also increasing.

Praising students on their achievements, St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Developing Young People, Councillor Joe Pearson said : “I’d like to congratulate all those students across the borough who have worked so hard to achieve this fantastic set of results.

“Given the national changes in GCSEs this year, they must have felt a huge amount of pressure, but came up trumps – and for that, they deserve to be applauded.

“I wish everyone all the very best in their future endeavours, whether that is through further education, training, or entering the world of work.”


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