Lancaster and Morecambe teens celebrate GCSE results after difficult end to school year
Staff and students at schools across Lancaster and Morecambe have been celebrating their GCSE results.
Nationally the pass rate, in the most disrupted academic year in UK history, rose dramatically.
Grades were awarded by schools, after exams were cancelled, and national data shows 78.8% of papers were rated grade 4 or above, compared with 69.9% in 2019.
There was a rise of a quarter in the top grades - a 7 or above, which is equivalent to an A in the old system.
The exams season has been dogged by chaos, with policy changes leading to grades being altered at the 11th hour.
Morecambe Bay Academy enjoyed their second set of record beating results this year, following their A-level achievements last week.
Morecambe Bay Academy has achieved 64% grade 9-4 with English and mathematics. The school has not broken the 60% barrier before, with the highest grades since 2005, being last year’s 58%. This means the school is delivering real change and improvement for young people in Morecambe.
The headline figures are not the only impressive results: 100% of students achieved a grade 4 or higher in drama, 100% in Polish, 93% in biology, 93% in chemistry, 91% in physics, 89% in religious education and 89% in ceramics. Almost all other subject areas have also increased the students achieving strong passes.
This year’s highest performing students are: Ola Ciesinska, who achieved Grade 9s in art, geography, Polish and Spanish; Dale Lambert, who achieved grade 9s in biology, chemistry and physics and a distinction* in music, and Julian Filizanowski, who achieved Grade 9s in maths, Polish, chemistry and a distinction* in music.
The best performing students far exceeded their target grades. Catalin Barbu, Taylor Heald, Anna Procter, Natalia Fliszkiewicz and Ted Williams all achieved, on average, two grades higher than their targets in each subject.
Principal Victoria Michael said: “It is hard for those outside of education, or without children in critical year groups, to understand how destabilising and emotional the last two weeks have been for all concerned.
"I am pleased with the decision the Government has finally made to allow students to be awarded their Centre Assessed Grade or higher.
"This really is the only way to inject some humanity into the system and make sure students can confidently make the next step in their education or employment journeys.”
“We knew we were expecting strong Centre Assessed Grades. When they arrived, they were even better than expected.
"The young people have worked hard and deserve for their achievements to be celebrated. We are expecting almost double the number of students to join us for Sixth Form this year, so we will be seeing many of them again very soon!”
Central Lancaster High School is celebrating a fantastic set of results from this year’s hard-working Year 11 pupils who, despite the challenges they have faced over the last few months, have been smiling today as they collected their results.
The school has seen a rise in all measures and the percentage achieving the top grades has also increased.
There have been celebrations across the whole cohort, however of particular note is Hazel Lawless, achieving amazing results including four grade 9s and who is heading off to study A-levels in history, French and English literature.
Her mum said she is “incredibly proud of her and would really like to thank all the staff who have helped her to achieve these grades”.
Similarly, Henry Myall was “over the moon” to be awarded a fantastic set of results including four grade 9s and he heads off to study A-level philosophy, English literature and maths.
New principal Dr Nick Walmsley said, “This cohort of pupils have faced significant challenges and uncertainty. I am therefore extremely proud of everything they have achieved and delighted that they have received the results they deserve, which will allow them to move onto their next phase of education.
"I would like to thank all the parents and staff who have supported the Year 11s throughout their time with us and I look forward to building on this success in my new role.”
Carnforth High principal Tim Iddon said: "We are extremely proud of the strong results achieved by Year 11 at Carnforth High School this summer.
"Our students have undertaken a wide range of academic, creative and vocational subjects and have matched the progress of similar pupils nationwide. Particularly noteworthy are the achievements of pupils in art, PE and religious studies. The vocational subjects at Carnforth have continued to perform well.
"A number of pupils achieved outstanding results with our highest attaining pupils including Alice Connolly (10 subjects at grades 9-7 including four Grade 9s), Naomi Hollings-Tennant (nine subjects at grades 9-7, including four grade 9s) Lauren Molteni (nine subjects at grade 9-7 including four grade 9s) and Ryan Clifton (nine subjects at grades 9-7 including two grades 9s).
"We are also delighted for our pupils whose results have shown fantastic progress, notably Rosie Ferguson, Connor Sowerby, William Wilson-Clifton and Ellie Topping. Yet again, all of our pupils have successfully secured further education, apprenticeship or employment.
"Results which are consistently strong would not be possible without the hard work of the staff and students at Carnforth High School, along with the support and encouragement of parents. We would like to thank everyone who has been part of our continued success."
A spokesman for Our Lady's Catholic College said: "We are delighted that despite the experience of lockdown and the uncertainty of the recent results news roller coaster our Year 11 students have all been awarded the well-deserved GCSE grades their teachers and school had predicted for them.
"We are so pleased that they can now start 6th form or their next career steps and send them congratulations and every best wish for coming through this unforgettable year so well.
"We hope that next week our students receiving their delayed vocational results will also celebrate a similar success.
Among the many successful students we send particular congratulations to the following students who have done exceptionally well receiving a full complement of the highest GCSE grades 7, 8 or 9 : Charlotte Smith, Grace Worrall and Alex Knott."
Sam Ud-din, Lancaster & Morecambe National Education Union district secretary, said: "Fortunately Ofqual finally listened to the many angry pupils and the advice of schools and unions and abandoned trying to impose its mechanistic algorithm.
"The ongoing impact of realising how much of education has been damaged by these statistical approaches to awarding success should see BTECs too amended so that pupils are not brought into line with numerical expectations.
The CEO of Ofqual accepted responsibility for Ofqual's mistakes by resigning on Tuesday. As of time of writing we are still waiting to see if the Secretary of State for Education follows suit.
"Longer term, the future of the application of these algorithms to all school assessments - eg in SATs (if they ever are undertaken again) and future secondary school exams should be firmly on the table - for removal.
"What has to be now accepted is that the best and most reliable and fair way to assess all pupils is by 'Centre Awarded Grades' - based on in-school assessments. We are not saying that these are perfect - but are the best way forward compared to the way that grades have been awarded in the past through exam boards.
"Indeed, we should not be talking of 'spikes' in this year's results, but asking how many pupils in previous years were made to suffer from being under-rewarded for the hard work that they had put in at the expense of keeping results 'consistent'?
"These short-comings have now been exposed to all - the application by Ofqual and the DfE of their algorithms to only allow a certain number of pupils to be successful irrespective of actual achievements has been an utter failure.
"These issues will not all just go away next week when schools return to almost full capacity. Much time, effort and staff time will be spent supporting cohorts of pupils who are returning to new ways of teaching and learning as Covid-19 still impacts on all aspects of society - and children learn how it is they are to be assessed going forward.
"There are already many discussions around what changes to subject content will be needed and how exams will be modified to take into account the painful lessons that this summer's exam cohorts have suffered."