Just over half of Norfolk schoolchildren achieve GCSE ‘gold standard’
Archant Norfolk 2014
Just over half of Norfolk’s students achieved the ‘gold standard’ of five A* to C grades in GCSEs, including English and mathematics this year – the same figure as in 2013.
The 54pc figure was lower than a prediction, based on data Norfolk County Council collected from schools, that 60pc of youngsters would achieve at least five A* to C grades, including English and mathematics.
The council said it would be talking to schools whose predictions differed from their actual results to understand the discrepancy.
The blame has been pinned partly on changes to the exam system, which has led to a national drop in performance. Several schools in Norfolk have indicated they will be appealing their results, against the backdrop of the proportion of A* to C grades in English dropping by 1.9 percentage points nationally.
City Academy in Norwich said it would not publish its overall results, because it intended to appeal.
Norwich’s schools, overall, have shown the biggest improvement, with the district seeing a 4.3 percentage point boost in the proportion of children achieving the gold standard – up from 46.2pc to 50.5pc.
Brian Conway, chairman of Norfolk Secondary Education Leaders and headteacher of Notre Dame High School, said: “Well done to all those who have worked so hard to achieve today’s results – students, teachers and their families.
“Norfolk schools’ early results seem to reflect the national picture of significant volatility. Several schools have indicated that they will be challenging their grades and some have felt the impact of changes to the exam system.
“Despite this, more than half of the county’s schools are seeing improved results, which looks to be a considerable achievement, given the turbulence that has been reported.
“We know that there is still much to do to ensure that all of Norfolk’s children are achieving their potential and, as headteachers and principals, we are committed to continuing to work together and challenge one another so that Norfolk’s young people get the very best education.”
Norfolk County Council has been trying to improve performance in the county’s schools, after criticism from inspectors Ofsted over its support for school improvement. Inspectors recently said that service had improved from ineffective to effective.
James Joyce, chairman of the children’s services committee at Norfolk County Council, said: “Congratulations to Norfolk’s students for their hard work and commitment, which has led to today’s results.
“It is schools and academies that are responsible for these results and many are reporting welcome improvements, at a time of significant turbulence.
“This is the end of the first year of our very ambitious strategy to support and challenge school improvement and we knew there would not be a major shift in performance in GCSE in year one – because these are two year courses.
“We do remain concerned about the performance of some schools and are analysing the data closely to see where we need to focus more attention.
“We will be making contact with those whose performance is unacceptably low because this will have an impact on the future of their students.
“We know our strategy to support and challenge school improvement, which was endorsed by Ofsted in their recent inspection, is the right one.
“This gives us confidence that in the coming years the intense focus and determination of all of those working in education in the county will pay off and attainment will rise.”
• Students who need advice about their options after today’s results can look for course and training places at helpyouchoose.org.
For those without a place next year, advice is also available by calling the county council’s helpline on 0344 800 8022 (Monday-Thursday 9am-5pm and Fridays 9am-4.30pm).
The National Careers Service can also offer advice on 0800 100 900 or at https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk