A Note From the Head: Another Great Set of Results

A warm welcome to our new students. I hope that you’ve had a great first week. Your behaviour and uniform have been immaculate!

So let’s talk about results.

First of all , many thanks for the numerous messages of thanks and congratulations for yet another set of great GCSE grades.

You’ll know from the press that last July the exam regulatory authority, OFQUAL, issued a national warning that the 2014 results would be hit by “volatility” caused by last minute changes to the assessment system. I don’t want to harp on about this, but, in a nutshell, this government meddling was akin to changing the rules of the game at halftime. In other words,  teachers and students completed  courses in summer 2014 which were different from the ones they thought they’d started in autumn 2012.

Totally unfair.

Anyway, schools were warned not to build their hopes up. Fortunately, due to some painstaking and well judged decision making by staff in managing the difficult changes to regulations, our results have remained more or less stable. We scored 75% 5+ A*-C with English and maths which retains our place among the top performing non-selective schools in the north east. And this is in a context where many schools have seen a sharp drop in their outcomes because of the late alterations to how the exams were marked.

And, by the way, our results are what is now known as “first entry”.

The government has clamped down on schools repeatedly re-entering pupils for exams until they get the grades they want. They’ve done this by stipulating that league table figures must be based on the first and not the best attempt at the exams. The results we report on our website are the same as those you’ll see in the league tables next January. Many schools, and I can understand why, are reporting “best entry” results in their publicity.

I must also add that our figures stay the same when you remove grades for subjects which aren’t proper GCSEs. These qualifications are known as “equivalents”. Our curriculum is academic (you might even say traditional) because the bulk of our students go on to sixth form and then to university, so we don’t offer many vocational equivalents such as BTEC courses.

That’s not to say that we don’t modernise our subject offer. Under Joan Bloomfield’s curriculum leadership, we introduced three new subjects for 2014 with amazing success : electronics, engineering and full award religious education . All three gained 100% A*-C!

I’m also proud to say that  English and maths stayed rock solid at 83% A*-C and that we gained our best ever results in art, geography, food technology, chemistry, English literature and child development.

And one last boast…

We saw a significant increase in A*/A grades: 35% of year 11 gained at least three and 55% at least one. Thirteen students gained at least ten with Rachel Leedham scoring a stunning 13.

I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

Watch this space for updates on our new building, our desire for a sixth form and plenty more.

It promises to be another great year for Marden High.