Berwick Academy students impress in new-look GCSE exams
Further evidence of an emerging culture change at Berwick Academy has been delivered by GCSE students.
The former Year 11 pupils were the first group to complete the full portfolio of new-style GCSEs which involved sitting more exams than any of their predecessors.
In spite of the continued transition phase to implement the new GCSEs nationally, students and staff have successfully navigated the changes to courses thanks to hard work and a positive attitude.
Despite many challenges, the percentage of students who achieved a grade 4 and above (equivalent to a Grace C or better) in both English and maths was sustained from the previous year.
There were also improvements on last year’s results for students achieving grade 4 and above in a wide range of subjects, including maths, physics, German, French, ICT and business.
There was an improvement in the percentage of students attaining grade 5 and above in maths, physics, chemistry and science.
Most notably, there were improvements in the number of students attaining the highest A and A* grades in more than 13 subjects, including history, physics, science, French, German, and resistant materials.
Acting headteacher, Steve Wilkes, said: “We are very pleased for our students. They have worked hard, sitting more exams than any previous cohort. They have coped well with the pressure of ‘all-in’ final exams rather than coursework, and they have been ably supported by our parents and staff.”
He thanked parents for their support and attendance at parents’ evenings. In particular, he praised students for attending extra sessions after school and during the school holidays.
“I also want to praise our teachers who have given up more of their own free time to deliver extra study sessions in order to support students,” he said.
“The accuracy of their predictions was really strong this year, showing that staff have quickly and successfully adapted to the new GCSE specifications.”
Yasmina Slaoui and James Newton were delighted to achieve the highest possible grade 9 in chemistry.
James also achieved a 9 in physics and grade 8s in biology and maths and has been awarded a scholarship to fast-track study his A Levels at Welbeck Defence College in Loughborough, with a view to becoming a Royal Navy Officer. James is one of only 20 students nationally to achieve this distinction.
“It’s what I’ve wanted to do for some time so I’m really happy,” said James. “I worked hard so I had high hopes that I’d do well,” he added.
Yasmina passed four other subjects with grade 8s, and she attained grade 7 in both English language and literature. She is looking forward to studying A Levels in history, business and maths at the school.
“I’m wondering now whether I should have chosen chemistry,” she laughed.
“I actually thought I had failed part of it so I wasn’t expecting to get a 9 at all.”
Caitlin Todd was also delighted to achieve a grade 8 in chemistry and Georgie Scott was most proud of a grade 6 in history despite it not being her top grade. Both girls are going on to study A Levels in sixth form.
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Dylan Shaw was also celebrating a grade 9 in physics, and grade 8s in maths, biology, chemistry and computing. He has chosen to study A Level physics, maths and computer science.
Gracie Easton was delighted to achieve a grade 8 in history, grade 7s in six other subjects and a 5 in French.
“I didn’t think I had done that well, especially in history,” she said. “I actually failed my mock history so I worked really hard after that.Having no social life for all those months was worth it!
“I was really stressed opening the envelope so it’s a huge relief knowing that I did well.”
She is also staying on in sixth form to study history, English literature and sociology.
Both Lara Hindhaugh and Becki Richardson were awarded grade 8s in English literature.
Lara said: “I found the exam really hard so when I was coming here I was really scared so I’m so happy now.”
Becki, following a house move, is going to study A Levels at Middlesbrough College.
Eilidh Campbell was so pleased to achieve a grade 7 in English literature as she found it one of her most difficult subjects.
“When I was opening the envelope my heart was way up in my chest, really pumping,” said Eilidh. “Now I can finally relax and enjoy the rest of the summer.”
Ezzie Critchlow was equally pleased with her grade 7 in English Language and strong results in other subjects.
“I didn’t think I did that well,” she confessed. “They are better than I was predicted.”
She is now staying on to do English language and psychology.
Despite being nervous about opening their results, Ewan Dryden, Aidan Creelie and Alex Gibson were instantly relieved and happy to see their strong pass grades in chosen subjects.
Alex attained grade 8 in Maths and physics. Ewan achieved grade 5s and 6s across the board, and Aidan was most pleased with his grade 7 in English language.
Staff are now looking forward to welcoming students back for sixth form and then preparation for university or employment.
Across Northumberland, there was an increase in the percentage of students achieving a good pass (Grades 9 to 5).
Early results in Northumberland also show an increase in overall Attainment 8, the students’ average achievement across eight subjects, and in those gaining 5+ in English and maths.
Coun Wayne Daley, deputy leader and cabinet member for children’s services at Northumberland County Council said: “This is a very pleasing set of GCSE results across the county - and I want to congratulate and thank all students and parents, schools and teachers for their hard work and determination.
“Following very good A Level results last week, and the achievements we are seeing today, we can say that education across the county is on a very firm footing.”