Students at Alnwick’s high school have secured an excellent set of results in their GCSEs, against a backdrop of a significant fall nationally.
Overall, the Duchess’s, which is set to begin the new academic year in its new home at Greensfield, has seen a nine per cent rise in the key figure of five A* to C grades, including English and maths.
Headteacher Maurice Hall explained that this was partly due to a 10 per cent increase in the A* to C percentage in English language and a four per cent rise in maths. “These key outcomes are now well above the national average after a slight dip last year,” he added.
Mr Hall continued: “Although pleased with our overall results, we are especially happy with the results of our boys. Boys make up 55 per cent of this year group and, as you may know, nationally boys (sadly) lag behind girls in many of the academic subjects. So to gain the set of results that we have is a major achievement.
“There are many positive stories across the ability range where our students have worked hard and achieved the targets that they set themselves.”
Dan Fletcher was ‘buzzing’ and ‘dead chuffed’ after securing 10 A*s and two As. “I have been stressing about further maths for quite a while, but I have done really well in that and the As were in different subjects than I thought so it’s not quite how I expected.” Dan will be studying English, maths, further maths and chemistry next year.
Further maths was also a source of success for Benito Varghese, who earned an A* distinction alongside four A*s, three As, three Bs and a C. Benito said his feelings were ‘mixed – there were some things I wanted to do better in’, but he will be moving on to AS-Levels in maths, further maths, physics and chemistry.
He will be joined in those classes next year by Scott Moffat, who also had mixed feelings about his five A*s, four As, two Bs and a C. “I’m slightly disappointed, without wanting to sound insufferable,” he said, adding that there had been some surprises, not least an A in RE.
Luke Fahy was surprised with his four A*s, four As and three Bs as he ‘thought I was going to do worse’. He added: “I did better in some subjects than I expected; I have always been better in English, but I did better in maths.” Next year, he will be studying chemistry, physics, maths and DT.
Zoe Gilroy was ‘really happy’ with her three A*s, eight As and a B. The results were expected to some extent, but ‘I didn’t want to jinx anything’. What wasn’t expected was an A* in RE and Zoe is now looking ahead to AS-Levels in chemistry, biology, maths and philosophy.
Martin Murphy also notched three A*s, backed up by five As. “I’m happy,” he said. “Walking here this morning, I was thinking ‘what if they are worse than I expect?’ and the worst bit is opening the envelope. The sciences were a little lower than I was hoping, but looking at the results, I can see where I dropped them.” And it will be more science next year as Martin will study maths, further maths, physics and chemistry.
Having opened his envelope to reveal seven A*s, three As and a B, Ruben Moss said: “I’m surprised and really happy – I had no idea I would get that and thought I would do a lot worse. In both English exams, I thought a B would be likely, but I got As in both which I’m really happy about.” On the timetable next year will be history, maths, biology and RE.
Rob Swinbank was another who wasn’t expecting to do as well as he did. “Further maths and RE are the ones I didn’t think I would do nearly as well as I did.” Up next are AS-Levels in history, chemistry, biology and maths.
‘Amazed, I can’t believe it’ – that was the reaction of Sarah Walker, who landed eight A*s and three As and will study maths, further maths, chemistry and textiles next year. “I’m relieved as well,” she added. “I was worried about English, but I got an A so I’m really happy, that was my weakest subject.”
Having ‘hoped for the best, but expected the worst’, Issy Maxwell had no idea what to expect, but was really happy with her four A*s and six As. “I wasn’t expecting anything as good,” she said. “I was really surprised about science and really happy with history and maths.” Next up will be AS-Levels in maths, English language, history and art.
It will be art, maths, physics and French next year for Ruari Ryan, who earned three A*s and six As. “I don’t really feel very much about it, but I guess I’m happy. I really had no idea what to expect.”
Reflecting on this year’s results, Mr Hall said: “In this period of never-ending change for our education system both in terms of end-of-course exams (students now, on average, sit over 20 during the exam period) and how performance data is presented (five A* to C percentages will be replaced by a figure known as Progress 8), it is hugely positive that our students continue to perform.
“They need to be congratulated on their success. They have supported each other and worked hard. As have their parents!
“The start of September sees us, at last, move into our new school buildings, expanding to incorporate Years 7 and 8 from September 2017. We look forward to going from strength to strength.
“If any family is interested in joining our Sixth Form from this September or finding out more about our expansion from September next year, please get in touch once the new term starts.”