Students at Alnwick's Duchess’s Community High School have secured impressive GCSE results despite major changes to the national exam system.
This year group has been the first to fully experience the changes, including more challenging, end-of-course, exams that have meant most students have faced 30% more papers during the exam period. They have also seen major reductions in coursework as part of the exam grades.
But DCHS headteacher Maurice Hall has said they have 'worked extremely hard to secure impressive results'.
The grades for many subjects have changed from A* to G to a new ranking of 9 to 1. In simple terms, this means that grades 8 and 9 are equivalent to the old A* (with grade 9 being the top 20%), grade 7 similar to an A grade, grades 6/5/4 linked to the old B and C grades, grades 3/2/1 linked to the old D to G grades.
However, not all subjects have changed to these numerical grades so many students will still be getting a mixture of letters and numbers.
Mr Hall said: "The students in this year group would be the first to admit that they have been the most diverse and varied set of young people we have had in a long time. Many have been a joy to be with although some have had their moments!
"However, as a year group, they have matured, grown in confidence, and faced the challenges of the new exams full on.
"At this point, over 60% of our students, entered by the school, have achieved a grade 4 or above in English and Maths. One in six of the entries across all subjects have been scored as a 7 or A grade or above.
"We have 13 students who have achieved five or more grade 9/8/A*’s – similar to 2017. Of these, four students have achieved five or more
grade 9’s – a fantastic achievement!
"As a school we consider success with a broad brush. We have seen excellent results in many other subjects including Art, Physical Education, French, Spanish, Religious Education, Engineering and Childcare.
"To see the smiles and sense of relief on many faces provides all of us with a feeling of satisfaction. With so many changes to our education system we cannot be complacent and we are already looking to what further improvements we need to make to support and challenge all our students on their return to school next month.
"Once again, thank you to everyone for their help and support in making sure our young people achieve the results they deserve."