Council ‘in the dark’ over students’ GCSE pass rate

Pupils at St Cuthbert's High celebrate their results
Pupils at St Cuthbert's High celebrate their results

Students across St Helens received their GCSE results today ... but council chiefs say they remain in the dark over how the borough’s pupils fared.

Against a backdrop of nationally falling GCSE pass rates, education bosses at the town hall told the St Helens Reporter they did not have information on how many students scored five or more *A to C grades.

Pupils at St Cuthbert's with their results

Pupils at St Cuthbert's with their results

However, they were able to collate borough-wide data for a newly-established measurement called Attainment 8, which showed an improvement in attainment.

Council chiefs say they did not have information on what percentage of pupils achieved the benchmark standard, insisting the figures were only released by individual schools.

Neighbouring Knowsley, however, saw a borough-wide decrease, with 36.5 per cent of pupils getting *A to C (including maths and English) compared to 37.4 per cent last year.

Some St Helens schools did release the benchmark grades.

St Cuthbert’s recorded its best ever results after 54 per cent of students achieved five A*-C grades, a five per cent increase on last year’s performance.

Heaadteacher Catherine Twist said: “As a new Headteacher, I am delighted to see this year’s results improve on last year’s and with the changes we have made in school, this trend will continue.

“A good set of results goes a long way in a young person’s career path. However, at St Cuthbert’s our students leave with much more than GCSE results. They are part of the St Cuthbert’s family and as such, we have been encouraged and supported them to move on and “live life in all its fullness.”

Rainhill High and Cowley International College also posted impressive results, with 24 per cent of all grades awarded at Rainhill being A or A* and the average of all grades for all students going from a C to a B.

While at Cowley, 69 per cent of the year group achieved five or more A* to C grades (or equivalent); and an impressive 142 A*- A grades were awarded.

John Pout, Headteacher at Rainhill High said: “Once again, I am so proud of our students and their achievements. Each year I am amazed at the improvements we see which are down to the hard work and dedication of the students and staff at the school.

“Many of our students are keen to follow on with their success story having had a great experience so far and have already enrolled to the Rainhill 6th Form.

We have a number of students entering our 6th form from other schools to join that success story.”

Cowley International College Principal, Cameron Sheeran, said: “I am proud of all our students and it is a pleasure to see so many superb individual performances.

“Students and staff have worked incredibly hard; the unwavering determination of everyone involved to achieve these top grades is truly inspiring.

“Revision classes, exam support and the production of quality revision materials are all contributing factors to this outstanding day for Cowley.”

Coun Andy Bowden, cabinet member for education, said: “I’d like to congratulate all those students across the borough who worked so hard to achieve these results.

“They can now look forward to further studies - or the world of work and training. It is an exciting time for them all, and for their futures.

“However, as I said after last week’s A-level results, exam results should not define our young people. Yes, they’re important, but for those who didn’t get what they were looking for, there are still plenty of opportunities available and I would encourage you to speak to your school or local college and ask for advice about the options out there for you.”

In the Attainment 8 grade there was an improvement in the town secondaries.

The measurement reflects the achievement of students across eight qualification, measuring a student’s average grade across those subjects.

Last year, the overall Attainment 8 score for St Helens was 46.0 per cent compared to the national figure in 2015 of 48.4 per cent. This year, St Helens Attainment 8 figure is 49.1 per cent.