Bristol Met keeps up its good record
It has been the biggest shake-up in school exams since GCSEs were introduced 30 years ago - but students at Bristol Metropolitan Academy have risen to the challenge.
As teenagers across the country tore open their envelopes to find out whether they had achieved the grades they needed for their future plans, teachers at the Fishponds secondary school were poring over all the results.
And while there is a new marking scheme - the old A* to G grades have been replaced with numbered scores from 9 down to 1 - academy principal Cameron Shaw says the overall performance of the school’s 160 Year 11s is in line with last year’s best-ever results.
This year 55 per cent of Bristol Met students achieved at least a Grade 4 in maths and English - the new benchmark schools are measured against. Last year 54 per cent achieved at least five A*-C or 9-4 grades, including English and Maths.
It was not just the grades that changed this year. Courses were made tougher, and an end to coursework and assessments in most subjects meant that everything hinged on the exams held in May and June.
Mr Shaw said: “We’re really pleased that we seem to have held in line with last year, which was our best set of results ever. 55 per cent of our students left with good passes in both English and mathematics, along with a suite of other subjects.
“Considering the significant changes in the examinations this year, I am delighted that the students at Bristol Met have achieved highly, opening up a range of opportunities for the future. Navigating our students through this time of exam reform has been a challenge met handsomely by our staff and ably supported by our parent and carer body.
“The biggest change between last summer and this summer is the GCSEs themselves. Almost every subject has a brand new exam this year.
“The majority of our young people have sat 20 to 30 two-hour exams in a three-week window, which is a big change for them.
“The entire point of the new syllabus was to not compare last summer with this summer but, of course, the natural thing is that you end up comparing.”
Mr Shaw said marking of this year’s GCSEs would take into account the new changes, to make sure this year’s GCSE students were not unfairly disadvantaged by being the first to sit the new exams.
And although the school in Snowdon Road will have to wait for national figures to find out how well its results compare to others, Mr Shaw congratulated the GCSE candidates for their “excellent outcomes” and said the wider school community could also take great pride in their achievements.