THE numbers were up for a Teesside Academy as students celebrated a raft of new level nine GCSE grades designed to recognise the very highest performing scholars.
Twelve Year 11 students at The King’s Academy, Coulby Newham, gained the highest grade available under the government’s new GCSE exam grading scheme for their maths exam, with eight students securing the award in English.
The 2017 students are the first year group to sit the tougher exams in English and maths with the new qualification containing more challenging content and assessed through end of course exams rather than coursework.
The new grading system, from one to a maximum of nine – higher than A* – has been adopted in three subjects: maths, English Language and English Literature. The new scale will be phased in to all other GCSE examinations over the next two years.
Outstanding results were achieved by Jack Cassell, James MCrum and James Wood, who each achieved two nines, one eight, five A*s and one A; Zahra Haza with one nine, one eight, one seven, five A*s and one A; Coleena Collins with one nine, two eights, four A*s and two As; Joseph Bennett with one nine, one seven, one six, five A*s and two As; Dilon D’Souza with two eights, one seven, five A*s and an A; and Simran Singh with one nine, two eights, three A*s and three As.
Jack Cassell, 16, of Coulby Newham, who is joining the sixth form at The King’s Academy to study maths, physics and French before pursuing a carer as a pilot in the RAF, said: “I felt quite calm this morning – there wasn’t anything I could do to change the results at that point. It was only when I actually got into school that I started to get a bit nervous.
“I was really surprised to get a nine in both my maths and English exams, especially with this being the first year that the grading system had changed; surprised but really happy.”
James McCrum, 16, of Nunthorpe added: “I am exceptionally happy with my results which will enable me to stay on at The King’s in the sixth form to study maths, physics, history and maybe psychology too.”
An exceptional individual performance was attained by Charlie-Mai Robinson, 16, who overcame the challenges of being visually impaired to achieve two nines, one seven, one A*, four As and a B.
“It was a lot of hard work but it really paid off,” said Charlie-Mai. “I got a lot of help from the teaching staff here at The King’s and I’m really pleased with my results.”
Mum Gemma added: “I’m so proud of her. There have been a few tears this morning, from both of us, and I’m sure there will be a few more when we get home.
“I always had every faith in Charlie-Mai as she has worked so hard. She did get me a little worried this morning but her results are exceptional and we couldn’t be happier.”
Student Milad Khajapoor, who joined The King’s Academy in Year 9 from Iran and spoke no English, showed superb dedication to his studies to achieve a grade seven in mathematics with good passes in science and engineering.
“On my first day here a teacher asked me how old I was and I couldn’t even answer a question as simple as that,” said Milad.
“My English teacher, Miss Ship, has been brilliant ever since I arrived and by the start of Year 10 I was able to communicate with teachers and all my friends.
Milad, 16, of Middlesbrough, who hopes to join The King’s Academy sixth form, added:
“I put a lot of work into my maths studies, staying back after school, asking for extra homework and managing to move from set six to set two so I am really proud of my result.”
Principal David Dawes said: “Overall these are the best ever results for The King’s Academy.
“Sixty six percent of our students gained at least grade four in both maths and English, with boys and girls both having exceeded the most recent national averages. This is an exceptional result, representing a huge uplift over the past two years and underscoring the effectiveness of the improvements made.
“A quarter of all grades are at A*-A, with 70 per cent at C or better. Our high achieving boys gained particularly strong results this year and an excellent three quarters of students gained a good pass in English and the same proportion in maths.”