Pupils at Norham High School, North Shields, are celebrating a great set of GCSE results, with some particularly brilliant achievements from a number of star performers.
This year’s group were the first to sit new, tougher-style GCSEs in maths and English, meaning they faced a move away from coursework and a focus on longer and more intensive exam assessments in the summer, plus a new grading system.
They also sat a range of ‘older-style’ foundation GCSEs in a range of subjects including science, history, French, geography and art.
In maths, one star pupil achieved the gold standard Grade 9, with a number of others achieving very high Grade 8s in both maths and English.
Overall, 60 per cent of pupils achieved Grade 9 to 4 in maths. The school has placed a particular focus on its maths teaching this year, including the delivery of extra curricular maths activities to ensure pupils have every chance to develop their maths skills.
In English, 41 per cent of pupils achieved a Grade 9 to 4 in the new, tougher-style exams. The school has worked hard to support its pupils to successfully tackle the challenging new English exams, which placed a greater focus on wider understanding of context and knowledge recall.
Support has included offering innovative sound training to pupils to allow them to build a better understanding of language and vastly improve literacy levels.
The school’s English and maths results have been supported by excellent results in the foundation subjects.
Across its 15 foundation subjects, Norham has seen significant improvements in many areas including science, with 64 per cent of pupils achieving C or above in core science, compared to 51 per cent in 2016, and 77 per cent of pupils achieving C and above in additional science, compared to 66 per cent last year.
The number of pupils achieving A* in history leapt to 17 per cent, compared to three per cent last year. Art also saw a massive jump, rocketing to 100 per cent of pupils achieving C or above compared to 33 per cent in 2016.
These achievements demonstrate the continued overall improvement across a wide range of subjects at Norham High School.
Executive headteacher David Baldwin said: “Our pupils have achieved some excellent results across a range of subjects, so today we are celebrating that in style.
“Pupils at Norham come from a wide range of backgrounds and many of those pupils have made outstanding progress based on their starting points when they first came to us.
“We particularly want to celebrate the achievements of those pupils who have secured brilliant, personal results and overcome a number of challenges to do so.
“The new-style GCSEs in English and maths examinations have proved particularly challenging for some of our pupils. We anticipated that the move from a mix of coursework and examinations to a focus on longer-style examinations would be a challenge in itself for some.
“We also anticipated that the changed examination content, particularly in English, would be a challenge for some. That’s why we we’ve been working particularly hard to prepare our pupils for this year’s GCSE exams, including using some really innovative techniques to build our pupils’ understanding, skills and enthusiasm in the core subjects of maths and English.
“Our performance in maths is a testament to the focus we’ve placed on supporting our pupils to be mathematical problem solvers rather than just learning by rote. Our maths focus goes beyond the maths classroom, with lunchtime times tables challenges, the use of maths in IT, regular maths contests and more.
“A significant number of our pupils have achieved exceptional results, with one achieving an amazing Grade 9 in maths, and we’re very proud of that.
“We offer 15 other foundation subjects at GCSE and we’re delighted to see some significant improvements in many of those subjects. This demonstrates our continued overall improvement across a wide range of subjects here at Norham.
“Today is all about our pupils - what they’ve achieved so far and what they’ll achieve next. The future is all theirs.”