Students collect GCSE results following exam shake up

The wait is finally over for thousands of students as they collect their GCSE results today (23 August).

This is the first year that all subjects have been graded 9-1 rather than A-G, with 9 representing the top mark and higher than the previous A* level. The curriculum has also got harder, with more content for students to learn and tougher questions designed to identity the very top achievers.

Over 3000 students took the exams in Bristol this year. Provisional results for Bristol show that 61.8% of pupils have reached grade 9 – 4 the Government’s agreed ‘pass’ rate. This is an improvement on last year where 59% of pupils achieved the ‘pass’ rate. 40.8% achieved grade 5-9 which is a strong pass.

As part of the new changes to GCSEs, in 2016 the government introduced two new measurements, Attainment 8 and Progress 8. The first of these, Attainment 8, is concerned with individual’s achievement across eight qualifications including English and maths, which are double weighted.

In Bristol there has been a marked increase for this measurement with pupils scoring 45.4% across the city which shows an improvement across all subjects.

Progress 8 measures how well schools have helped students to progress and looks at how much they have improved from the end of Key Stage 2, compared with students nationally with similar starting points. This won’t be available until the government publishes average figures across the country later in the year.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said:

“With so much change in the exam system this year our students have had to overcome many trials to succeed and I wish them all the best with whatever they plan to do next. There are many different options available to young people, whether it’s starting a vocational course, continue studying for A-levels or take the first steps into the working world. We want to see everyone able to succeed in Bristol so I’d encourage young people to talks to friends, family and teachers about what they want to do next. To those who are disappointed with their results I’d say don’t give up – you can still do well in the future.”

Jon Angell, chair of the secondary heads association and Principal at City Academy, said:

“Congratulations to all the students collecting GCSE results today and taking the next step in their education. Early indications are that schools have maintained or improved their positions from last year and given the huge changes to the exam system this year, this is a credit to the teachers, the schools and the students.”

Across the city there have been several success stories with pupils showing incredible improvements:

  • Bridge Learning Campus showed huge improvements with more children achieving a strong pass with almost a 20% points increase in the number of pupils achieving grade 4 and above in English and Maths.
  • Oasis Academy John Williams also showed improvements across the board with almost 14% increase in the number of pupils achieving grades 4 and above in English and Maths.
  • Merchant’s Academy increased the amount of pupils getting a grade four and above English and Maths by 16% points (from 34% in 2017 to 50% this year) and a 12% points increase in pupils getting a strong pass (grade 5 and above).
  • St Bernadette’s Catholic Secondary School also had very strong results where one in three students achieved at least one grade 7 or higher amongst their results, with a 14% points improvement in overall pass rates in English and Maths (grade 4 and above).

Laurence Pitt, Oasis Regional Director for the South West says:

“Congratulations to all of the young people across Bristol who are receiving their results today.

“I know that the students at Oasis academies Brightstowe, Brislington, and John Williams worked extremely hard this year and have made terrific progress – they and their families should be very proud of all that they have achieved.

“It is also important to remember to thank the staff who are so dedicated to Bristol’s young people. I know of countless examples of teachers who go above and beyond for their students, determined to provide them with the fantastic opportunities they deserve.”

This year students will benefit from extra support from the Creative Youth Network which has been commissioned by the council to support young people who may not have got the results they wanted. Experienced youth workers will be on hand to offer advice on the day from 12-4pm at three locations across the city; The Park in Knowle, The Greenway Centre in Southmead and The Station in the city centre.

Free careers advice on everything from CVs to interview techniques is also available throughout the summer at drop-in surgeries held in the Proud to Care career and job shop in the Galleries on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11-3pm.