THE rate of Wigan students achieving top grades remained steady despite a “turbulent” year for those hoping for GCSE success.
Almost 4,000 youngsters across the borough opened their results yesterday with 63 per cent achieving five or more A* to C grades including English and maths.
Changes to the way exams are marked and school league tables collated had sparked concerns that this year’s results could show a downturn in performance.
But the borough’s schools saw a drop of just 0.2 per cent from their 2013 benchmark, a second successive fall from 64.2 in 2012.
For the first time in recent years school league tables do not include re-sit results and pupils have been tested in end of course rather than modules exams.
Outgoing Standish Community High School headteacher Lynne Fox said pupils had been put through added stress because of the move away from modular assessments.
Their results exceeded expectations for the year group despite the rate achieving five or more A* to C grades including English and maths fell from 83 to 72, Ms Fox said.
She added: “Many students achieved outstanding personal results, a great reflection of their abilities.
“This year has brought a great deal of anxiety for our youngsters and we have worked tirelessly to ensure that the changes have not distracted our students from focusing on achieving all that they are capable of.”
Pupils at St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic High School saw 79 per cent hitting the five A* to C grades, a drop from 82 per cent.
Newly appointed headteacher Mark Dumican, said the “goalposts had been moved but that students had risen to the challenge”.
He added: “I am delighted for the pupils as they have been able to achieve their full potential and have contributed greatly to the school.”
Hawkley Hall High School students improved on last year with 76 per cent grabbing five or more A* to C grades including English and maths.
Headteacher Roy Halford said: “This is an excellent performance given this year of turbulent examination results brought about by last minute government changes. I am really proud of our students’ success which is due to their hard work and dedication and commitment of our staff.”
Shevington High School hit 73 per cent, an improvement of 12 per cent from last year.
While St Peter’s Catholic High School in Orrell maintained high standards with 78 per cent, a drop of five per cent from the previous year.
Across the country, 61.7 per cent achieved a C or higher in their English exam, down 1.9 from last year, thought to be the biggest drop in the qualification’s history.
Maths was the opposite, with 62.4 per cent hitting top grades, a rise of 4.8.
Coun Joanne Platt, cabinet member for children and young people at Wigan Council, said: “I’d like to congratulate our pupils and teachers, who have worked very hard for these brilliant GCSE results.
“We have an excellent education record here in Wigan borough and that’s down to the ambition of our pupils, the commitment of our teachers and the support of our parents.
“I’d like to thank them all for their hard work and support.”