It's all smiles for Wigan GCSE pupils

Thousands of Wigan teenagers are assessing their options today after they were part of a history-making year for GCSE results.

Friday, 13th August 2021, 11:39 am
Lowton High School pupils celebrate their GCSE results: Lily Chesworth, Sophie Norgrove, Savannah Normanton and Eleanor Simpson

The proportion of GCSE entries awarded top grades has surged to an all-time high after exams were cancelled for the second year in a row due to Covid-19.

Hundreds of thousands of youngsters have been given results determined by their teachers, with pupils only assessed on what they have been taught during the pandemic.

Overall, 28.9 per cent of UK GCSE entries were awarded one of the three top grades this year, up by 2.7 percentage points on last year when 26.2 per cent achieved the top grades, figures for England, Wales and Northern Ireland show.

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In 2019, when exams were last held, only a fifth of entries achieved at least a 7 – the equivalent of an A grade.

As with the A-levels earlier this week, the Government is not planning to publish league tables this year because of the unfairness from comparing the figures with those of other years.

But there has been much to celebrate locally.

At Golborne High School, which has enjoyed remarkable success in recent years it said it was celebrating “not just the outstanding results of our Year 11 pupils but their resilience and strength of character of which we are all so proud.”

Headteacher Alison Gormally added: “Our Year 11 pupils have suffered more than any year group due to the National pandemic but they have never given up. The staff and Governors at Golborne High School have been humbled by the fortitude of our Year 11 pupils who have shown such positivity and determination in a climate of confusion.

“The results they have achieved are the outcome of 5 years of hard work and dedication. The fact that these results have been reached by a different route does not, and must not, diminish the achievements of our pupils.

“As a headteacher, I have never been prouder of a group of pupils. The journey that our Year 11 pupils have taken has been fraught with difficulties this year but they have risen above the obstacles and approached the challenges with optimism and determination.

“I would like to thank our Year 11 pupils for the contribution they have made to Golborne High School over the last five years and for being a delight to work with. I would also like to thank the staff for their absolute commitment to ensuring that Year 11 pupils were supported and did not suffer during this time of anxiety. I would also like to thank the parents of Year 11 pupils for their unwavering trust in the staff and their constant support throughout this very difficult time.

“Now, it is time to celebrate the achievements of our incredible pupils and for them to move onto the next stage of their journey with confidence and pride, knowing that they can succeed whatever challenges life throws at them.

“We are incredibly proud of the success that all of our Year 11 pupils have achieved. We will miss our Year 11 pupils and we will follow their success with interest and pride. Congratulations and good luck to all of you.”

Fred Longworth High School headteacher Paul Davies said: “After an incredibly difficult and uncertain few months, our Year 11 students have this morning received their Key Stage 4 results.

“We are proud of the way in which our Year 11 students have handled the incredibly difficult circumstances of the last few months and they can be extremely proud of what they have achieved. We are delighted that they have been awarded their teacher-assessed grades and that they now have the opportunity to step forward into a bright future.”

Results at Dean Trust Rose Bridge continue to improve with many pupils making excellent progress.

Head of School Lucy Cropper said: “We’re incredibly proud of the results that our pupils are receiving today. Despite the complexities of the last 18 months, our pupils and staff have gone above and beyond to ensure the very best outcomes are secured so as to set our pupils up for excellent futures”.

Always a high performer, St Peter’s High at Orrell was also celebrating good results.

Headteacher Andy McGlown said: “We are incredibly proud of the grades achieved by the class of 2021 at St. Peter’s and the hard work and determination that these grades represent.

“The vast majority of students hit or exceeded the targets we set for them and to have done this in the circumstances of the disruption caused by the pandemic is remarkable. In every exam year there are stories to tell of some students overcoming adversity to achieve their goals. It is not an overstatement to say that this year every student has had to do this and they should be as proud of each and every one of their grades as we are.

At the Deanery High students were able to collect their results in person and celebrate their successes with friends and family.

Headteacher Martin Wood said: “After everything they have been through this year, we are incredibly proud of the achievements of all our students. They have shown such resilience and dedication to their studies over the last 12 months in particular, facing so many challenges and so much uncertainty. We are so pleased that they have been rewarded with such excellent results today.

“I would also like to thank the teaching staff for their commitment to excellent standards and for their professionalism and integrity when determining the Teacher Assessed Grades this year. Each and every result will help to ensure our students flourish in the future; we wish all of them the very best. We look forward to welcoming many of them back into the Sixth Form at The Deanery in September.

“Staff and students have worked hard, supported by their families, over the last five years to reach the high standards that they have. They have earned these grades and we wish them every success in the future.”

Hawkley Hall High’s headteacher Matthew Klinck said; “We are extremely proud of our Year 11 cohort this year. They have achieved excellent results in the most challenging of circumstances. They have shown great resilience throughout the pandemic, particularly during lockdowns and periods of self-isolation when they remained extremely focused on their work, attending online lessons with their teachers and working independently.

“I would also highlight the huge commitment of teachers and support staff who have had to adapt their practices and play an enhanced role in the final assessment of students. I hope that all members of the Year 11 cohort will take great pride in their results and everyone in the Hawkley family wish them well in their education and future pursuits, whatever they may be.”

At Astley St Mary’s bosses said it was about celebrating pupil achievements in a year like no other and a set of results which will enable them to take the next steps in their lives with the hope of normality so that their ambitions can be achieved.

Headteacher Andrew Dawson said: “Today is not about sniping or mummering about grade inflation; today is about focusing on young people who have missed months of their education in the most vital years. Unless you are a 16 or 18 year old, or a parent of a young person in an examination year, it is difficult to comprehend the stress and pressure that lockdown, bubble closures and self-isolation have placed on young people who just want to do well and secure their future.

“As a result of their hard work and resilience combined with the support, professionalism and dedication of staff the young people now have these qualifications which allow them to progress in their life. We should be recognising this and celebrating this milestone in their lives.”

Jack Farrimond, Chair of Governors spoke of his pride for the achievement of the students and gratitude for the hard work of staff.

“I am thrilled that the young people have been able to have their hard work recognised after an unparalleled year and want to thank the staff for their unwavering support in enabling the students to achieve these grade.”

Standish High headteacher Lindsay Barker said: “It has been a very different results day at Standish Community High School this year and, despite the unique challenges the class of 2021 have had to face, it has been immensely pleasing for them to be able to celebrate their personal successes.

Amidst a backdrop of and national uncertainty, students have had to try and remain calm and wait for their results – which this year have been awarded after the pupils sat a series of centre-delivered assessments which were then submitted to the national exam boards for certification.

“This unprecedented set of circumstances is simply the latest in a long line of challenges that the class of 2021 have had to face over the last 18 months. The last two academic years have been continually hit with disruptions and periods of absence and virtual learning – as well as massive uncertainty around the pupils’ examinations, leavers’ celebrations and pathways for further education and employment. During this period, teachers were amazed with the levels of dedication students applied to their home learning and the quality of the work they produced – as well as the positivity and can-do attitude they brought to events such as the end of year Leavers’ Bonanza and the virtual open days for colleges and FE institutions.

“One thing is for certain though – everyone at Standish is determined that these students don’t feel like their hard work, and the successes that have come from it today, should be in any way devalued by the uncertainty that has surrounded this process. To that end, everyone at Standish is keen to celebrate the individual success stories as well as the overall picture of achievement. The results awarded today, as ratified by the national examining bodies, are as impressive as any other year and in amongst the overall picture of success there have been many exceptional performances and much to be pleased about.

“I’m delighted for all our students and their families.

“The levels of resilience and determination they have shown since the original lockdown in March up until today has been nothing short of remarkable. It’s been nearly two years of disruption for these students, but I’m convinced they will have learned some valuable life lessons throughout these challenging times and now they also have the grades they deserve to successfully move on to the next stage of their journey. We couldn’t be happier that the grades awarded accurately reflect all their talent and hard work.”

Finally, Standish Community High School recorded sincere thanks to the parents of the class of 2021 for their continued support over the last five years. The success of this cohort of students clearly reflects the accomplishments of a collaborative commitment made by students, staff, parents and Governors.

St John Fisher Catholic High School headteacher Alison Rigby said: “Our results are improving and what we are especially proud of this year is the significant individual achievements, with a number of pupils achieving a clean sweep of Grade 8s and 9s.

“We are also delighted with the progress our pupils have made, from coming into school to leaving, and many have left with significantly better grades than were first expected. As a school, that makes us so proud.

“This year group have had to deal with home schooling in Year 10 and then all the uncertainty of whether they would sit their exams in Year 11 and, through all this adversity, they have dealt with it extremely well and have come out with excellent grades.

“Many of our pupils will go on to study A-Levels, at St John Rigby and other colleges, some are going into the armed forces and some have already started apprenticeships. We are proud of all of them.”

Lowton Church of England High School students have today celebrated a stunning set of GCSE results.

Over half of students (54%) have been awarded a strong pass, grade 5 or more, in both English and mathematics and around a quarter have achieved the highest grades in both subjects.

Success was not just limited to English and mathematics. Success was strong across the board.

In over half of all subjects, around a third of students achieved the highest grades. Even more impressively, more than half of the students achieved a strong pass in almost every single subject.

This comes on the back of a challenging year for all students across the country in which students did not sit their examinations in normal circumstances, but instead sat rigorous assessments over several months to demonstrate what they could do.

Kieran Larkin, the school’s headteacher who joined the school last September, said: “I am immensely proud of the way our students have persevered throughout the pandemic and coped with the disruption it undoubtedly caused. They have shown incredible resilience, perseverance, courage and determination throughout. These results demonstrate what hard work and commitment can bring and allow them to make real choices for their future studies, training, or employment.

Rosemary Johnston, Chair of Governors, on behalf of all the governors said: “For both students and staff at Lowton, the past couple of academic years have been extremely uncertain. We have the utmost respect for the resilience demonstrated by this year’s Year 11s and for the professionalism of our staff. The students should be congratulated on a set of excellent results and we wish them well in the future.”

Dean Trust Wigan are pleased with the achievements by students in GCSEs and other qualifications this summer.

James Haseldine Executive Headteacher said: “We are immensely proud of all the work and achievements of our pupils, especially after they have faced such a challenging year.

"This year, following the cancellation of exams, grades were awarded through a process of teacher assessed grades, and approved and awarded by the exam boards. The government is not publishing performance data for any schools this year due to the varying impact of the pandemic.

"Leaders, teachers and associate staff at Dean Trust Wigan have worked tirelessly to ensure pupils can progress onto further education and study, and we look forward to seeing what pupils will achieve in the future.”

There was delight at Hindley High School as Year 11 pupils collected their results. The pupils, who have experienced more disruption to their formal education than any year group since the second world war overcame adversity to achieve well-deserved results.

Acting Headteacher Jude Norman said: "These pupils have had to be resilient and independent. They have sat a series of tests under exam conditions like any other year group and their results are well earned. We could not be more proud of the class of 2021."