THEY said the only way was down after a Government toughening of exams.
But while fewer students passed their A-levels nationally with the highest grades, that wasn’t the case in Wigan yesterday.
Borough’s sixth form centres saw records tumble again, especially as far as the number of exams passed with A*s, As and Bs were concerned.
Winstanley College, which often appears near the top of national exam tables, saw achievement rates very similar to those from last year apart from that the percentage of exams passed with an A* rose from 11.2 to 12.9 per cent.
Principal Louise Tipping said: “We are really pleased. The results have held up in the face of funding cuts and curriculum changes including the taking out of modularity and getting rid of January re-sits. Nationally they said the grades do seem to be going downwards and we were a little bit anxious that our figures might be affected because of the re-sits too. But they are actually a little bit better than we expected.”
The overall pass rate at Winstanley for exams was 98.8 per cent with 35 per cent of them earning an A* or A.
St John Rigby College at Orrell had plenty to celebrate too with its own trend-bucking performance. Its higher grade pass rate (A* to B) rocketed by a whopping eight per cent.
Principal Peter McGhee said: “It has been a well qualified cohort who did well in their AS levels so we were predicting a five per cent increase in higher grades but they exceeded that, which is superb. We have quite an inclusive intake so we are very proud that 49 per cent of grades were A* to B. That’s a lot of people celebrating. Obviously there are individual disappointments but things have been improving for each of the last four years.”
The Deanery’s sixth form students celebrated its best ever pass rate of 100 per cent in all 28 subject, and its best ever AS level pass rate approaching 90 per cent. Almost three quarter of A-level and equivalent results were A* to C and a record number of students achieved distinction star levels in vocational courses.
A spokeswoman said: “We are very proud of all our students and congratulate them on their achievements!”
Astley St Mary’s RC High also hailed its best ever results. The students once again achieved over a 99.7 per cent gaining an A* to E pass rate but with a significant increase in the number of students achieving the highest grades. In all, 47 per cent of all grades were at A*/A or their equivalent, 67 per cent were A* to B and 89 per cent were A* to C or their equivalent.
Head Andrew Dawson said: “The results that the students have achieved are outstanding and are due to their ability, hard work and determination.” He was also full of praise for the staff.
History was also made with the first ever crop of results from a free school in the borough. Atherton Community School’s cohort only consituted 24 students so not too much can be read into percentages but 94.1 per cent of exams yielded A* to C and a massive 70.6 per cent of results were A* to A.
Head of sixth form Matt Bold said: “We are delighted with this excellent set of results. We had just a small group of students but they have achieved what they set out to do, whether it is going on to university or taking up employment. I am very proud to be heading this sixth form college.”
Wigan and Leigh College, whose curriculum is currently undergoing a shake-up, saw a 96 per cent pass rate with 62 per cent of students achieving high grades.
Vice-principal Anna Dawe said the college was delighted with the students’ achievements.
l For more stories and results, see tomorrow’s paper.