Results in schools across Manchester this year show that pupils have risen to the challenge of the brand new exams in maths and English, despite being the first pupils to sit these new exams designed to be more demanding. The new exams – sat as final exams at the end of two years of study with no coursework element to them – are also graded differently from 1 up to the highest possible grade 9, a brand new mark only awarded to the most outstanding students nationally.
Among the pupils celebrating one or more grade 9s across the city were Florence Jones and Obera Safdar of Levenshulme High School, Roy Fitzgerald of Loreto High School, Arbab Ali Choudhry of Manchester Creative Academy, Matthew Kilpatrick, Kate Pickup and Lewis Grey of Parrs Wood School and Amelia Taylor and Ella Prais of King David High School. Indeed, Arbab Ali Choudhry’s three grade 9s, in Maths, English Language and English Literature make her one of only 2,000 students in the country to achieve three grade 9s.
But it wasn’t just about the top results, with pupils around the city seeing their endeavours rewarded and a host of individual success stories.
While the changes make it hard to compare with previous results, initial indications are that the picture is a positive one. In Manchester 54.5% of pupils achieved good passes of grades 4 or above in English and Maths. and some 67.4% of pupils achieved grades 4+ in English and 60.1% in Maths. This is encouraging the context of a national decrease which reflects the increased rigour of the exams.
Councillor Luthfur Rahman, lead member for schools for Manchester City Council, said: “It’s been a challenging year for schools and pupils with the changes we’ve seen in all exams, particularly in the new maths and English exams.
“Despite this we’ve seen some great individual results in schools across the city and it’s clear the hard work of staff and of course pupils themselves has really paid off.
“This year has been one of the hardest yet for pupils sitting their GCSEs, so I couldn’t be prouder of every pupil out there who has tried their hardest. Whether they got top marks or not, it take a lot of hard work to get through exams – even more so this time round.”