GCSE joy at Ponteland High School

Katrina Sanders.
Katrina Sanders.

Ponteland High School has achieved its best ever GCSE results this year despite changes to subjects and exams.

When combining English and maths subjects, 79 per cent of students achieved at least a ‘standard pass’ – 4 or better under the new number grades system for both English and maths – which is an increase on the 2016 results (76 per cent).

Ponteland High School headteacher Kieran McGrane.

Ponteland High School headteacher Kieran McGrane.

Grade 4 or better was achieved by 89 per cent of students in English and 81 per cent of pupils in maths and the ‘strong pass’ figures – grade 5 or better – were 70 per cent for English and 64 per cent for maths.

The new qualifications include three tiers of grades (7, 8 and 9) to replace A* and A.

A total of 11 students gained grade 9 in English qualifications and the number for maths was also 11.

Twenty eight per cent of all English grades were 7 to 9 and 21 per cent of all maths grades were 7 to 9.

Other notable achievements include 20 per cent of students receiving five or more A*, A and English and maths 7 to 9 grades and 41 per cent gained five or more A* to B and English and maths 6 to 9 grades.

Katrina Sanders was among the star students. She got the top grade of 9 in English language, English literature and maths and A*s in biology, business studies, chemistry, French, geography, physics, religious studies and Spanish.

The 16-year-old Ponteland resident will return to Pont High to study A-levels in chemistry, maths, further maths and physics.

She said: “I was nervous coming to the school and shaking when I opened the envelope, then I started crying tears of joy when I saw my results.

“I was expecting to get 7s in my English subjects, so I was really happy to get 9s in both English language and English literature.

“I would like to thank all my teachers for their support.

“At the moment, the plan is to study maths at university. I find the subject very interesting.”

In addition, 31 per cent of Pont High students achieved the English Baccalaureate, which includes strong passes in English and Maths to complement C or better grades in science, a humanities and a language qualification – 33 per cent when including standard passes in English and maths.

Headteacher Kieran McGrane said: “I am absolutely delighted with the superb GCSE results our students have achieved this year.

“All schools have been understandably cautious about outcomes this year given the significant changes to GCSE English and maths and the move to terminal exams.

“As such, it is even more pleasing to see that our results have increased from last year.

“All of our staff have worked tirelessly to ensure that our students were well prepared for their exams, but particular mention must go to our English and maths staff who were getting students ready for the first qualifications graded under the new 1 to 9 number grades system.

“To achieve a total of 22 grade 9s was phenomenal given the high standard required to achieve this top grade.

“Our students have applied themselves diligently and conscientiously and they should be rightfully proud of their achievements.

“Thanks also to parents for their support throughout what will have been an anxious and trying time.”