Yorkshire's independent schools celebrate record GCSE results despite a national drop

Yorkshire's independent schools celebrate record GCSE results despite a national drop

When it comes to stars, Yorkshire has more in its educational firmament than most.

While the country as a whole has seen a decline in top GCSE grades – including the highly covetable A* – schools from across our region have been rewriting the record books.

Bradford Grammar celebrated its best ever results with 93 per cent of papers achieving an A*, A or B grade, and almost three-quarters gaining an A* or A. Sheffield High School broke its own record for A* and A grades too, with the independent girls’ school hitting 77 per cent – an eight per cent rise on 2011.

A similar story unfolded at Harrogate Ladies College, where a record-breaking 62 per cent of grades were either A* or A (35 per cent at A*).

‘These wonderful results are a testament to the girls’ hard work and commitment, the quality of teaching, excellent pastoral care and the breadth of our extra-curricular provision,’ said principal Rhiannon Wilkinson.

‘We work hard to develop a culture of high expectation for girls of all abilities across a wide range of subjects.’

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The high level of expectation at Ampleforth College was also repaid this year with a five per cent rise in A* and A grades, taking it to 59 per cent – its second highest level ever.

While at Giggleswick School records were smashed with 74 per cent of entries achieving A*, A or B grades. Among its most outstanding results were those of twins Joe and Poppy Russell who got 17 A*s and three As between them.

‘This is the first year group to take GCSEs since we restructured the school in 2007, moving our senior entry point to Year 7 from Year 9,’ said headmaster Geoffrey Boult. ‘This means this cohort has benefited from the specialist teaching they have received since Year 7.’

Students at St Peter’s School in York have also done their teachers and parents proud by increasing their A* passes by two per cent to 35 per cent, taking the overall A* to B rate to 89 per cent.

They might make it look easy, but headmaster Leo Winkley insists that GCSEs are a tough test for even the most gifted of pupils.

‘Top grades at GCSE level do not come easily,’ he said. ‘And those that ran the exam marathon this year did so into a Government-imposed headwind. This makes it all the more pleasing that their careful preparation has come off.

‘Employers and universities alike are rightly scrutinising GCSEs for evidence of consistent performance. I’m delighted that our pupils have done themselves, their parents and their teachers proud in this respect.’

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