English Martyrs pupils celebrate record-breaking GCSE exam results

English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College deputy head Peter McMahon and pupil Louise Connor hold their GCSE results as pupils Katie Cummings, Daniel Narshall, Amy Cowan, James Paylor, Joseph Griffiths and Bethany Grimwood jump for joy. Picture by FRANK REID BY FRANK REID
English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College deputy head Peter McMahon and pupil Louise Connor hold their GCSE results as pupils Katie Cummings, Daniel Narshall, Amy Cowan, James Paylor, Joseph Griffiths and Bethany Grimwood jump for joy. Picture by FRANK REID BY FRANK REID

PUPILS are celebrating after their school got top marks in record-breaking GCSE results.

English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College was the top performing school in Hartlepool, with 72 per cent of children getting five or more A*-C grades including maths and English – a jump of 21 per cent from the previous year.

English Martyrs deputy headteacher Peter McMahon said: “These are the best results in the school’s history and we are of course delighted.

“They are testament to the hard work of students and the dedication and commitment of staff. Such good results are no accident.”

Councillor Chris Simmons, Hartlepool Borough Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, said he was delighted to see the improvement, which was mirrored across the town.

The town’s 2010 result of 49.3 per cent was bettered by seven per cent, with an average of 56.4 per cent of pupils achieving at least A*-C passes with maths and English.

The national average is 58.2 per cent, and most schools in Hartlepool, Billingham and east Durham bettered or came close to that figure.

Coun Simmons said: “Last year saw our young people achieve the best-ever GCSE results in the town’s history, and I would once again like to congratulate everyone involved in that.

“In Hartlepool there is an exceptional commitment to helping our young people achieve their full potential, and this is backed by the very strong partnership between the council and the town’s schools.

“We are making great strides each year and we will continue to strive to achieve the very best for our young people.”

Hartlepool’s St Hild’s C of E School had the lowest results in the area with just 38 per cent of pupils getting the grades, a drop of three per cent from the year before.

Wellfield Community School, in Wingate, and Northfield School and Sports College, in Billingham, also had low scores of 44 per cent and 45 per cent respectively.

Dave Ford, head of achievement services in children and young people’s services at Durham County Council, said he was “delighted” overall with his area’s results.

The authority reached an average of 60 per cent – two per cent above the national average.

He added: “By supporting more of our young people to get the qualifications they need, we are ensuring they have the best possible start in life to pursue their chosen careers.

“While we are never complacent and will continue to strive for even better results.”

Schools should have at least 35 per cent of pupils getting five A*-C GCSEs including maths and English according to Government targets, which ministers say are intended to raise standards.

There were 107 schools who failed to make the grade nationally with Schools Minister Nick Gibb saying they highlight “a shocking waste of talent”.

Mr Gibb said: “All too often, pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds aren’t given the same opportunities as their peers. But there are great examples of schools achieving the best for their disadvantaged pupils. If they can get it right, then so can all schools.”