HARTLEPOOL pupils have been praised after another set of good GCSE results despite major changes to the examination system.
In Hartlepool, the number of pupils achieving five or more A* to C grades including English and maths was 54 per cent - around five per cent lower than last year.
But the Government had warned there would be “volatility” following the overhaul with only results of first exams taken after last September taken into account, rather than re-sits.
Top performing town school was English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College which recorded 65.4 per cent achieving five or more A* to C grades including English and maths.
Michael Lee, headteacher, said: “Our students are to be congratulated on these results in a year when opportunities for resitting examinations were more limited than in the past.
“In light of this, the fact that 65.4 per cent of our students have achieved five or more A* to C grades, including English and maths, is something of which we are very proud.”
St Hild’s C of E also saw its results improve, with 50 per cent getting the top marks including English and maths - a rise of five per cent.
Acting headteacher Penny Barker said: “We are delighted that the hard work of our students and staff has been rewarded, particularly at a time when the Government has been keen to toughen up the system.”
At Dyke House Sports and Technology College the pass rate was 63 per cent, down on last year’s record 75 per cent.
But school leaders say they are still pleased with the results, which remain among the highest in Hartlepool.
Andrew Jordon, principal of Dyke House, said: “Following a record year in 2013 the Academy has gone on to consolidate this high attainment and achievement in 2014 with more than 63 per cent of pupils gaining five or more A* to C including English and mathematics, giving an excellent platform for the opening of the sixth form.
“I am delighted the hard work of all our pupils has paid off and that we continue to go from strength to strength as an academy.”
Anne Malcolm, headteacher at Manor College of Technology, said: “Our headline figure was 50 per cent A* to C in English and maths which is a seven per cent improvement on last year.
“We have also got more A* and A grades than ever before. We had our first Ofsted monitoring visit in July which said that the school is improving at a rapid pace and is addressing issues we had to address.”
High Tunstall College of Science had an overall pass rate of 50 per cent, down one per cent.
Mark Tilling, headteacher, said: “2014 has been a year of massive change in education and the way in which students have been assessed ay GCSE and nationally we have seen volatility in results.
“I am proud to say that High Tunstall has maintained its standards built on good quality teaching and learning.”
Dean Jackson, Hartlepool Borough Council’s assistant director of education, said: “Hartlepool schools have continued to perform well and GCSE results are now over 20 per cent higher than they were 10 years ago, which is a higher rate of improvement than that seen nationally.”
Labour councillor Chris Simmons, chairman of the children’s services committee, said: “The success of our young people is testament to the partnership between the council, schools, colleges, parents, carers and governors and the marvellous work which they do to inspire and encourage our students to reach their full potential.”
Nationally, the A* to C pass rate rose from 68.1 per cent to 68.8 per cent for all subjects, The benchmark figure for A* to C including English and maths will be produced in October, according to officials from the Joint Council for Qualifications. But the overall A* to G pass rate has fallen for the second year running, and is down 0.3 percentage points to 98.5 per cent.