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Hartlepool students buck national trend with GCSE success

Pupils at St Hild's Church of England School, after they collected their GCSE results. Picture by FRANK REID
Pupils at St Hild's Church of England School, after they collected their GCSE results. Picture by FRANK REID

Hartlepool GCSE students appear to have bucked the national trend for success in the key subjects of English and maths.

Young people in Hartlepool again achieved some very good GCSE grades in the face of major changes in the exams and their grading system.

Town education chiefs say the changes make it difficult to compare this year’s results with previous years.

They say early indications are that the results are generally in line with last year and the national picture.

But pass rates in the core subjects of English and mathematics look to have improved, bucking the national trend this year.

Mark Patton, Hartlepool Borough Council’s Assistant Director (Education), said: “Students and teachers faced huge challenges in preparing for GCSEs this year.

“In many subjects there were no past papers to guide revision and to help students and their teachers to gauge what grades they were likely to get.

“In spite of this, our students have done well, particularly in mathematics and English.

“Nationally, early indications are that the pass rates in English and in mathematics have fallen this year – in Hartlepool we have bucked this trend because our pass rates in these two core subjects look to have improved.”

He added: “These GCSE outcomes mean that more of our young people will be able to study the subjects they want to in our sixth forms or colleges, or start the training courses or apprenticeships they want to do.”

This year for the first time, most GCSE subjects are graded from 9 to 1, with 9 and 8 being roughly equivalent to the old A* grade.

The old C grade has been replaced by two new gradings - 4 for a pass and 5 for a strong pass.

The new GCSEs featured more difficult content and were mostly marked on final exams rather than course work.

Councillor Brenda Harrison, Chair of the council’s Children’s Services Committee, added: “My warmest congratulations go to all the students who have sat this year’s GCSEs and the teachers, parents and carers who have supported and encouraged them.

“An awful lot of hard work and dedication has gone into reaching this point today, especially in the face of the additional pressures brought on by this year’s major changes in the exams and the marking system.

“I am very pleased to see that at this early stage it looks like Hartlepool students have done so well in English and in mathematics.

“These are basic skills that our young people will need to access further education or training.

“I wish all this year’s students good luck and every success in the future.”