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Overall rise in GCSE results in Norfolk and Suffolk masks day of wide disparities between schools and districts

PUBLISHED: 17:40 20 August 2015 | UPDATED: 11:31 21 August 2015

Diss High School GCSE students get their results. Kirsty Firth and Annie Murton can't believe how well they have done.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Diss High School GCSE students get their results. Kirsty Firth and Annie Murton can't believe how well they have done. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Archant Norfolk.

GCSE results in Norfolk and Suffolk have improved in a year which saw wide variations between schools and districts.

Norfolk County Council said 54.8pc of students achieved the government’s gold standard of five A*-C grades, including English and maths.

That represented a 2.1p percentage points increase on last year, but was well short of the 60pc forecast last term.

Suffolk County Council said the provisional results showed 56pc of pupils had achieved the gold standard, a 4 percentage point increase on 2014.

However, that figure could change because it was based on results of “over 80pc of Suffolk schools”, compared to the 100pc of Norfolk schools who submitted data.

Norfolk’s results showed particular gains in schools in the west of the county - the most improved district - and among schools that received “intensive challenge and intervention” from the council.

Ormiston Venture Academy in Gorleston posted an 18 percentage point increase on last year, with a record 61pc of pupils achieving the gold standard, while Wymondham College appeared to be the top performing state school in Norfolk, with 86pc gaining the key target, with Hethersett Academy second with 74pc.

In Norwich, Sprowston High School and Sewell Park College recorded impressive improvements.

However, there was disappointment at City Academy Norwich, which failed to pass the 30pc mark for the third time in a row, although it was appealing a significant number of grades, and the Hewett, which saw results drop following a year when it was in the eye of bitter controversy about its future.

Two troubled academies in Lowestoft - East Point and Ormiston Denes - also remained below the government’s floor standard of at least 40pc of pupils getting the gold standard.

James Joyce, chairman of Norfolk County Council’s Children’s Services Committee, said: “This administration has made excellence in education a clear priority and today’s results show that our commitment to Norfolk’s young people is paying off. In the light of that commitment, I am really pleased to see such strong improvements in several schools that have been receiving direct intervention from the council.”

Brian Conway, chairman of Norfolk Secondary Education Leaders (NSEL), said: “The improvement of more than two percentage points achieving the gold standard is testament to collective hard work and the drive across Norfolk to improve outcomes.

“It is likely that further increased grades will result from the large numbers of re-marks and appeals which many Norfolk schools are now undertaking, a response to the turbulence in exam board marking evident from some schools’ unexpected results.”

In Suffolk, a free school sponsor launched a review after two of its schools fell below the government’s floor standard in the first set of GCSE results.

The Seckford Foundation Free Schools Trust said it was disappointed with the results for Saxmundham Free School, at 28pc, and Beccles Free School, at 39pc, and will launch an external review.

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