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Nailsea School GCSE results up 10 per cent
It was big beams and a great buzz at Nailsea School on Thursday morning for its best ever GCSE results for nearly a decade.
With nearly three quarters of the students getting above average grades at English and maths it was the best set of exam results since pupils moved to the multi-million building in 2008-9.
Seventy four per cent of pupils gained Grade 4 or higher in English and maths, 52 per cent got Grade 5 or higher, 19 per cent got Grade 7 or higher and 10 per cent achieved Grade 8 or higher.
Head teacher Dee Elliot said: “This year has been one of huge change with a new examination system deliberately designed to be tougher.
“The fact that our school has had a fourth successive yearly increase in the core subject measure, with a 10 per cent improvement on 2016 is phenomenal.
“Breaking into the 70 per cent is a significant milestone for Nailsea School to have achieved.”
This year a new system for grading GCSE results is being used for the first time with the old A* to G grades being replaced with numbers from 9 to 1.
The first courses to use the new marking system are GCSE maths, English literature and English language exams taken this summer.
Next year this grading scheme will be extended to include GCSE science exams.
The new grading system scores pupils from 1 to 9, with Grade 9 being the highest mark and Grade 1 the lowest.
The Government predicts that a pupil who scored a C previously will receive a Grade 4 this year.
To get a level 9 is harder than getting an A*, meaning far fewer students will get the top mark.
Mrs Elliot added: “Today is a day for the students themselves who are rightly celebrating achievements at all levels.
“We work hard at Nailsea School to raise the aspirations and self-belief of all of our students so that they feel they can push themselves to do better than they think is possible.
“Today has demonstrated that this is the case.
“I am thrilled that the hard work of staff and students and the support of parents has culminated in these results today.
“I wish all students the best of luck in whatever the next stage of their education, employment or training is.
“Our 6th form curriculum means that we can offer any student a KS5 pathway, irrespective of GCSE results.
“It will be great to see more than 100 of the students returning to Year 12 at Nailsea in September.”
The new grading is only being rolled out in England with other countries in the UK sticking with the old A-G grading.
The young people getting their exam results at Nailsea School also collected the 2017 leavers Year Book which produced another round of big smiles.
Nationally it is reported the proportion of pupils achieving good GCSE passes in England has fallen this year, amid a blizzard of changes in exams and gradings, including the new nine-point scale in the key subjects of English and maths. There were weaker results in history, maths and geography than last year, but the picture was complicated by changing patterns of entries and some substantial increases in numbers taking the tests as schools adjusted to the new process. Overall, the proportion of students gaining at least a C, or a 4 under the new system, in England fell slightly, from 66.5% to 66.1%, but representatives of the examination boards said that in many subjects the results of older and younger pupils were affecting the national picture, reports Richard Adams and Sally Weale, for the Guardian newspaper.
Backwell School smashes GCSE benchmark
As changes to the GCSEs examinations and the new grading system for English and maths begins, Backwell School students continue to celebrate excellent GCSE results.
Eighty two per cent of students achieved a standard pass - Grade 4 or above - in both English and maths, while 66 per cent received a Grade 5 or higher in both subjects.
Overall 78 per cent of students achieved five A*-C grades including English and maths.
Forty five per cent of students achieved the very challenging combination of higher passes which earns them the English Baccalaureate.
Twenty seven of the new Grade 9 scores were received by Backwell students, who continue to reach the very highest levels of achievement.
One example of such excellence was Jemma Mayler, pictured top right, who achieved the highest grades available to her in every subject with nine A*s and three Grade 9s in English language, English literature and maths, and even found time to take an additional subject gaining an A* at A-level in creative writing.
Jemma couldn’t believe her results when she received them this morning.
She said: "It is all very surreal but it is also really affirming that all the hard work does pay off."
Jemma will be returning to Backwell sixth form in September working towards studying law at university.
Head teacher Jon Nunes said “I am extremely proud of the hard work and determination of our students.
"They have made fantastic progress during their five years with us, a great example being Proby Koskandawala.
"Proby’s final GCSE results were a collective 20 grades higher than expected – meaning that she averaged over two grades higher per subject than her targets – a truly incredible achievement.”
"We would like to congratulate our Year 11 students for all their achievements, both in and out of the classroom."
Backwell School key statistics
82% of students achieved Grade 4 in English and maths
66% of students achieved Grade 5 in English and maths
45% of students achieved the English Baccalaureate
78% of students achieved 5 A*-C grades including English and maths at Grade 4 or above
Our brilliant A-level year
It was mostly tears of joy and big smiles at Nailsea and Backwell secondary schools on Thursday, August 17, when students came to collect their A-level results.
Many already knew if the university of their choice was offering them a place after early morning emails.
And early morning it was at Backwell School as the doors opened at 8am for the young people to collect their envelopes.
Backwell School sixth formers were soon celebrating another excellent set of A-level results.
More than half of all exam entries were graded A* to B, with an impressive overall pass rate of 99.2 per cent.
Every single student achieved qualifications, with no fewer than 29 students achieving grades equivalent to AAA or higher.
Three students - Alice Griffiths, Jasmine Thomas and Alex Walder - gained at least three A* grades.
Also celebrating was head girl, Issie Dowse, who got the three A grades in chemistry, maths and biology she needs to go to veterinary school at Liverpool.
She said: “I have wanted to be a vet since I was 10 years old, and I am so excited to begin my training.”
Deputy head girl Jasmine Thomas is taking a gap year before heading off to Cambridge to read medicine.
And many other students at the village comprehensive are now looking forward to exciting future plans.
These include Katie Galbraith, who in December produced the sixth form production of Hairspray, which raised more than £4,000 for the Alzheimer’s Society.
She is heading to Essex University to further her knowledge of stage and production management, having easily surpassed their entry requirement of CDD with her results of ACC grades.
Outgoing head of sixth form, teacher Toby Rome, said: “I am incredibly proud of this group of students, who have not only achieved academic success, but also grown in so many other ways during the past two years.
“There are of course outstanding straight A* students, but these results also contain countless stories of individual successes against adversity.
“As a year group they have coped brilliantly with the disruption of ongoing changes to the structure of A-levels, and have consistently impressed me with their determination, good humour and thoughtfulness.”
An hour later and Nailsea School was ready to hand out its results.
On hand was head teacher Dee Elliot and head of sixth form Jon Reddiford.
Mrs Elliot said: “Year 13 students at Nailsea School are celebrating another year of superb A-level results, which are up for the third year in a row.
“The number of top grades were up as well with a quarter of A* or A grades being awarded.
“Following on from such great results students have been able to secure places on highly competitive courses at the most sought-after institutions.”
School president Josh Hayler is off to Oxford University to read music along with fellow straight A students Laura Packham and Alice Vaughan-Williams.
Laura will be reading Spanish and linguistics while for Alice Vaughan-Williams it will be maths.
The school maths results were outstanding.
Mrs Elliot added that in addition to this, other students have plans to take gaps years to travel before starting their university courses, joining the world of work or signing for apprenticeships.
Musical Anna Richardson who successfully completed A-levels in fine art and history is starting a song writing course while an ecstatic Charlotte Bray was over-the-moon to make the grade for a nursing degree.
Mr Reddiford said: "We are delighted and immensely proud of what our students have accomplished.
“Congratulations must also go to their teachers and parents for supporting students on achieving these fantastic results.”
After collecting their results many of the Nailsea and Backwell soon-to-be undergraduates headed for Wetherspoons at Nailsea for a well deserved celebratory breakfast.
College class success
Some North Somerset students including those from Nailsea and nearby decided to catch the special college bus and taken their further education qualifications at Weston-super-Mare.
And for many it is the right choice as A-level students at Weston College celebrated phenomenal results this year.
A total of 438 students took their A-levels this year with a pass rate of 99 per cent maintaining the outstanding pass rates the college has enjoyed year-on- year and showing the dedication of both staff and students to continually achieve.
There was more cause for celebration, with 49 per cent of students achieving the top grades of A*-B, and 80 per cent achieving A*-C.
Among the many success stories this year was Steven Eveleigh, who has achieved three A* grades in maths, law and geography and is its top performing student.
He has been offered a place at the University of Bath to read economics in September.
He said: “I’m so relieved to have gotten my results.
"I’ve loved my time at Weston College, and have met so many new people and have had some really amazing experiences.
"It’s definitely something I would do again.”
Katie Handley was also collecting her results today, and with be progressing to Bangor University for English literature with creative writing course.
Katie achieved two Bs in English literature and English language as well as media studies and communications.
She has described her experience at the college as 'so amazing'.
Katie said: “The teachers really helped me.
"I was worried in my first year, but because of the support I got I improved so much and that wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my teachers.”
Weston College group chief executive and principal Dr Paul Phillips said: "Once again our students have proved how they can go above and beyond, and our lecturers have shown that they can create a learning environment in which our students can thrive.
“Our results reflect our high standards of teaching and our commitment to our learners.
"We are proud to be one of the top performing colleges in the country and our continued successes are a promise that all future learners will get the
very best education from us.
“Our students achieve results well above national and international norms.”
Sport personality 2017
It was a glittering evening at Cadbury House when hundreds of sporting stars from Nailsea Schoop got to meet rugby ace Tom Varndell at its presentation evening.
There were lots of individual winners in a variety of disciplines but the overall winners were Jack and Hannah who got to go home with the shields.
Hannah is a county football player.
Rugby ace at premier school sports event
Nailsea School has secured a top signing for its annual sports personality presentation evening.
Guest speaker Tom Varndell is the inspirational English rugby union footballer who plays wing for newly promoted Aviva Premiership club Bristol Rugby.
Varndell also has caps for England and England Sevens as well as having represented other Aviva Premiership sides Leicester Tigers and Wasps.
He is currently the leading try scorer in the Aviva Premiership.
The event on Tuesday, July 18, is at Cadbury House Hotel.
The PE department at Nailsea School benefits from top of the range sport and dance facilities including:
a dance studio with sprung floor, mirrored wall, dance bar, retractable seating and full sound system;
sports hall including four full sized badminton/netball/volleyball courts/Indoor hockey pitch;
all weather pitch – the only one of its kind in the country, with underfloor drainage and full floodlighting;
Two multi-use games areas, housing six fenced in netball courts; and
sports pitch and playing fields at Golden Valley.
Find 41 scarecrows
A Superheroes Scarecrow Trail around Nailsea, raising funds for Golden Valley Primary School, is on Saturday and Sunday, July 15-16.
This year the annual PTA event is being organised by mum Franny Rutherford with a team of helpers.
Maps at £2 to find the 41 scarecrows are on sale at town centre outlets Coates House and the Royal Mail Delivery Centre or any Golden Valley School Association committee members.
The weekend trail runs from 9am to 8pm each day and as well as quessing who the hero is they is an opportunity to choose your favourite scarecrow.
The Scarecrow is a character in the fictional Land of Oz created by American author L Frank Baum and illustrator WW Denslow.
In his first appearance, the Scarecrow reveals that he lacks a brain and desires above all else to have one.
Happy 40th birthday Golden Valley
Golden Valley Primary School opened in Nailsea 40 years ago and all week it celebrated its four decades by invited parents, pupils and staff past and present to a series of assemblies and special exhibitions.
The Nailsea Park school actual 40th birthday was September 2016, the 13th to be exact.
But due to major building works last September the celebration was delayed until Saturday afternoon, July 1, 2017.
There was an exhibition of photographs and exercise books.
The carefully handwritten original class register of just over 100 pupils included details of their addresses, dates of birth, date of entry and where they were from plus their dates of leaving and destination.
Nailsea town and district councillor Jan Barber has been a school governor for 33 years.
She said: “It was all quite nostalgic for me as my younger daughter Fiona was number 70 in the register.
“The school has only had three headteachers, Richard Brock, Alan Shaw and Kevin Lynch which quite an achievement.
“Previous heads, Richard and Alan had taken assemblies during the week running up to Saturday and both were present at the event able to reflect on their experiences and relate various anecdotes to accompany the slide show featuring the original photographs.
“Two of the original five teachers were present, Angela Bellamy and Carol Langford.
Also several past teachers including Carys Legg, Wendy Davey and Rosemary Grainger, other staff members and a host of past pupils and their parents.
“We were able to see round the school and the various changes which have been made.
“The afternoon was rounded off with scones, cream and jam plus drinks in the new kitchen area.
“Altogether a most enjoyable occasion which certainly stirred many memories.
Leading up to the open day children have been doing various ‘history’ projects about the 1970s which made some former pupils feel quite ancient!
Another former parent David Britton went along and took lots of modern day photos.
He said: “Both our children went to Golden Valley, Simon started in 1977 and Sarah in 1979.
“Sarah came with me to the 40th anniversary open day, it was fine weather so we took a short cut across the Scotch Horn playing field through the Nailsea carnival fair crowds, we arrived at the school at about 2.30 just in time for a slide show of past old photos about Golden Valley school.
“We were in quite a crowded main hall where present head teacher Mr Lynch gave a humorous commentary about the photos assisted by previous heads – Mr Brock and Mr Shaw.
“We had a great time looking at loads of old photos and having a look around the school, I had to put a photo in of the excellent LS Lowry paintings the children had done and were displayed on the wall of one corridor.”
Felicity Brock, who is a former secondary school geography teacher, said: Golden Valley school opened early September 1976 but they could not have the party last September as the school was shrouded in scaffolding.
“Mr Lynch opened the proceedings on Saturday with a slide show of photos over the years, starting with a very young, looking Richard Brock, complete with flares, showing the way in.
“There were 101 pupils on roll covering all ages.
“After the slide show and commentary by Mr Lynch, Mr Shaw and Richard said a few words and then everyone started to mingle.
“The Hall had been laid out with displays of photos – events, teams, classes and staff.
“It was very interesting to see the changes in fashion!
“Richard had also taken a selection of mainly art work from the time he was there.
“Ex pupils enjoyed finding any they had produced.
“House captains and other pupils were on hand to give