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School takes top spot in country for GCSE results

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 25, 2013

  • 'We're obviously very pleased with how we've done this year' – Headmaster Paul Evans with students at Colyton Grammar School Picture: Richard Austin

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It was a double celebration for one Westcountry school after storming to the top of the nation's league tables for GCSEs and A-levels.

Colyton Grammar School came first in the national GCSE table, while clinching victory locally in the battle for the A-levels top spot.

Staff, pupils and parents were in high spirits yesterday after the results from summer exams were officially published.

Masses of data was released in a series of tables reflecting the national picture, county level, all schools including private and state schools only.

Paul Evans, headteacher at the 820-pupil school near Seaton in East Devon said he was delighted with the 100% pass rate for students achieving five A* to C-grades at GCSE and the A-level success.

He said: "If I knew the secret of how we did it, I'd bottle it and sell it.

"We were fourth last year in both GCSE and A-levels in the state mixed school tables, so it's very positive for us to have moved up.

"I have got brilliant staff and we are very lucky to have students who are committed to learning, with supportive parents."

The school came second in the state mixed schools national tables for A-levels and 12th in the all schools league.

While pleased with the results, Mr Evans urged caution over interpreting the data. He said: "There are so many different tables it's difficult to get a handle on.

"And while we're obviously very pleased with how we've done this year and results are a good indicator, there's much more to a school than just results like the social side.

"We want to equip our pupils with the skills to get into good universities.

"If they have no personalities they will struggle.

"We don't want to be an exam factory."

State and private schools in Devon featured in the top 200 across the country for good GCSE results.

Torquay Boys' Grammar came 20th in the rankings, The Maynard School, Exeter, 54th, Exeter School, 106th, Churston Ferrers Grammar, 150th and Devonport High School for Girls 157th.

In a separate table of state-only schools Colyton Grammar was first, Torquay Boys Grammar, 20th, Churston Ferrers Grammar, 83rd, Devonport High School for Girls 89th, Torquay Girls' Grammar 122nd, Plymouth High School for Girls 147th and Devonport High School for Boys 187th.

At the other end of the scale in the bottom 200 state-only schools for GCSEs Sir John Hunt Community Sports College, Plymouth featured along with Ilfracombe Arts College, Dartmouth academy and Torquay Community College.

Encouragingly in the list for the 200 most improved state schools for GCSEs Eggbuckland Community College, Plymouth, Dawlish Community College and Pool Academy, Redruth all appeared.

In the table for the top 200 schools across the country for A-levels Colyton Grammar, Devonport High School for Boys, Devonport High School for Girls and Torquay Girls Grammar were listed. And for one school previously placed in special measures the GCSE and A-level results were particularly sweet.

Tavistock College came out of special measures in December 2011 and has been improving ever since.

Some 60% of GCSE students walked away with five A* to C-grades – the result saw the school climbing to 27th place in the all-schools table.

And for A-levels it came a highly respectable 15th.

Helen Salmon, principal at the 265-pupil state school, said the league table result had boosted the entire school's confidence.

She said: "It's really up-lifting for the whole school. I want staff to be proud to work here and for students to also feel proud.

"We are getting feedback from students and they're really pleased.

"We've still got a lot of hard work to do but they're starting to see things are getting better and better.

"We've seen a 27% rise in the GCSE pass rate over the past two years which we are extremely pleased with."

Pupils in Cornwall steered a steady course this year by keeping out of the top and bottom 200 performing schools across the country in both sets of exams.

For GCSEs in the county alone, top of the class in Cornwall was St Joseph's School, Launceston. The private school saw 23 pupils sitting GCSEs with 96% achieving five A* to C-grades or equivalent including English and maths – it does not have a sixth form.

Sue Rowe, headteacher, said: "We are absolutely delighted to have come first out of all Independent and State Schools in Cornwall for our GCSE results 2012.

"This yet again demonstrates our commitment to quality and excellence in the education of pupils in our non-selective school."

In second place was Truro School, with a 93% score for GCSEs – it came third for A-levels.

Revealed below are the league tables based on GCSE and A-Level results which have been published for schools across Devon.

Read more from North Devon Journal

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  • Teignager  |  January 28 2013, 10:31AM

    The head doesn't know the secret? Er.... It's called selective education!!!