South Gloucestershire celebrates GCSE success

Councillor Toby Savage, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council, with pupils and headteacher Hetty Blackmore at Mangotsfield School
Councillor Toby Savage, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council, with pupils and headteacher Hetty Blackmore at Mangotsfield School

South Gloucestershire Council is sending its warmest congratulations to students who have received their GCSE results today, as data so far suggests that 2022 has been another successful year for young people studying at schools in South Gloucestershire.

The overall performance in the first set of GCSE results following the pandemic is positive and indicates an improvement since the last published set of data in 2019. At this stage all the results are provisional, but the council says it is pleased with the emerging profile from across the different areas of South Gloucestershire.

Councillor Toby Savage, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council, joined pupils at Winterbourne Academy and Mangotsfield School as they received their results. He said: “I was delighted to be able to join some of our local students this morning and to share the experience as they collected their results. We know how much effort pupils, parents and school communities have put into these exams to ensure success, especially through the pandemic, and their achievements are very well deserved.

“Improving our schools and educational outcomes for young people in South Gloucestershire is our number one priority as a council. The overall results are still provisional at this stage, but there is still clearly much to celebrate in our first set of GCSE results received since the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Winterbourne Academy were delighted to report strong performance in pupils achieving grades 7-9 in both Mathematics and English Language. Mangotsfield School are also delighted with their improvement from 2019’s results. The number of students achieving a grade 5 in both Mathematics and English has increased by 15.3 per cent, echoing the improvements across the school.

Patchway Community School pupils achieved an impressive increase in their science results. Despite Covid 19 disruptions, John Cabot Academy achieved an impressive increase in both Mathematics and English results. The results in the creative and vocational subjects which are at the heart of the curriculum at Digitech Studio School, have been excellent again this year. Marlwood Secondary School headline performance figures have also far exceeded previous examination cohorts in all areas with over 70 per cent of pupils attaining five or more GCSEs. Yate Academy were really pleased with their overall results including what was really positive progress for those pupils that were either disadvantaged or with special educational needs or disability (SEND).

These results represent a huge amount of hard work and commitment by students and their families, staff and school leaders across all seventeen secondary schools and Post 14 providers. The results are best compared to 2019, which was the last year that performance data was released in this way, and against this most schools are reporting improving results.

Improving educational outcomes in South Gloucestershire is the council’s number one priority. Secondary and Post-16 Ofsted assessments of schools in the area have seen outcomes improve significantly since 2018, with over 80 per cent of secondary aged pupils now attending a ‘Good’ school. The overall GCSE results for students at South Gloucestershire schools and academies mirror the positive improvements being reported through those inspections.

Councillor Erica Williams, cabinet member responsible for education, skills and employment at South Gloucestershire Council, said: “I want to congratulate all of our students across South Gloucestershire who are collecting their GCSE results today. It is always a nervous moment to open that envelope, but we know that they have worked extremely hard to achieve these grades and they should be very proud of their individual successes. Our thanks go out to all pupils and schools staff for their hard work and dedication to achieve these excellent results in what we know has been a challenging time for schools due to the impact of the pandemic.

“Going forward after their GCSEs is a big step for students, whether they are moving on to sixth form, college, apprenticeships or employment and I want to wish them all the very best for whatever they go on to do.”

The council has also shared some of the many positive stories from individual schools and multi-academy trusts.

Headteacher of Mangotsfield School, Hetty Blackmore, said: “This year group has overcome significant challenges and uncertainty during their GCSE years. The effort and dedication shown during their final year has been inspiring and I am delighted with their progress and results. We wish you all the best for your bright and brilliant futures.”

Headteacher of Marlwood School, Miss Seema Purewal, said: “These excellent outcomes are a tribute to the very dedicated and committed staff who always go above and beyond to support our pupils as do our superb community of Marlwood parents and carers. But, most importantly the credit goes to this group of amazing young people, many of whom have been very resilient and overcome significant challenges during this last academic year.

“As their new headteacher, I am very proud of each and every one of our pupils in the class of 2021 and I, together with all the staff body at Marlwood School, wish them the very best for their future endeavours and the next step in their journeys.”

Headteacher of Chipping Sodbury School, Katherine Turner, said: “I am delighted for our students most of whom have had a very positive attitude to their learning and demonstrated resilience to the challenges faced. There are many individual successes for students who have had to cope with numerous personal challenges. This reflects the progress these students have made and the hard work by our young people, staff and governors. I wish to pay tribute to the continuous support provided by families not just over the past few months but throughout Key Stages 3 and 4. We enjoy strong and positive relationships which impact on the outcomes for individuals.

“This adds to the tremendous successes of our Post 16 students last week. We are very much looking forward to welcoming many of our students back into our Cotswold Edge 6th Form where students succeed and reach their potential.”

Headteacher of Brimsham Green Secondary School, Kim Garland, said: “Our Year 11 students are talented young people, and we couldn’t be prouder of them as they progress onto their A Level studies at Cotswold Edge, and other vocational college qualifications and apprenticeships. They have demonstrated the ability to overcome some real challenges, and in fact have developed strengths as a result: the ability to work independently; the capability to be proficient users of technology in their learning and revision; and the determination not to let individual setbacks throw them off-course. These are attributes that will serve them well as young adults.”

Headteacher of Downend School, Lisa Howell, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the excellent performance of our students in their first set of external examinations since 2019. These young people have shown extraordinary determination despite an extremely difficult set of circumstances in the latter part of their secondary education, and we could not be prouder of their achievements. We congratulate them all and thank their parents, teachers, and other school staff for all the ways they have helped our students.

“We have always known that this year was a ‘transition year’ between 2021 (when assessment was done directly by schools and colleges) and 2019 (the last year exams took place). This means that overall grades will be about halfway between the two nationally and makes any comparison to previous years impossible. We are, however, delighted to see excellent results across the board, with a number of students achieving top grades.

“What the last two and a half years have taught us is that our young people are more than a grade. The resilience they have shown under such conditions is remarkable. They are all exceptional, inspiring and talented young people, and we couldn’t be prouder of them.”

CEO of Olympus Academy Trust, Dave Baker, said: “I am delighted for every student who has tasted success today and wish them all well in the next phase of their education and training. I hope we will see many of them signing up at the start of September to continue with us in the Olympus Post 16 Partnership. I would also like to thank all Olympus staff who have worked so hard to teach, encourage, support and challenge their students over the years alongside parents and carers who have had to be more actively involved than usual because of the pandemic. For any students who have not done as well as they had hoped, these results are not the end of the road – I urge you to come into school and talk to staff about how we can support you with your next steps too.”

CEO of Cabot Learning Federation, Steve Taylor, said: “After two and a half years of disrupted external examinations and high uncertainty, under the stewardship of our dedicated team our students have shown remarkable resilience and are being rewarded with some very positive results. They have secured excellent destinations and I sincerely hope they can now move on into the next stage of their learning journey, confident in the knowledge that there will be few barriers they won’t be able to overcome in their bight futures. Well done to all.”

Principal at Sir Bernard Lovell Academy, Dean Anderson, said: “This is a well deserved outcome for this hard working group of young people and their supportive families.
“In particular I am incredibly impressed by the number of students achieving grades 9, 8 and 7 (A* and A) and the students who have achieved outcomes beyond expectation across all grades. This has been the result of substantial hard work, high quality teaching and support from dedicated staff. I am proud to see this group achieve such fantastic results as they joined the school at the same time that I did and they have always responded well to the changes and improvements we have made. They have set a very high standard for the year groups below them who must now ensure that they work just as hard in order to achieve their potential.”

The council is also reminding students and parents that if they are still unsure about their next steps, Post 16 advice and guidance is available through their school, at college, via Careerpilot online or via the National Careers Service Helpline for Teenagers on 0800 100 900.

The BBC has also put together some tips and advice to help make results day as stress free as possible