For young people and their parents, today represents the end of a period of waiting since exams took place a few months ago – today is the day that Prince Andrew School students receive their GCSE results – and they are the best ever recorded.
The 2014 results are the best ever achieved on the Island and are setting new records – with virtually half of Year 11 students achieving five GCSE A*- C grades, including English and Maths.
While detailed analysis of results is yet to be done, Councillor Christine Scipio-O’Dean, Chair of the Education Committee, said:
“I am delighted to offer my personal congratulations to the Year 11 students who have done so well this year. On behalf of the Education Committee, I would like to say ‘Well Done’ to all of the students and their families.”
Headteacher, Paul Starkie added:
“We at Prince Andrew School are extremely proud of our GCSE results this year. They reflect the hard work our students have put into preparing for these exams and also the dedication and commitment of our teachers.
“I hope the success achieved by our students this year will be an inspiration to their counterparts next year and prove to them that with effort and determination, they too can achieve the high results they are capable of.”
The small cohort of students who sat A & AS-level examinations received their results last week. As in the UK, results were mixed with some students receiving their predicted grades and others missing out.
The Education Committee also met this week and heard from Primary Advisor, Zoe Robinson, on the progress being made in Primary schools. The assessments for St Helena Primary Schools this year were significantly different from those administered last year – because the UK Department for Education has ‘raised the bar.’
For example, Mathematics assessments this year did not allow the use of calculators and English tests did not include a separate writing exercise – instead writing was assessed within the recently introduced Spelling, Punctuation & Grammar test.
The challenging target for St Helena of 60% of all Primary School children achieving a level 4 or above was not met, but Harford School exceeded this target in English and Maths. Overall, the Primary Schools have shown improvements in Reading, Writing and Maths, compared to last year. And bearing in mind the changes in assessments and general raising of standards, this represents significant progress within Primary Schools.
But there is no room for complacency. Boys are still being out-performed by girls, and the next school year will see the Directorate putting in place new strategies to raise achievement, including:
- A new Curriculum in line with changes taking place in the UK
- The start in September of a Year of Mathematics on St Helena
- A new approach to training of staff
- Keeping the focus on teaching and learning
Finally, a word of caution. Percentages only tell a partial tale, particularly when we have such small cohorts of children. In one school for example, one child can represent over 3% of the cohort. We will of course continue to set challenging percentage targets, but our approach must also be to address the individual needs of each young person relative to their unique learning profile.
Next month, the Education Committee will receive a full report on this year’s results.
Colin Moore, Director of Education and Employment, commented:
“Schools have worked very hard over the past year to provide a really varied range of activities for our children and young people. At the heart of everything they do is the key priority of raising achievement. Only good teaching results in successful learning.
“Across all age ranges there is real progress being made. We know there is a continuing job to be done in building on our previous best. We will be introducing a ‘Year of Mathematics’ soon to stimulate interest and raise attainment in Maths.
“These record breaking results are the news that the Island has been waiting for. They show that we have young people with the talent and skills that St Helena needs. We should all join together in saying well done and congratulations to our young people and their teachers.”
Finally giving his reaction to the results, Governor Capes concluded:
“This is really excellent news for St Helena. I offer warm congratulations to students, parents and teachers. The bar has now been raised. I hope that will encourage students taking these important exams next year to redouble their efforts over the months ahead so that they can match or surpass these results.”
22 August 2014