GCSE results success for Hartlepool students

Published Thursday, 23rd August 2018

Young people in Hartlepool have again achieved some very good GCSE grades this year, in the face of major changes in the exams and their grading system.

The changes make it difficult to compare this year’s results with previous years. However, early indications show that the 2018 results in Hartlepool are generally in line with last year’s – reflecting the emerging national picture – but that pass rates in the core subjects of English and mathematics look to have improved, bucking the national trend this year.

Following on from the changes made last year to the grading system for mathematics, English Language and English Literature, this year for the first time most of the GCSE subjects in England are being graded from 9 to 1, with 8 being roughly equivalent to the old A* grade. The old C grade has been replaced by two new gradings - 4 for a pass and 5 for a strong pass.

About 90% of entries in England this year were in the new challenging form of GCSE with more difficult content and mostly marked on final exams, rather than course work. National reports suggest that this year there were only 732 pupils across England who scored a clean sweep of top grades in all their GCSE subjects.

Mark Patton, Hartlepool Borough Council’s Assistant Director (Education), said: “Students and teachers faced huge challenges in preparing for GCSEs this year. In many subjects there were no past papers to guide revision and to help students and their teachers to gauge what grades they were likely to get.

“In spite of this, our students have done well, particularly in mathematics and English. Nationally, early indications are that the pass rates in English and in mathematics have fallen this year - in Hartlepool we have bucked this trend because our pass rates in these two core subjects look to have improved.

“There is still much checking to be done by staff in schools. I would normally expect the overall picture to improve slightly once the checking processes are completed in the autumn term.

“These GCSE outcomes mean that more of our young people will be able to study the subjects they want to in our sixth forms or colleges, or start the training courses or apprenticeships they want to do.”

Councillor Brenda Harrison, Chair of the Council’s Children’s Services Committee, said: “My warmest congratulations go to all the students who have sat this year’s GCSEs and the teachers, parents and carers who have supported and encouraged them.

“An awful lot of hard work and dedication has gone into reaching this point today, especially in the face of the additional pressures brought on by this year’s major changes in the exams and the marking system.

“I am very pleased to see that at this early stage it looks like Hartlepool students have done so well in English and in mathematics. These are basic skills that our young people will need to access further education or training.

“I wish all this year’s students good luck and every success in the future.”