Boys take new GCSE grading system in their stride

Boys take new GCSE grading system in their stride

QE boys and staff are today celebrating after achieving the school’s best-ever GCSE results. A record 69.8% of all examinations taken were awarded the top grades – grades 8 and 9 for English and Mathematics under the new grading system, or grade A* for all other subjects – thus beating the 2015 A* figure of 69.6%.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “I congratulate all our boys on this outstanding set of results across all subjects. The figures represent a great deal of sustained hard work on the part of the pupils, supported, of course, by their teachers.”

Under the new grading system for English and Mathematics, grades 8 and 9 are the equivalent of an A*, 7 replaces A and grades 6-4 cover B-C (with 5 deemed a strong pass and 4 a standard pass).

I believe that the stretching of the grading scale at the top end, together with the new course content, may be helping to make GCSEs more relevant for the most able students.

Mr Enright added: “I am most grateful to my colleagues for the time they have spent in meticulous planning of exciting lessons for the new courses to ensure that they reflect our philosophy of ensuring that students engage with their subjects fully, developing their knowledge and understanding well beyond the bounds of the syllabus.”

“As I explained to the Times’ Education Correspondent, Nicola Woolcock, for an article published at the weekend, I believe that the stretching of the grading scale at the top end, together with the new course content, may be helping to make GCSEs more relevant for the most able students.”

The article dealt with the fears raised by some national commentators that the new system might increase the pressure on pupils, even putting their mental health at risk.

Mr Enright said he had seen no sign of that at QE: “While examinations are certainly important, the wellbeing of our boys is paramount, so I am pleased that they appear to have taken all the changes very much in their stride,”

“We urge our pupils always to keep things in perspective and one of the ways they do that is by taking advantage of the School’s wide array of extra-curricular activities. Our boys do not have their noses constantly buried in their books, but can instead often be seen playing sport, acting on stage or performing in musical concerts, to name just three examples.”

All 181 Year 11 pupils at the school passed all of their GCSEs – that is, there were no grades below C or 4. Almost half of the boys scored either A* or A (or the numerical equivalents) in all of their subjects, while 98.3% of them had five or more A*-A grades in subjects including English and Mathematics.

Performance as measured by points scored (from 8.5 for A* to 2 for E) improved over 2016 or was unchanged in 13 of the school’s 16 GCSE subjects still using the A*-E grading system. (It is not possible to compare points scores for English and Mathematics over the two years).

Highlights drawn from the school’s very strong performance include:

  • 100% of pupils achieving the Government’s measure of five A*-C passes (or equivalents) for five GCSEs, including English and Mathematics
  • 100% of pupils reaching the Government’s other key benchmark, the English Baccalaureate, by achieving passes in English, Mathematics, History or Geography, Science and a language.
  • 100% of pupils achieving grades 7-9 (equivalent to A*-A) in Mathematics, with 96% achieving grades 8 or 9 and 70% gaining a 9.
  • Twenty-three of the 28 candidates achieving an A* in Latin. This language was fully re-introduced at the school in 2012, so this year’s GCSE group is the first to have taken the subject from Year 7 all the way to Year 11.
  • 96% of GCSE geographers gaining an A* or A in the subject.

Meet the students who defied GCSE predictions by scoring a clean sweep of grade 9s – The Telegraph, Thursday 24 August 2017

All Year 11 pupils at Queen Elizabeth’s School, Barnet pass GCSEs, with high numbers getting all top grades – The Barnet Times, Thursday 24 August 2017

Star pupils welcome the challenge of new GCSEs – The Times, Friday 25 August 2017

Top Boys’ State School: GCSE results – The Times, Friday 25 August 2017