School celebrates 50% A* rate, despite 'political pressure'
The headmaster of one of the UK's top-achieving schools has spoken out over "political pressures" after his pupils achieved the best GCSE results in five years.
Paul Evans, head teacher of Colyton Grammar School in East Devon, saw his school top the national league table for GCSEs in January.
"It is becoming increasingly difficult to predict the outcome of our public examinations due to the political pressures to tighten standards nationally," he said. "In a year when we are told it is more difficult to achieve top grades, we increased the A* and A grades.
"It is a great relief to see that, through hard work and determination, our students have maintained high standards and delivered the results that will set them up well for sixth-form study and beyond. No-one should underestimate the effort required to achieve high numbers of top grades across a range of subjects and the students should be very proud of what they've managed to achieve."
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More than half the year group achieved five or more top A* grades in a year when 49.4% of the GCSE grades obtained at the school were A* – up 4.1% on last year.
Mr Evans said 83.4% of all GCSEs awarded to Year Ten students taking GCSE at Colyton this summer were graded A* or A – which was 2.7% higher than last year.
Eleven pupils – seven girls and four boys – achieved straight A* in 12 subjects.
They were: Josie Argyle from Exmouth, Theo Brown from Ottery St Mary, Chrissie Browne from Newton St Cyres, Elle Clemens from Exeter, Hannah Dell from Sidmouth, Amy Elford from Axminster, Zoe Kuyken from Exeter, Kye Silver from Honiton, Charlie Spicer from Whimple, Matthew Von Lany from Broadclyst and Emma Williams from Seaton.
Mr Evans added: "Beforehand we were quite apprehensive because of the political situation. In normal circumstances we would expect to do well, but this year it was a great relief.
"We have a committed team of staff, but in the end it's down to how hard the students work and not just their ability."