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Ashbourne students give their reaction to this year's GCSE results

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: August 21, 2014

Emily Hampson Katie Fielding Jess Hunt

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IN an important year for Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, pupils and teachers have emerged from GCSE results day with their heads held high.

The Green Road school announced today that 64% of its year 11 students achieved at least five A* to C grades including English and maths and progress made by pupils has put the school above last year’s national average.

This year 74% of the students made their expected progress in English, which was 6% above the 2013 national average and 80% of the pupils progressed in maths, 12% above the 2013 national average.

Among those thrilled with their results on the day was 16-year-old Shay Pennington, from Alkmonton, who was hoping for a strong crop of passes to help him realise his dream of taking up a residential course in Nantwich studying agriculture.

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He was one of dozens of pupils opening his brown envelope at QEGS on Thursday and was delighted to find out he had achieved even the grades he needed.

He said: “I’ve not just done it, I’ve completely done it. I can’t believe it.

“I’ve worked so hard for this and I think it’s just sinking in now.”

Shay will soon be packing his bags to start the course he was hoping to at Reaseheath College.

Head teacher Anne Martin said: “I’m so pleased for Shay, he really has worked hard to get these grades and he has been so desperate to do this course.”

Lucy Skinner, from Snelston, was one of many of the pupils hoping to get in to the school’s sixth form and her successful set of Bs and Cs will be more than enough.

She said: “I’m really thrilled, I didn’t think I would do this well.

“I want to go in to the QEGS sixth form to study English literature, sociology, business studies and science so this is just what I was hoping for.”

The 16-year-old hopes to go on to become a midwife.

Friends Caroline Watson and Chloe James arrived at QEGS together, opened their results together and, thanks to a great set of grades, will be going off to Buxton College together too.

The pair, from Ashbourne, are both looking forward to studying hairdressing.

As well as the GCSE successes at QEGS, vocational courses, which include science, engineering, construction and childcare, saw a 100% pass rate this year.

Subjects where students made the highest levels of progress were in textiles, expressive arts, music, ICT, art and design, biology, chemistry, physics, graphics, resistant materials, catering and geography.

Students at the school who are given “pupil premium funding” such as help paying for school meals, have also outshone past results.

In 2012 15% of these students made expected progress in English, rising to 30% in 2013 - but this year it is 41% - an even greater success rate was achieved in maths.

The school’s Extended Learning Department, which has previously been known as Special Educational Needs, has seen a much-needed boost in its results over last year, when no pupils made “expected progress”. This year methods put in place have meant 30% have improved in English and 57% have improved in maths.

Overall, 33% of students at QEGS achieved three or more A* and A grades.

The top performers this year, each amassing 11 A*/A grades were George Macdonald, Max Manley, Grace Millman, Ellen Bifani, Harvey Cash, Katie Ward and Flora Hodson.

Students who made most progress compared to national standards included Minnie Reed, Louise Edge, Alix Davies, Bethan Holt, Harriet Ward, George MacDonald, Millie Gallimore, Lydia Cox, Grace Millman, Ellen Bifani, Emily Hampson, Diana Yu, Katie Ward, William Ripley, Max Manley and Flora Hodson.

Mrs Martin told the News Telegraph: “The school feels busy and full of energy and we look forward to welcoming new and existing students and staff back to school.

“Well done to all our students on being rewarded for your hard work, many thanks to all staff and parents for your continued support, we could not do it without you.”

Further afield at Abbotsholme School in Rocester GCSE pupils repeated the success of their A Level school mates the previous week, with a strong pool of grades.

Among the high achievers there are a number of pupils going onto study science, maths and business studies at A Level in the school’s sixth form.

Robin Van Vroenhoven achieved an A* in Dutch GCSE two years ago; his twin sister Sanne gained an A* in Dutch three years ago, and last year achieved an A at AS Level in Dutch too.

Both from Ashbourne, this year the pair gained a further 22 GCSEs between them with seven A*s, nine As and two Bs and a Cs with Sanne achieving all A*s and As and a B.

Florence Miller, another Ashbourne pupil whose brother Ben last week achieved three Bs at A Level, achieved an A*, six As and three Bs at GCSE.

She is going onto do English literature, geography and business studies at A Level.

She said: “I am really happy about my results.

“I cannot believe I got an A in physics but I do not know how.”

At JCB Academy, also in Rocester,every one of its students achieved A* to C grades in engineering and more than 80% achieved A* to C grades in maths and science.

Meanwhile, at Derby High School, Ellie Mandale from Longford was one of the top achievers and her results stand her in good stead to follow her dream of becoming a vet.

The 16-year-old is in the middle of a work placement at a laboratory at Nottingham University, where scientists are looking at ways of detecting lung cancer early using blood tests.

She said: “I started to get nervous about my results about two weeks ago. I got the email with my grades at about 7.10am.

“I was really happy and I woke my mum to tell her, my dad was at work so I rang him, they were both so pleased.”

Ellie is going on to study A-levels in Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Maths at Derby High School.

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