A-Level results: Pupils at troubled academy chalk up 100 per cent passes

Alinka Buzdygan, left, and Tanatia Matope at St Gregory’s

Alinka Buzdygan, left, and Tanatia Matope at St Gregory’s Buy this photo

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

TROUBLED Oxford Academy marked an important chapter in its bid to improve as all of its A-Level students passed for the first time in its history.

The Sandy Lane West academy was placed in special measures last January following an Ofsted inspection.

At the time the school was the worst performing in the county and the 25th worst in the country.

Niall McWilliams has since been brought in as headteacher from Carterton Community College.

Speaking after the school recorded a 100 per cent pass rate yesterday he said: “It shows the hard work of the teachers and students, backed up by parental support.

“There’s still room for improvement, and we can get better and better. I’m really confident about the future.

“The staffing is strong and the leadership team is strong.

“I’ve only been here since March so it’s hard for me to say how the change of headteachers has made a difference. From my perspective I am absolutely delighted to be here, and I’m planning on being here for a long time.”

None of the school’s A-Level results, however, were above grade C.

Meanwhile The Cherwell School in Marston Ferry Road marked another year as the best performing state school in Oxfordshire, a title it now shares with Chipping Norton School as both had 35 per cent of exams marked at A* or A. Paul James, Cherwell’s headteacher, said “There have been changes to the A-Level system of examinations this year and all schools and students will have been concerned as to how these changes will have affected their results. But we are delighted that this year we have seen a further improvement to our already impressive results compared to last year.”

Results at Cheney School in Headington were broadly similar to last year with a 97 per cent pass rate and 28 per cent of exams getting an A* or A. Head of sixth formHeather Doherty said: “This has been a fantastically positive year group to work with. Their impressive results are richly deserved, and are the result of students’ hard work and the excellent support they have received from staff at Cheney and their families.”

Meanwhile Oxford Spires Academy had a three per cent drop to 94.7 per cent in students achieving A* to E grades but principal Sue Croft believes next year’s group could be more successful.

She said: “We’re planning to raise the overall level of attainment next year, especially at the top end.

“I think we will get an Oxbridge student next year.

“That will be new head of sixth form Jackie Watson’s focus and I’ve seen her turn around a sixth form before.

“The results are always about the quality of teaching and how hard the students work – those are the two areas we will continue to focus on.”

City of Oxford College principal Ian Francis said it had performed well despite seeing top results fall. The number of A* to A grades dropped from 16 per cent to 11 per cent and A* to B grades fell from 42 per cent to 37 per cent but there was an increase in the number of students who achieved A* to E grades from 98 per cent to 99 per cent.

St Gregory the Great executive principal John Hussey said more than 30 pupils had received offers from Russell Group universities and 35 from other well-regarded institutions.

He said: “I’ve had a huge grin on my face all morning. Once again we have a student heading for Oxford University and our first Veterinary School student going to Nottingham.”

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