County pupils are top stuff The GCSE results for high-flying Oxfordshire teenagers reflected the national trend which saw one of the biggest increases on record of students earning top grades.

With the hard work and the worrying wait over, thousands of pupils from schools across the county finally discovered yesterday what grades they had achieved in this year's GCSE results.

Overall it was good news, with the majority of independent and state schools showing an improvement on the percentage of students gaining five or more A*-C grades.

In Oxford, OXFORD COMMUNITY SCHOOL celebrated its best ever GCSE results with 34 per cent of students gaining five or more A*-C grades. This was a 13 per cent increase on last year.

There were also tremendous individual achievements with 10 students gaining all A*s or As. Ten pupils from the school's specialist inclusion unit - which caters for teenagers who have found accessing mainstream education difficult - obtained many passes and are now staying on to do further education.

Headteacher Steve Lunt said: "We are delighted with this set of results which mark a real step forward in terms of the achievements of our students and are the best set of results the school has ever had.

"We have put a lot of work into supporting students in the GCSE years. It shows that Easter revision sessions and specialist examination preparation arrangements are paying dividends. Staff and students have worked tremendously hard to earn these grades and deserve to be congratulated."

There were also smiles on the faces of many students at THE CHERWELL SCHOOL where out of the 263 who sat exams, 67.3 per cent of pupils managed to obtain five or more A*-C grades.

Headteacher Jill Judson said: "Last year we had an outstanding year group in terms of ability. This year they have performed above the school target. We would like to have tipped over the 70 per cent mark, but there are about 15 students that have got all As or A*s and overall I am very pleased and it reflects the hard work of both pupils and teachers."

As reported in yesterday's Oxford Mail PEERS SCHOOL, in Littlemore, achieved its best results in years and anxious-looking pupils were soon all smiles ripping open their brown results envelopes.

Karen Crawford had a pleasant surprise - the 16-year-old got four A*s, seven As and a B and C, after being predicted mostly B grades.

She said: "I didn't expect I would do so well. I'm going on to do A-Levels but I'm not sure which subjects to take now."

Collette Nicholson, 16, of Heyford Hill Lane, Littlemore, got four A*s, six As and a B grade.

She said: "After the exams I thought they had gone quite badly for a lot of them so I am really happy."

Katy Owen was speechless at receiving two A*s and seven As grades.

She said: "I can't believe it. I'm going to celebrate later by doing something amazing."

Headteacher Linda Caldicott said: "We would have been happy with 23 per cent of pupils achieving A* to C and really happy with 25 per cent, so we are absolutely delighted to achieve 26 per cent. These are the best results for several years.

"I think the turnaround has been through attention to detail and keeping a close track on how all the children and teachers are doing. The pupils and teachers have worked hard and hard work brings its rewards."

Results at CHENEY SCHOOl in Headington went up significantly for the second consecutive year, with the percentage of students gaining five or more higher grades 10 per cent higher than two years ago.

High flyers were William Ghosh who gained no fewer than 10 A*s and Chloe Millar who had 11 grade A passes, including 7A*s.

Headteacher Alan Lane said: "This has been an excellent year for us. The percentage of students with five or more higher grades is a record.

"I am particularly pleased that almost all of them have higher grades in both English and mathematics, given the importance of literacy and numeracy for employment and for higher education.

"Also, well over 90 per cent of students will be collecting five or more grades at some level, so there will be very few leaving school without qualifications."

At ICKNIELD COMMUNITY COLLEGE in Watlington, 62 per cent of the 108 students achieved five or more grades A*-C and 97 per cent achieved five or more A*-G results.

MATTHEW ARNOLD SCHOOL, Cumnor Hill, achieved improved results for the eighth successive year.

Out of the 155 students who sat exams, 71.6 per cent achieved five or more A*-C grades and 97.4 per cent achieved A*-G grades.

Headteacher Katherine Ryan said: "One of our aspirations as a school is that every student should achieve to the best of their ability and we are therefore particularly pleased that every year 11 student has achieved at least two GCSE qualifications at grade G and above. Additionally, sixteen students in the year group have achieved 7 or more A* and A grades."

MAGDALEN COLLEGE SCHOOL was one of the top performers in the country, with Alastair Green achieving a new school record of 12 A*s.

Classmate Jack Shukman notched up one of the top five marks in the country for English literature among his 11 A*s while at the same time managing to achieve a grade A in A-Level French - two years early.

Philip Derry was in the top five in the country out of 360,000 candidates for English Literature and out of 64,000 candidates for geography.

A total of 12 students at the all boys school scooped 10 or more A*s - double last year's tally. Overall 88 per cent of pupils achieved A*s or As.

The Master of the school, Andrew Halls, said: "What is most striking about this group of boys is that they have combined impressive academic performances with a healthy involvement in the extra-curricular life of the school.

"For example, three of the boys are phoning for their results today from the Edinburgh Festival where they are performing in an independent play and Tom Ducker is involved in pre-season training with the Wasps academy."

Mr Halls also gave credit to the school's success in science. He added: "Young people in the UK are in danger of being pushed aside in favour of well-qualified scientists from the Far East because, nationally we have lost the will to show children how fascinating science can be.

"It is essential that schools like Magdalen continue to teach the three sciences at GCSE and to recruit staff who are able to enthuse pupils in subjects across all disciplines."

Equally impressive was OXFORD HIGH SCHOOL where headteacher Felicity Lusk was delighted that more than half of all grades awarded were A*s.

More than half (52.82 per cent) of all grades awarded to the 90 students at the school were A*s and 85.89 per cent achieved A*s or As.

Ms Lusk said: "It is another fantastic year for Oxford High School and we expect to be among the top performing schools nationally once again.

"I do not think GCSEs are getting easier. There is no doubt in my mind that these young people work a lot harder than I did when I was younger."

At HEADINGTON SCHOOL, 99.4 per cent of candidates achieved grades between A* and C with 12 students gaining 10 or more A*s. In all 79.2 per cent of pupils obtained A* or A grades.

The school also achieved top candidates in textiles, religious studies and two in geography.

Headmistress Anne Coutts said: "We are delighted, yet again, with these results. Both A-Level and GCSE have been excellent and an increase on last year. It is important to remember that they represent a great deal of commitment and hard work from the students. It is a pity that, year on year, students are told in the media that the examinations are becoming easier rather than being congratulated for their endeavours."

Despite having to cope with the background noise of building work and the disruption of having classes at split sites, students at ST GREGORY THE GREAT in Oxford managed to improve by five per cent on last year's figures, with 43.5 per cent achieving five or more A* to C grades.

Deputy headteacher Nick Rhodes said: "We are particularly pleased with these results during a year where we have been working on split sites amongst all the building work."

At ST EDWARD'S SCHOOL in Oxford, 98 per cent of pupils achieved five or more A* to C grades and 99.7 per cent achieved grades A* to G.

Worthy of a mention were Lucie Boyle and Lydia Smith who, despite taking the exams two years early, managed to come in the top five per cent in the country for GCSE French and GCSE Spanish respectively.

Warden Andrew Trotman said: "Our results are just over five per cent up on last year's A*s/As rate and we have seen particularly good results in the science subjects which are under criticism at the moment. We continue to do well in art and we are very pleased across the board."

At WYCHWOOD SCHOOL in Oxford, twin sisters gained all A*s and As between them. There was also particularly pleasing results for religious education with 14 out of the 25 entries gaining A*s.

Headteacher Susan Wingfield Digby said: "Wychwood's particular brand of personal attention to the success and progress of the individual has once again set us on course to be highly rated in the DfES 'value added' tables to be published in January.

"Last year, each GCSE candidate achieved on average one grade per subject better than predicted at the age of 11 and this year the indications are that we will be repeating this success.

"We have mixed ability intake and these excellent results reflect the hard work and dedication on the part of both staff and girls."

Year 11 students at GOSFORD HILL SCHOOL Kidlington, were thrilled with their GCSE results and the school is expecting to be in the top 25 per cent of schools nationally in respect of progress over the last two years.

Out of the 188 students who sat exams 48 per cent of students gained five or more A*-C grades which included mathematics and English and 95 per cent gained five or more passes (A*-G).

Headteacher David Jones said: "Students and staff worked very hard to secure these hugely commendable results. This is a delightful group of young people who have shown talents well beyond the examination hall.

"They are not our strongest academic cohort but in terms of progress over their time in secondary education, they have enjoyed tremendous success. The fact that they have set a number of new records for the school is testimony to their determination and aspirations."

At ABINGDON SCHOOL, 16-year-old John Morgan was top of the class, and followed in the footsteps of big brother Ralph who was in the top three A-Level achievers at the school last week.

A total of 41 pupils achieved eight A*s or more, with John Morgan scooping 12A*s as well as an A in French at AS level.

Headmaster Mark Turner said: "John Morgan deserves special mention with his 12 A*s - making it a double success for the Morgan family.

"These results have consolidated the performance of recent years. We are delighted for our candidates, given their successes and achievements in a wide range of other activities. There have been some superb individual performances, with over 30 per cent of the passes at A* grade."

Out of the 101 pupils who sat GCSEs at the SCHOOL OF ST HELEN AND ST KATHERINE IN ABINGDON, 100 per cent achieved five or more grades A* to C and nine candidates achieved A*s in all their subjects.

Headmistress Cynthia Hall said: "We are absolutely delighted with these results. This year group includes a large number of excellent sports players, musicians, artists and actresses.

"They have done extremely well, alongside all their other interests, scoring the highest average point score per candidate, 76.2, in the school's records. Girls, staff and parents who provided that essential motivation through the revision period have all contributed to achieve these excellent results.' OUR LADY'S CONVENT SCHOOL in Abingdon had 98.3 per cent of pupils achieve five or more grades between A* and C, with star pupil Deborah O'Brien achieving one of the top five marks in the country for her dual award science examination (out of 58,332 candidates) and Laura Dziewulski achieving one of the top five marks in the country in home economics.

Headmistress Lynne Renwick said: "The results for our girls have been outstanding, with 54 per cent of all grades awarded being at A* or A. I am absolutely thrilled with these outstanding results, which represent a tremendous achievement for both pupils and staff."

At FITZHARRYS SCHOOL in Abingdon, there were some outstanding individual performances with Srinjoy Banerjee and Punit Mistry both achieving 11 grades at A* or A. Srinjoy also achieved one of the top five marks in the country for both mathematics and English Literature.

A record 87.8 per cent of the 125 students who sat GCSEs at Radley College earned A* or A grades with 58 out of the boys gaining 10 or more passes at A* or A.

Warden Angus McPhail said: "These are splendid result. It is our best ever performance. Two of our boys were placed in the top five Spanish candidates for the AQA board. Congratulations to the boys and our staff."

Out of the 180 students taking exams at JOHN MASON SCHOOL, Abingdon, 177 achieved at least one pass and 164 achieved five passes.

Outstanding performers were Tom Friend who picked up 12 A* passes, David Webster who managed 11 A* passes and Isabel Hessey who got 10 A* passes.

Headteacher Paul Corrie said: "This is the result of a great deal of hard work by students and staff, and the unstinting support of parents, who often get overlooked for the part that they play in students' success."

At LARKMEAD SCHOOL, Abingdon, the percentage of students gaining five or more passes at A*C remained the same as last year - 41 per cent - and the school was particularly pleased with the performance at the highest grades. The school outperformed its target for English, maths and science.

At 1,750 pupil KING ALFRED'S COMMUNITY AND SPORTS COLLEGE, in Wantage, principal Nick Young said he was delighted the record for the number of students gaining five or more grades between A* and C had been broken again.

He said: "This is the fourth year in a row that the headline achievement figures for the school have improved. We are equally pleased to note the increase in the number of students gaining at least one qualification, which has now effectively reached 100 per cent."

At WOOD GREEN SCHOOL in Witney, 54 per cent of students managed to get five or more A*-C grades and 93 per cent passed five or more exams.

Headteacher Cynthia Savage said: "We are delighted with the individual results of our students with 10 or more A* or A grades, seven of whom have 11 or more and one student with 12."

At HENRY BOX SCHOOL in Witney, 63.4 per cent of students achieved five or more A*-C grades which is slightly up on last year.

Headteacher Rod Walker said: "The overall pass rate is excellent at 99.5 per cent and students of all abilities achieved well. However we are disappointed that our percentage of five A* to C grades is down on our expectations and does not fully reflect the hard work of both students and staff."

Four pupils achieved eight A* and three A grades at Burford School, with student Jennifer O'Hara scoring one of the top five marks in English literature in the country, out of 362,438 candidates.

Out of 177 pupils, 71 per cent achieved five or more A*-C grades.

At CARTERTON COMMUNITY COLLEGE, 91 per cent of pupils achieved five or more passes and 63 per cent achieved five or more A*-C grades.

Headteacher Julie Tridgell said the college saw a 13 per cent increase in the number of pupils achieving five or more A* to C grades compared to 2005.

She said: "I want to congratulate students on their fantastic achievements - the college is celebrating its best ever GCSE results."

BARTHOLOMEW SCHOOL, in Eynsham, was also celebrating record-breaking results after 73 per cent of its 158 pupils achieved five or more A* to C grades. Overall, 97 per cent of pupils passed with A* to G grades.

Headteacher Andrew Hamilton said the results were particularly pleasing as they came a week after the school had its best ever A-Level results.

At TUDOR HALL in Banbury, all 45 students who were entered for exams achieved grades A*-C, with 35.83 per cent A*s.

At Banbury School, 41 per cent of pupils achieved five or more grades between A* and C and 89 per cent of pupils passed five or more exams.

Out of the 128 pupils at BLESSED GEORGE NAPIER SCHOOL, in Banbury, 65 per cent of pupils achieved five or more A*-C grades. Headteacher David Dawson said: "We did not expect a good year, but we did a lot of work and it clearly paid off."

The headteacher of DRAYTON SCHOOL, Richard Sutton said: "The results are brilliant - 32 per cent of students gaining A* to C grades is unprecedented for Drayton."

At the WARRINER SCHOOL, 71 per cent of students achieved five or more A*-C grades.

At DIDCOT GIRLS SCHOOL, 71 per cent of students entered for GCSEs managed to obtain five or more A*-C grades, and 90 per cent of pupils achieved five or more passes (A*-G).

At ST BIRINUS SCHOOL in Didcot, out of the 230 students who were entered for exams, 70 per cent achieved five or more A*s-C and 94 per cent gained five or more passes.

Headteacher Chris Bryan said: "This is one of our largest year groups in which 160 boys have achieved at least five top grades - including 20 students who were awarded at least eight A* or A grades."

COKETHORPE SCHOOL, near Witney, saw 91 per cent of pupils achieve five or more A*-C grades and 100 per cent achieved five or more A*-G passes.

Results at WHEATLEY PARK SCHOOL were up six per cent on last year, with the number of students achieving five or more A*s-C up to 52 per cent.

A total of 11 students achieved eight or more passes at A or A* level.

The total number of A* grades also doubled this year from 46 in 2005 to 102 in 2006.

LORD WILLIAMS'S SCHOOL in Thame saw an impressive 21 students (out of 329 who sat exams) achieve nine or more A* and A grades. In addition, Sarah Clayton achieved one of the top five marks in the AQA examination board English Literature GCSE in the country out of 362,438 entries.

Overall 66 per cent of students achieved five or more A*-C GCSEs and 95.74 per cent gained passes (A*- G).

High achiever at CHIPPING NORTON SCHOOL was Abigail McPhillips who managed to haul in 11 A*s - and achieved one of the top five results in the country for English Literature.

Overall, out of the 188 candidates who sat exams 66.3 per cent achieved five or more passes between A* and C.

WALLINGFORD SCHOOL saw a 14 per cent improvement on last year's results and its GCSE success follows the school's best ever A-Level results last week.

Deputy headteacher Kevin Burrell said: "The results are a testament to the hard work of students and the high expectations of the school's staff."

At CRANFORD HOUSE SCHOOL, Cholsey, near Wallingford, Isabel Stoddard was the top achiever with eight A*s and two As. All 17 pupils who took exams achieved five or more grades between A* and C.

At the COOPER SCHOOL in Bicester, 47 per cent of students achieved five or more A* to C grades, with 36 per cent of students at Bicester Community College managing the same.

Cooper School pupil Lucy Richardson, 16, scooped five A*s, five As and a C. She is now going on to Gosford Hill sixth form to study A-Levels in history, English, psychology and biology.

Cooper School headteacher Ben Baxter said: "These results are a significant improvement on the figures achieved last year and testimony to the sustained hard work of the students themselves, the staff who taught and supported them and the encouragement and support of the students' parents."