Minerva Learning Trust
10th September 2019

2019 – Another Year to Celebrate!

As we start the new academic year and look forward to the challenges and opportunities of another new term, it is important to reflect on the success of last year – 2019 was another incredibly successful year for both KS4 and KS5 students.

2018-19 saw the introduction of the final wave of new 9-1 style GCSEs courses in subjects including Sociology, DT and Film Studies, to go with subjects sitting new GCSEs for the second year (including Geography, History, French, Spanish and Science). The English and Maths teams are now experienced hands with the new specifications, both subjects entering students for the new GCSE exams for the third year!

As the “new” 9-1 GCSE grades become more commonly used throughout school, staff, pupils and parents are becoming more familiar with them and what they mean. However, here is a quick reminder of how the new grades equate to the old letter grades. A new grade 4 – a standard pass – is comparable to an old grade C. The new grade 5 – a strong pass – is equivalent to a C+/B-. A grade 5 in any subject is an excellent outcome, and definitely better than on old grade C. Similarly, a grade 6 is equivalent to a B+ (higher than a grade B), and more demanding to achieve. Grades 7 and above equate to A grades and A*s. Nationally, only around 3% of all grades awarded were grade 9. In High Storrs, 9% of grades achieved were grade 9 (up from 7% in 2018) – this grade is the new A** and anyone achieving this standard should be very proud of their achievements. We had great success across a wide range of subjects, including English, Maths and Science, but also in subjects unfortunately dying out in other schools, such as dance, drama, music and classics.

At this time of year local and national newspapers start to publish comparison tables to show which schools performed best, and how they compare to each other. This information is not always helpful, as every school community is different, and has to be judged on much more than exam success. At High Storrs, we have a curriculum designed to delivering learning in the best interests of our students. Our model of early entry for students in Y10 allows us to offer subjects such as Classics, Latin, Dance and Music which are slowly disappearing from other schools due to falling numbers. It is the right curriculum for our school community.

This year, our GCSE results for new GCSE courses were incredibly strong, but the 2019 league tables will not count a further 244 results gained by our students in “old specifications” from previous years where they achieved A*-G grades. Of these, 93 grades were A*-A (nearly 40%) and 80% were A*-C. So, our “real” exam success at GCSE is even stronger than our “official” figures that you might find published. This also impacts our ‘Progress 8’ score which estimates indicate will be very strong and amongst the best in the city – the figure that includes ‘legacy’ grades is even better!

A Level grades are easier to understand (although the new specifications are more challenging than ever). This summer our Y13 students produced some of the school’s strongest ever results. Students achieved 65 A* grades across all subjects, with 4 students achieving 4 A* grades each. 38 students achieved at least 3A*-A grades and overall just under 60% of all grades awarded were A*-B. Indeed, 33% of all grades were A*-A!! Again, the breadth of the High Storrs offer is something to celebrate, High Storrs recording fantastic results in Urdu, Further Maths, Economics, Chemistry, Maths, French, Physics, English Lit and Dance amongst many others.

So on reflecting on 2019, staff parents and especially students have every right to feel proud of another highly successful year at High Storrs. Roll on 2020!