Updated: Thursday, 9th July 2020 @ 8:21am

Greater Manchester students celebrate another successful year of A-level results, as national figures rise AGAIN

Greater Manchester students celebrate another successful year of A-level results, as national figures rise AGAIN

By Charlie Bennett

A-Level students across Greater Manchester are celebrating another year of exam success today, as overall national pass rates rise for the 30th consecutive year.

The overall pass rate at all grades rose for a 30th consecutive year to 98%, although the country faces a 0.4% dip in A or A* grades - for the first time in 20 years.

And Greater Manchester schools have plenty to be proud of.

Teachers were delighted with their pupils’ performance this year, including in the City Centre, where Didsbury’s Parrs Wood High School saw 34% of its results at either A* to A – both a 9% increase from last year’s results and 9% above the national average.

Twenty-two students achieved at least three A/A*s, with two pupils collecting five A/A*s each – and five pupils successfully gained much coveted places at Oxford and Cambridge.

Head teacher Andrew Shakos said: “Each year Parrs Wood pupils show outstanding commitment to achieve their grades - but today’s results are remarkable. All the staff and governors are so proud of our students who have consistently shown the passion and dedication needed to succeed. They are a credit to the school and their families."

Once Parrs Wood student, Chloe Clifford, joined the Sixth Form after moving from Canada and was inspired to apply for her place at Cambridge after a college-organised visit. She will be joined with Thurka Rakeswaran, who matched her top five grades, though Mr Shakos hopes she is not too disappointed that she didn’t quite achieve her personal five A* target.

Whalley Range High School for Girls had an overall pass rate of 97.4% and William Hulme Academy had an overall pass rate of 97.1%.

Pass rates remained high in Salford, Manchester’s next-door city, where the City College has achieved an overall A-Level pass rate of 99%, with a record pass rate of high grades.

Vocational course results at the College centres are also being celebrated, with every vocational subject, the equivalent of 3 A-Levels, gaining a 100% pass rate.

Salford’s Irlam and Cadishead High Sixth Form is also celebrating success with a 94% A-Level pass rate and a 100% pass rate for vocational courses.

Councillor John Merry, Assistant Mayor for Services for Children said: “The continued success within the city shows the commitment and hard work of our young people, the college and schools. This also shows what fantastic educational facilities we have in Salford; with the combined effort of everyone in education delivering results year on year.”

Trafford also maintained its reputation for educational excellence. Last year, more than 65% of the borough’s schools were classed as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted and more than one-third of pupils got an A or A* grade for their A-Levels. This year, 35.6% of Trafford’s students secured the same grades, which is well above the national average of 26.6%. Trafford’s A*-B grades also increased by 0.5% since last year.

Executive Councillor Mike Cornes said he was delighted with the results. 

“Across all local schools we have examples of outstanding achievements not just at examination time, but throughout individual school careers. While it is fantastic to celebrate these, no-one is being complacent. I know students and teachers will continue working hard to ensure next year's results are even better. I would also like to wish everyone all the very best of success for the future.”

Stockport College achieved a 99% pass rate on the A level Provision, exceeding the national average of 97.6% yet again, and more than half of their students achieved an A*, A or B in A2 English Language and A2 Law, and 100% achieved those same top grades in AS Sociology.

Meanwhile, a fee-paying school Stockport Grammar had ‘a golden year’ where all 128 pupils passed their exams, with almost a third of students gaining at least one A*, and a staggering new record was broken with 98% of all grades at A* to C.

Their senior school headteacher Andrew Chicken announced on the school’s homepage: “They have been tremendous role models to younger pupils in their approach to study and their contribution to wider school life.”

Rochdale also experienced its ‘best ever’ results, with the borough gaining its highest ever points per candidate of 751.2, an improvement 188.4 points in the prior year – a crucial figure as it is an important part of the selection criteria used by universities in allocating places.

The first intake of A-Level students at the brand new Rochdale Sixth Form College achieved outstanding results which put the college in the top 5% nationally, in value added terms.

Jim Taylor, Chief Executive at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “I’m sure that people around the borough will be delighted to know that we have achieved our best ever A level results.

“I would like to wish our young people all the very best – whether they are planning to continue with their education or enter employment.”

Bury College’s impressive track record continues with achievements in A Levels, Vocational A Levels, National Diplomas and A/S courses, and with 100% pass rates in 65 Subjects. Girls out-perform boys once more as Bury Grammar School Girls’ overall pass rate was 100% and 76.7% were the top three grades, while Bury Grammar School Boys had a still respectable 99% pass rate with 65% being in the top grades.

In Wigan, Winstanley College students bucks the national downward trend by having 39.8% of students achieving A or A*; St Mary’s Catholic High and St John Rigby College celebrate their best ever with 99% A* - E pass rates; 97% of students at The Deanery in Wigan and 91.1% of those studying atWigan and Leigh College achieved a pass grade.

Principal Jo Bailey said: “It seems particularly fitting in this Olympic year that not only Team GB but ‘Team Winstanley’ have put in a fabulous performance, through sustained hard work and commitment to their goals.”

In Bolton, the Director of Children’s Services, Margaret Asquith, said that the local schools have delivered another set of great results: “The number of exams passed in Bolton are on the increase with the number of A*-E grades up by more than 1.6% from last year, significantly above the average for England as a whole.” 

Seven out of 10 of Tameside’s Ashton Sixth Form College students achieved high grades (A* - C).

Oldham’s provisional overall pass rate from A*-E was more than 98% this year.

Councillor Hugh McDonald, Cabinet Member for Education and Safeguarding, said: “We have heard many success stories from across the Borough.

“I would like to congratulate all our students and they should be proud of their achievements.  We have seen an improvement on our A* to B pass rate.

“Today’s results are the product of many years’ hard work, dedication and commitment from students, teachers, tutors, school support staff and parents, so a lot of people deserve to take credit.”

He added that the Council will look into the results over the coming weeks to identify any achievements and trends that will help them provide further opportunities for Oldham’s young people so they get the best possible start in life.

Today’s A-Level results were announced amid concerns of the government battling ‘grade inflation’ – which has seen the pass rate tip-toe from 68.2% to 97.8% over a consecutive 29 year period. And now they have increased nationally for the 30th consecutive time.

There are also concerns about there being less young people scrambling to secure university places as this September’s students will be the first to be hit by £9,000-a-year tuition fees.

It has been recorded that there has been a 9% dip in applications for English universities.

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