Wiltshire Publications

Issue 443 – Top marks for Westbury students

MATRAVERS School in Westbury has celebrated a good year of A-level and GCSE results which have been received by students over the past two weeks. The school’s pass rates at both levels are above the national average.

The school’s 130 A-level students achieved a 98% pass rate, 70% of who achieved grades of A-C, and 40% achieved grades of A-B.
Headteacher Chris Dark said, “I’m really really proud of the students’ efforts. I think this exam system rewards both aptitude and effort, which is good, and in most cases I would say the students received what their efforts and aptitudes deserved.
“They had worked hard, as had many of their teachers and have a real cause for celebration. Almost all met requirements to get the place they wanted at university.”
The school performed particularly well in the departments of art, dance, religious studies, biology and physics.
“If you take the scores of the students when they were 16 and look at what they have achieved at 18, they’ve done better than they might have done,” said Chris Dark. “Science results continued their trend of improvement and the faculty is now one of the strongest in the school.
“New teachers, a real drive and determination from head of department, a refurbishment of the whole area and a year-on-year gain of experience in teaching A-level have all come together to make this a really strong department.”
Rounding up the top of the class in A-level results were Stephanie Rennie, Michael Hulbert and Amie Hawker, all of whom achieved straight A grades. Laura Sach attained two A grades, one B and one c while Chloe Miller and Joanna Wadey both attained two A grades and a B.
Stephanie Rennie said she felt “ecstatic, effervescent and unbelievable relieved,” after seeing her grades.
Head boy Shane Nickels achieved an A grade in history and two B grades in drama and, philosophy and ethics. He is to attend Trinity University College Carmarthen to study acting.
He said, “Sixth form has been really good. I don’t think there is anywhere else that would give the commitment that they do here, especially our head of sixth form Mr Jacobs. I’d definitely advise anyone to come here.”
The school’s year 12 students, who are sitting their first year ‘AS’ exams also showed promising results with an overall pass rate of 77% (consistent with last year’s 78%). Of those, 42% achieved grades of A-C and 23% achieved grades of A-B.
Here the physics, geology, film studies and biology departments had all shown “added value” to their performance.

GCSE results
The number of pupils receiving five or more A*-C GCSE grades was up to 62 percent, its highest ever.
However the number of students attaining five A*-C grades with both maths and English remained at 40 percent. Across Wiltshire this average was 56 percent.
There were some outstanding individual achievements amongst the year group, including Bryony Humm, with seven A*s and five As, Isobel Titcombe Misani, with four A*s, six As and two Bs, Rylan Gooch with two A*s, 10 As and one B, Tim Randle with one A*, six As, four Bs and one C, Anne Walton with seven A*s and five As and Andrew Wickens who attained two A*s and nine A grades.
Anne Walton was delighted with her results.
“They’re so much better than I thought I’d do, I’m so happy” she said. “Before opening the envelope I was very scared, I didn’t want to open it to be honest! When I did I was just in shock, I was shaking. It makes the two years of work worth it.”
Anne will now take A levels at Matravers’ sixth form, before hopefully studying medicine at university.
Tim Randle, who also wants to go on to become a doctor said, “I did better than I thought I would. In a few I didn’t do so well but overall I’m really pleased. I was really nervous, I just live across the road and I was pacing up and down for half an hour before I came in.”
Chris Dark, headteacher, said that the results were good for the school, but that the focus had to be raising the percentage of students with five GSCEs grades A*-C with maths and English.
He dismissed the opinion that exams were getting easier by pointing out that students now receive much more assessment and support, and that pupils are aware that so much rides on their GSCE results. He also said credit was due to the school’s team of mentors, who provide all kinds of support to students who may be on the borderline of achieving C grades.
“We want to celebrate the students for all their efforts and the staff for all their efforts as well. I’m very pleased on their behalf,” he said.
Lionel Grundy, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for children’s services said, “I would like to offer my congratulations to all the students who have achieved qualifications.
“It is evident that the students have worked extremely hard in the courses supported by teachers, lecturers and families. I add my very best wishes to them in their continuing studies.
Carolyn Godfrey, Wiltshire Council director for children and education, said: “As in previous years, there are some outstanding individual and school results across all the qualification pathways. These reflect the skills and talents of young people and the way in which they continue to respond to the different challenges that are presented by the exams each year and the on-going improvements in the quality of teaching in our schools.”