VIDEO: Academy students are a class act at exams

CELEBRATions ... headteacher Frank O'Neill, centre, with sixth-form students at St Joseph's Catholic Academy collecting their A-level results.

CELEBRATions ... headteacher Frank O'Neill, centre, with sixth-form students at St Joseph's Catholic Academy collecting their A-level results.

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students and staff at South Tyneside’s latest academy have proved they are top class.

Top grades at both A-level and AS-level at St Joseph’s Catholic Academy in Hebburn were better than last year.

The overall exam pass rate at the Mill Lane school remained at 98.3 per cent, with 99.99 per cent of all students gaining a minimum of two A-levels or their equivalent

And with exam marking said to be getting tougher across the UK, headteacher Frank O’Neill said he was “really pleased” to see so many students gaining good grades.

“I’m particularly pleased to see the amount of A* to B grades going up,” he said.

“All the indications are that exams are getting harder, and rather than assess students in three modules, assessment is now taking place right at the end, so it’s pleasing to see our results continuing to improve.”

Beverley Smith, its director of sixth form, added: “We had 175 students sitting A-levels, and I am really pleased at how well they did and excited for them as they move on to the next stage of their lives.”

There were many individual academic success stories at the Hebburn school, including Connor Jackman, 18, of Jarrow, now on his way to Somerville College at Oxford University to study German.

He said: “I’m delighted after getting an A* in German and three As in maths, geography and English, and I cannot wait to get to Oxford.

“I’ve had great support from staff at the school, and I was thrilled with my results.”

His mum, Lisa Jackman, 40, said: “Connor was offered a place after attending a summer school at Oxford, which he loved.

“We’re all really proud of him. Connor’s very self-confident, and I’m sure he’ll do well at Somerville.”

Josh Hills, 18, of Hebburn, plans to study computer science at university after gaining two A* and two As.

He said: “It’s been a great experience at St Joseph’s, where an eccentric group of people have really been supportive.”

The school saw an increase in very top grades, with the percentage of pupils gaining A* to B grades rising by five per cent, from 36 per cent in 2013 to 41 per cent in 2014, while 63 per cent of students counted A* or B grades among their results.

Some 99.99 per cent of students gained a minimum of two A-levels or their equivalent, and 89 per cent achieved a minimum of three A-levels or their equivalent.

A total of 27 out 32 subjects saw a 100 per cent pass rate.

There was an 85 per cent pass rate at AS-level, with the standard maintained from last year.

There was also an increase in top grades at AS-level, with the percentage of A to B grades increasing from 29 per cent last year to 32 per cent. Mr O’Neill added: “We are very pleased with our results this year.

“At a time when A-level exams are becoming harder, we have increased our results at the top grades at both A-level and AS-level for the second year running.

“There are many individual success stories and personal triumphs for students who have overcome challenges to achieve the right grades.”

Twitter: @terrykelly16

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