A SOUTH Tyneside academy is celebrating being top of the tree when it comes to exam results.
GCSE and A-level tables published today put Whitburn Church of England Academy ahead of the rest in the borough.
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An impressive 84 per cent of the children gained the gold star of five or more A*-C grade GCSEs, including maths and English, and 91 per cent of the students passed five or more GCSEs grade A*-C in any subject.
Alan Hardie, principal at Whitburn CofE Academy, puts the success down to the hard work and dedication of both the students and the staff.
He said: “It is fantastic credit for the pupils and the staff.”
The principal added there is a huge amount of work that goes into achieving such good results.
Mr Hardie said: “Our staff put on extra lessons after school thoughout the year and 85 per cent of our students attend these classes, giving up an hour every evening so they can achieve better results.”
There was also success for St Joseph’s Catholic Academy who topped the A-level tables for South Tyneside, with an average point score per student of 205.4.
The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is an increasingly important performance measure, and is now taken into account when Ofsted inspectors visit schools.
It is not a qualification, but measures where pupils have secured a grade C or above in a core batch of academic subjects, maths, English, history or geography, a science and a modern foreign language.
St Wilfrid’s RC College in South Shields proved top in the borough for the measure with 40 per cent of children clinching the EBacc, putting them in a good position to continue on in further education.
Overall in South Tyneside, the number of students gaining five or more A*-C grades including maths and English fell from 59.2 per cent in 2013, to 54 per cent last year.
However, this was in line with the national average where the figure dropped from 60.6 per cent in 2013, to 56.6 per cent last year.
Changes to the exam structure, such as preventing multiple sitting of the exams, has been blamed for the fall.
Coun Joan Atkinson, lead member for children, young people and families at South Tyneside Council, said: “A number of changes to GCSE exams last year – many of them introduced very late in the day – resulted in some volatility in results, which is reflected in this blip.
“Results fell across the rest of the country for the same reasons.
“We are committed to working with schools to help them adjust to the new curricula and exam format, and are confident that results will improve next year. Despite the changes to exams, our schools and very many young people continued to achieve high levels of success and they are to be congratulated for that.
“A report published last year by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills, is perhaps a better indicator of school performance, as it takes a longer-term view.
“In that report, South Tyneside’s secondary schools came out in second place in the North East – which included Yorkshire and Humberside.”