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Figures reveal how well Suffolk students performed in their GCSE exams

New figures reveal how well students at Suffolk schools performed in their GCSE exams – with Debenham High School coming out on top.

The school achieved a strong score in the Progress 8 measure, which is used to assess how much pupils have improved during their time at the school.

GCSE results for the 2018-19 academic year are compared to how students performed in Key Stage 2 exams, and used to calculate the amount of value the school is adding to a child’s education.

Debenham High School has come out on top in Progress 8 scores in Suffolk. Pictured are Millie Clark, Alfred Scott, headteacher Julia Upton, Frazer McMyn and Maisy Ward-Jackson. Picture by Mecha Morton.
Debenham High School has come out on top in Progress 8 scores in Suffolk. Pictured are Millie Clark, Alfred Scott, headteacher Julia Upton, Frazer McMyn and Maisy Ward-Jackson. Picture by Mecha Morton.

Under Progress 8, pupils are measured across their scores in eight GCSEs, including core subjects such as English, maths and science, and their best scores in other chosen subjects.

Scores of above and below zero are better and worse than average, respectively.

Debenham High School obtained a Progress 8 score of 0.7, making it the top performing school in Suffolk, and headteacher Julia Upton said she was delighted with the outcome.

“Results like this do not come from any one individual, but from staff, students and parents working together,” she said.

“These results, in both attainment and progress terms, represent work with students across their five years at Debenham High School, not just what happens in the final stages of GCSE preparation.

She added: “We believe that our success comes from seeing academic and holistic development as inseparable, with clear and high expectations of all students.”

Joint third was Hartismere High School in Eye and Stradbroke High School, both of which obtained a score of 0.34.

Karen Millar, head of school at Stradbroke High School, said: “We are delighted to once again be one of the highest performing schools in Suffolk. It reflects the hard work of the students, and staff who support them.

“The school’s success is a result of our continuous dedication to ensuring every individual student in our community is provided with the opportunity to excel beyond their expectations.”

James McAtear, headteacher at Hartismere School, said the results were a testimony to his hard-working teachers and support staff.

“We are particularly pleased because we had the highest A-level scores in Suffolk this year as well,” said Mr McAtear.

“However, what we are really pleased about is that we haven’t engaged in the various forms of cheating that is so common in schools now.

“For example, we have not engaged in the systematic off-rolling of children, which has now become a focus of Ofsted to bring an end to this practice, which is so damaging to children.”

Off-rolling is an illegal practice where schools deliberately encourage parents to withdraw their child from school, either because they bring a school’s overall results down or are too disruptive.

Also listed in the top 10 was Thomas Mills High School in Framlingham.

The school, which obtained a Progress 8 score of 0.28, has children joining from more than 35 primary schools every year.

Headteacher Philip Hurst, who joined the school in 2013, said: “We are really pleased to learn of this figure.

“It’s another indication that pupils, with the help of staff, make really good progress here.

“The curriculum is a good academic curriculum and pupils and staff are really engaged with the choices that they make.”

The tables – released by the Department for Education – are not as detailed as the full secondary performance tables, which are issued in January.

Schools with missing or incomplete data were excluded from the rankings.

The top schools in Suffolk, according to their Progress 8 scores, were:

1 - Debenham High School (Progress 8 score: 0.70)

2 - East Point Academy (0.37)

=3 - Copleston High School (0.34)

- Hartismere School (0.34)

- Stradbroke High School (0.34)

6 - Bungay High School (0.30)

=7 - Farlingaye High School (0.29)

- St Benedict’s Catholic School (0.29)

9 - Thomas Mills High School (0.28)

10 - King Edward VI Church of England Voluntary Controlled Upper School (0.27)

And the worst were:

42 - Holbrook Academy (-0.44)

43 - Stoke High School - Ormiston Academy (-0.52)

44 - Felixstowe Academy (-0.63)

45 - Priory School (-1.52)

46 - The Ashley School (-1.55)

Data from the Department for Education.

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