GCSE results 2017: What to watch out for in Norfolk and Waveney
Tomorrow, thousands of teenagers will open their GCSE results after months of revision. Lauren Cope looks at what we should be watching out for as results come in.
This student group will be the first to receive numerical grades, in a system which will eventually see the traditional A* to G letters phased out.
This year, English language, English literature and maths will be replaced with numbers from nine to one, with other subjects switched over in the next two years.
A nine is equivalent to an A* and a one a G, while a four is a good pass, a C, and a five a strong pass, on the C/B border.
The new system is intended to make exams more challenging, and provide differentiation between top achievers. It is understood fewer nines will be handed out than A*s were last year.
Schools will use the percentage of students who achieved a level four or above, so a C or higher, in English and maths as a headline figure. It will making comparing results year on year difficult, but will give an indication of the overall trend.
Despite a government publicity drive, studies have shown the majority of parents and businesses do not understand the scale.
The big picture
Results day in 2016 provided cause for celebration in Norfolk and Suffolk.
On the day, both counties reported a rise in the percentage of students landing A* to C grades in English and maths, with Norfolk rising from 57pc to 61pc and Suffolk jumping from 57pc to 60pc.
And provisional tables from the government, released in October, put Norfolk and Suffolk in the top half of the national GCSE league table - for the first time in a decade.
Using the Progress 8 measure, which was introduced last year and will not be published until autumn, Norfolk and Suffolk scored 0.02 - above the national average of -0.03.
It was a welcome boost which came two years after the council introduced its school improvement scheme.
There were still mixed results behind the figures, with some schools - including Ormiston Denes Academy in Lowestoft, which had a Progress 8 score of -0.66 - performing poorly.
This year, the results will reveal the impact of overhauled GCSE courses, which have moved away from coursework and modular exams.
Exam boards have reportedly been told to expect more remarks, suggesting initial results may be lower than schools hope.
Norwich is always an interesting area - in 2014 it was shamed by the government as having the lowest proportion of at least five A* to Cs, including English and maths in the country.
It shook the label off the following year, but still produces mixed results.
Last year, Hewett Academy and City Academy Norwich (CAN) were identified as concerns, with a Progress 8 score which the government said was “well below average”.
They scored -0.54 and -0.52 respectively, well below the Norfolk average of 0.02.
At the Hewett, just 34pc of pupils scored a grade C or better in English and maths, and just 38pc did at CAN.
At CAN, poor exam results prompted questions over its future, though its sponsor, the Transforming Education in Norfolk (TEN) Group, said work was ongoing to turn things around.
For the Hewett, results day will come two months after former principal Tom Leverage left in June, with Rebecca Handley Kirk due to take over in September.
Sewell Park Academy also performed poorly, with 43pc scoring a C or above in English and maths.
Conversely, Notre Dame High School boasted one of the county’s highest results, with 81pc.
The highest result in Norfolk, 85pc, came from Hethersett Academy.
In February, King’s Lynn Academy was told it was inadequate by Ofsted, with a new headteacher later drafted in.
Last year the school’s results were in the bottom three in Norfolk, with a Progress 8 score of -0.54 and percentage of grade Cs and above in English and maths at 44pc.
Similarly, Downham Market Academy scored -0.47 and 47pc. The school was put into special measures in July and will move to a new academy trust in September.