Nerves were jangling today as Sheffield students received their long-awaited A-level results against a background of uncertainty and change.
But Tapton School at Crosspool was among the first to reduce the tension by reporting that its students had achieved a four per cent increase on 2013’s pass rate at the top A*, A and B grades – up from 67 per cent to 71.
Four teenagers have been accepted by Oxbridge colleges while 40 per cent of candidates have gained places at top Russell Group universities.
There was good news too at Tapton’s sister school, Forge Valley at Stannington, which officially remains in special measures.
Its A-level pass rate was also up by four per cent, from 26 per cent to 30 per cent.
Head of sixth form for both schools Andrew Wright said Tapton’s results were the best ever for the second year running.
“It was a very good year group, with hardworking staff and supportive parents, and when those three things are in place it is a recipe for success.
“As for Forge Valley it is clear we are making real and sustainable improvement,” Mr Wright added.
Staff at Broomhill’s King Edward VII School also reported best ever results with 60 per cent of passes at the top grades, also up four per cent.
Seven students are preparing to take up places at Oxford or Cambridge.
Headteacher Bev Jackson said it had been an excellent year for the sixth form.
“We are delighted that the hard work of our students, the commitment of our teaching staff and the support of parents has yielded such superb results,” she added.
Notre Dame RC High School at Ranmoor reported a more modest improvement with a 58 per cent pass rate, up by one per cent.
Head teacher Jane Wills said students and staff had worked hard despite the context of a constantly changing educational landscape.
“Students have worked very hard for these achievements as every year the bar gets higher. “The staff provided tremendous support and parents, students and governors appreciate the extra mile they always put in,” she added.
At Longley Park Sixth Form College principal Mo Nisbet said the A*-B pass rate was up by two points to 38 per cent – the best ever results for the second year in a row.
She said: “Staff have worked tirelessly to support our students to achieve their very best.
“These results are a testament to the hard work which has gone into continued improvement in all aspects of the college as well as in our partner schools.”
At Sheffield College, the largest A-level provider in the city with campuses at Hillsborough, Norton, Peaks and City, results dipped slightly.
Eighteen per cent of passes were at the top grades, down two per cent on last year.
Executive director of student experience Bill Jones said the overall pass rate had been 95 per cent from 546 exam entries.
“This year’s results have shown a slight dip, reflecting the anticipated national trend. Although that is disappointing, I am still pleased that the hard work of our students and staff has helped to maintain a stable pass rate and minimise the decrease.”
He added: “We appreciate that it’s a nerve-wracking time for our students. I’d like to remind them that our staff are on hand to offer any additional advice, guidance and support they may need, and to wish them all the very best for their future.”
Meanwhile at the independent Sheffield High School the pass rate was up by seven per cent on last year, to 80 per cent at A*-B grades.