Students were celebrating first class GCSE results across Sheffield today - raising hopes schools may at last have reached the city’s most important education target.
Secondaries reporting best-ever pass rates included Ecclesfield, Notre Dame and Fir Vale, while the city’s two original academies, Sheffield Springs and Sheffield Park, said their early estimates told a similar story.
Sheffield schools overall need to improve their results by just four per cent to equal the 2012 national average of just under 59 per cent.
And with national pass rates predicted to show little change this year, education chiefs are hopeful a historic breakthrough may finally have been achieved.
Ecclesfield headteacher Joe Wirth said 69 per cent of his students had achieved five GCSE passes at A* to C, including English and maths.
“That is up by six per cent and is by a sizeable distance our best result ever,” he said.
“This with 1,740 students is the biggest school in the city and our 346 Year 11s have produced an outstanding set of results.”
Ecclesfield is also among the top 20 per cent of the most improved schools in the country, with results up by 22 per cent in just three years.
Fir Vale’s pass rate was 53 per cent, up by 13 and a record for the school.
Headteacher Breffni Martin said: “After last year when the sudden changes in the English grade boundaries resulted in a national statistical fix that disadvantaged many of our students, we are delighted with this year’s achievements.”
After a critical inspection report this year ordered improvements, students at Broomhill’s King Edward VII School bounced back with a pass rate of 62 per cent, up 11.
Headteacher Beverley Jackson said: “We are delighted that again our students have fulfilled their potential at all levels.”
Stannington’s Forge Valley School - which was placed in special measures by inspectors in May - reported a two per cent increase to 47 per cent.
Headteacher Diane McKinlay said excellent English results in particular showed the school was now making significant progress.
One Sheffield school remains below the Government’s so-called ‘floor target’ of 40 per cent - Chaucer in Parson Cross, which reported a pass rate of 38 per cent, up one.
But headteacher Scott Burnside said it had been a year of change, with its conversion to an academy, new staff and new leadership.
“While our target was 40 per cent, we now feel we have the platform in place to move forward strongly in the years to come,” he added.
The city’s best state sector pass rate was reported at Notre Dame, with its highest ever score of 80 per cent.
Tapton School in Crosspool reported a 75 per cent pass rate, up four, Silverdale’s score was relatively unchanged on 72, while Bradfield students also achieved 72 per cent, up eight.
At Meadowhead the pass rate was 65 per cent, the same as in 2012, while at Newfield in Norton Lees passes rose by one per cent to 45.
Heads across the city said this year’s results showed tougher marking regimes were in place in maths and science subjects, after similar changes in English last year.
Tapton head David Bowes said: “A lot has been said nationally about the need to maintain standards, for consolidation, but youngsters caught in the middle may have received a D instead of a C grade.”