Education chiefs predict record A-level pass rates

AS HUNDREDS of Sheffield students prepare to open their A-level results today, city education chiefs are predicting a record number of good passes.

But that won’t ease the predicted scramble to secure university places, as rising unemployment prompts thousands more school-leavers to opt for higher education.

Early indications suggest that this year’s results will again result in a citywide pass rate of above 95%, continuing a trend maintained over the last four years.

Seven city secondary schools have sixth forms and A-level courses are also run at Sheffield College and Longley Park. Individual results were mixed.

Sheffield College reported its highest-ever pass rate at 96.9% – almost 1% up on 2008, with 19 subjects reporting a 100% pass rate. A-B grades were up almost five points to 34.4%.

Notre Dame High School clocked up a record 33% A grade passes, with 60% A-B and a 99% pass rate overall.

High Storrs’ A-B grades were also at a record high, up by an impressive 9% on last year at 54%, with an overall pass rate of 98%.

High Stoors head Roisin Paul said: “We are very proud of all our students and their achievements. They, and their teachers, have worked studiously and with real commitment and enthusiasm and we are confident that most of them will have secured the grades necessary for the next stage of their careers.”

Independent Birkdale achieved its best-ever A grade tally, at 51% – up three on last year – with 76% A-B passes and 99.7% overall.

Sheffield High School notched up a record 83% A-B passes, 58% of them at grade A. The school also bucked the trend with outstanding results in less popular subjects including further maths and sciences.

The further maths group all attained grade A – each in a total of five subjects. They are Alison Andrew from Chesterfield, Nicola Chan-Lam from Fulwood, Isabel Henley from Whirlow, Amy Ruddleston from Rotherham and head girl Taj Tomouk from Ecclesall, who also achieved a merit in the biology extension paper.

The school’s youngest success was 11-year-old Emily Hogg from Middlewood, who has passed AS level Japanese after achieving A* at GCSE last year.

Tapton’s A-B grades were up one, to 61%, contributing to an overall pass rate of 98%. All Saints matched that and reported an A-B score of 34%.

Silverdale was down fractionally, to around 59%, but only one ungraded paper left them with an overall pass rate of 99.8%.

Assistant head Tony Moore said they were very pleased: “Although the A-B rate is down slightly, in value-added terms they’re probably better than last year.

“Our main concern is the position with universities. The dialogue coming out suggests that this year they’re tightening up on entry requirements, so the stance with regard to students who miss their grades is uncertain.”

Help is at hand for those who fail to achieve their expected marks.

Most schools have specialist advisors on hand to offer advice. Sheffield Futures, which delivers the Connexions careers service, is also offering a drop-in centre at Star House, 43 Division Street, where students and their families can seek guidance.

The office is open Monday to Thursday, 9am-5pm and Friday, 10am-4.30pm; or speak to a personal advisor on (0114) 201 2800.