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Strong set of GCSE results for Orchard in a turbulent year

Published on 24/08/17

Orchard School Bristol has achieved a strong set of GCSE results in what has been a turbulent year as students and staff tackled the new tougher assessments.


The school was delighted to report a 45 per cent standard pass rate (4 and above) in English and maths, with many individual success stories making Thursday, August 24, a day to celebrate.

The change in the way results are reported for English and maths – using marks of 9 to 1 instead of grades A*-G – meant the school could not judge progress against previous years but outgoing head teacher Dr Helen Holman said pupils had excelled themselves.

She said: “I am delighted for each one of the students and of course for the staff who have supported them to this stage. I am proud that these results demonstrate clearly the success that Orchard is achieving.

“There are many individual students who have much to celebrate, including our four looked-after children, all of whom performed brilliantly. They worked so hard, well done to all of them.

“Our large number of young carers, too, have performed exceptionally well, having displayed real tenacity and perseverance over the past five years.

“This is a brilliant day for me as well as a really emotional one saying goodbye to a great Year 11, great staff and a great school. After 11 years I could not feel happier as I know the school and all who attend and work here have a great future and will go from strength to strength.”

Among Orchard’s star performers is Isabella Lawson, who achieved a stunning 9 in English language, 8 in maths and English literature and A*s in eight other subjects as well as the creative writing AS level she had already achieved.

Also celebrating was Ruby Smith, who was stunned to achieve 8s in English language and maths, a 7 in English literature, two A*s, an A, four Bs and two Cs. Her success in English was particularly sweet after what she described as a “disastrous” mock exam. She is now heading to Redland Green to study A levels in maths, philosophy and history.

Also taking another step towards her goal – that of becoming a doctor – was Ellie Boyd, who earned 7s in English language, English literature and maths, an A*, two As, five Bs and two Cs – in addition to the GCSE in classics she achieved in Year 9.

Having already undertaken work experience at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, Ellie is now hoping to study biology, chemistry, maths and psychology A levels at North Bristol Post-16 Centre, with her sights firmly set on medical school.

Also hoping to become a doctor is Mohammed Ahmed, who was very pleased to receive 5s in English literature and language, a 7 in maths, two As and six Bs. Mohammed, who secured work experience at Southmead Hospital, is now off to study A levels in maths, biology and chemistry at Redland Green – although he said he would miss “having fun” at Orchard.

Crina Koncsag arrived at Orchard at the start of the year from Romania but sitting her GCSEs in English proved no obstacle as her envelope revealed she had attained 7s in English literature, English language and maths, two As, two Bs and a C.

She said: “I was nervous but knew I had studied hard. I have been learning English for eight years and I love languages - maths was a bit harder as some of the terms were new to me.

“I am now hoping to study English, French and geography at St Bede’s and in future I would like to be an air hostess.”

Another student with something to celebrate is Max Grant, who earned an A* with distinction in his further maths GCSE, having dropped just 13 marks out of 175 – and all a year early. Max, who is going into Year 11 at Orchard in September and has represented the school in maths competitions, said: “I knew I had a good chance of getting an A after getting good marks in my mock exams and I worked hard for it.”

The keen sportsman, who plays rugby and handball, having been selected for the South West of England Handball Academy, says he plans to go to college and university in the future and hopes to have a career in sport.

Deputy head Peter Gould said: “I’m really pleased that the vast majority of students have gained the qualifications needed to move on to the next stage of their academic and vocational lives.”

Head of English Jennifer Marsh said: “It has been lovely today to see so much celebration after the students went through so much change this year. I’m really pleased after what has been a turbulent year.

“The English and maths departments have produced some top tips that have been shared with the other departments to help as they change to the new system, as we work very collaboratively at Orchard. Our experiences this year will help them, as well as helping us moving forward for next year.”

Julia Hinchliffe, who joins Orchard as head teacher in September, said she was excited to see the results achieved by young people at Orchard, which demonstrated the strength and depth of teaching and learning at the school.

Photos of results day can be viewed, here.