EHT News – A-Level results 2019

Aug 19

Dear all,

The Key Stage 5 results were published last Thursday and, I am delighted to report that our A-level and level 3 vocational results have shown significant improvement and have given us our most successful key stage 5 results ever.

Indeed, JCSC is amongst the top performing schools in the county for A-level outcomes this year with all measures above national average. 

This isn’t surprising to those of us who work at James Calvert Spence College as we know how much hard work goes into ensuring each and every one of our students maximises their potential.

Our A-level teachers deliver high quality lessons to small classes, allowing for individual attention.

Our pastoral care is second to none – Mr Moore, our Head of Sixth Form, knows each and every student inside out, and works tirelessly throughout the year to ensure they are on target for superb results and that they have a pathway for the future. To further enhance this key area of school life, we have a new pastoral support officer starting this autumn whose role will be supporting year 11, 12 and 13.

JCSC is a caring community. Every member of staff, both teaching and non-teaching, knows and cares about all our students from the moment they join us aged 9 until days like last Thursday, when we see them rewarded for their hard work.

If you are the parent of a 16 year old who is looking to choose a school or college to attend in the sixth form, why look further than James Calvert Spence College?

I think we’re fairly unique in that we strive to provide courses to suit our students by asking them what they would like to study. We don’t just churn out last year’s post-16 prospectus – we ASK year 11 what interests them, what they would like to study and look at the local labour market. That gives us our dynamic choice of courses in both vocational and academic areas of study – and we are successful in both.

Initial A-level data indicates that the top performing schools in the county, including JCSC, are not secondary but middle/high schools who work very closely together.

That comes as no surprise to me as I know the very thing that makes JCSC unique is that we do get to know our students two years earlier than secondary schools. I believe that, whilst the transition from our feeder first schools can be a little daunting at first [for both students and parents], our year-on-year improvement at GCSE and A-levels vindicate this model. These are, after all, the test results that go on application forms for jobs and university applications.

As for the initial adventure of starting a new ‘bigger’ school, we think we have the answer to that too. Part of this is to have one teacher with their own year 5 / year 6 class, so that relationships are formed and the teacher gets to know each child very quickly indeed. A second key strand is to have experienced leadership and we are lucky to have Mrs Nicholson working with us this upcoming academic year – she is an experienced headteacher who will lead our dedicated KS2 team. Thirdly, as a parent you would want the name of someone you can talk to if you have any concerns, queries or important information to share with us – that name is Mrs Stewart, our pastoral support officer for years 5 and 6 who joins us next month.

One of the more prestigious headline figures for A-level performance is the proportion of students who attain top grades of AAB in at least two highly academic subjects – maths, geography, history, English, languages and sciences. Nationally, 16% of students achieved this benchmark last year, but more than double that proportion of our year 13 students have accomplished this in 2019 – 33%.

Almost half of our students attained a top grade – either A*/A at A-level or a Distinction*/Distinction in vocational qualifications.

A-level maths grades have been 100% A*-C for the previous 2 years, but Mr McInally has gone one better this year, with 100% of all grades A*, A or B – a fantastic achievement!

Other highlights from A-level subjects include:

  • 100% of photography grades were A*-C
  • 100% of English language grades were A*-C
  • 90% of chemistry grades were A*-C
  • 83% of geography grades were A*-C
  • 80% of sociology grades were A*-C

Performance in A-level equivalent vocational subjects also improved this year, allowing students to demonstrate their abilities in more practical areas such as business, fashion, ICT and sport:

  • 67% of grades in business were Distinction
  • 100% of grades in ICT were Merit, Distinction or Distinction*
  • 100% of grades in fashion were Merit or Distinctions
  • 60% of grades in sport were Distinction or Distinction*

Our students have succeeded in achieving the grades that will allow them to go on to destinations of their choice. This year we have two students studying medicine, and others joining top universities to study subjects as diverse as chemistry, computer science, nursing and pharmacy. Others are following their own individual paths and all have demonstrated the drive, ability and work ethic to be successful in whatever the future holds for them.

I am incredibly proud of our students, and of all the staff who work as one team to ensure James Calvert Spence College continues to improve.

If you have a child who is due to start year 5 or year 12 in September and would like to find out more about life at James Calvert Spence College, or to discuss any area of school life, please do get in touch.

Best wishes,

Neil Rodgers

Executive Headteacher