A E-ACT Insight by Ellena Schuster-Farrell 22 August 2019

Our students have once again excelled themselves having this year achieved the trust’s best-ever GCSE results.

In direct comparison to 2018, the number of E-ACT students achieving a standard pass (9-4) in both mathematics and English (either literature or language) has leapt up by six percentage points to 55%* this year.

In mathematics, the number of E-ACT students who have achieved a standard pass (9-4) is up by seven percentage points on last year to 61% and is above the national average (60%) for the first time. This achievement is all the more impressive given the introduction of new and tougher GCSEs in recent years.

Over the last five years, our students’ GCSE results have been on an upward trajectory. The percentage of pupils awarded a standard pass in mathematics and English in 2014 was 46%. Over the course of five years this figure has risen by nine percentage points to 55%. 

We are proud that more E-ACT students than ever before are leaving our academies better prepared for the rigours of post 16 education or the world of work and apprenticeships. In a direct comparison with 2018, 136 more students have this year achieved a standard pass in both mathematics and English. 

With considerable improvements in pass rates at many of our academies, and our students achieving top marks in a variety of subjects, we have plenty to be proud of on GCSE results day. 

Special mentions for E-ACT academies 

While results across the trust have given us plenty of reason to cheer this morning, we take this opportunity to highlight exceptional academy performance. 

Heartlands Academy 

  • It has been yet another phenomenal year for Heartlands Academy. The academy is one of the top performing schools in the country for progress.
  • In 2019, 84% of students have achieved at least a 4+ in English and mathematics, rising from 69% just last year and 60% in 2017. 
  • Heartlands has also seen an increase in the number of students achieving a strong pass (9-5) in English and mathematics, rising from 49% in 2018 to 71% in 2019.  
  • An impressive 47% of Heartlands students have achieved the equivalent of eight grade 7s or more.

North Birmingham Academy 

  • NBA has experienced the biggest jump of any E-ACT academy in the standard pass rate (9-4) in both mathematics and English this year, rising from 46% last year to 66% this year. 
  • In 2019, 40% of NBA students have achieved a strong pass (9-5) in English and mathematics, a 17% improvement on last year’s results.  

City Heights E-ACT Academy 

  • City Heights E-ACT Academy has experienced a considerable jump in the standard pass rate (9-4) in both mathematics and English, rising from 43% last year to 62% this year. 
  • City Heights has also seen an increase in the number of students achieving a strong pass (9-5) in English and mathematics, rising from 23% in 2018 to 38% in 2019.  

Shenley Academy 

  • The staff and students of Shenley Academy certainly had reason to be proud this morning as they have experienced a 10% rise in their results: 53% of students have achieved at least a 4+ in English and mathematics. 
  • There has been excellent improvement in mathematics with the standard pass rate (9-4) increasing from 44% in 2018 to 57% in 2019. 
  • This year, 34% of Shenley students have achieved a strong pass (9-5) in English and mathematics – a 5% improvement on last year. 

Numerical grading explained 

Traditional letter grades (A*-G) have now been replaced by numerical grades, where 9 is the highest mark and 1 the lowest. 

Under this new system an A is equivalent to a 7 while a C is anchored at grade 4. 

Note that there are two levels of passes – a standard pass at grade 4 and a strong pass at grade 5. 

The reason for introducing numerical grading is largely so that sixth forms, universities and employers have more detail on the highest-achieving candidates. For example, we now have 7 to 9 grades instead of just A* and A at the very top end. 

Well done all! 

We know just how hard our students and staff have worked over the last academic year and in the run up to the exams. We are delighted for all of our Year 11 students as they collect their results slips, and we look forward to seeing the full range of celebratory dances as they happen! 

Many, many congratulations to you all. 

*We are pleased to share with you our provisional results for this year.