GCSE league tables: Tears for some, but Drapers’ Academy, Harold Hill, is UK’s 18th fastest improver

16:00 24 January 2013

Drapers' principal Matthew Slater

Drapers' principal Matthew Slater


Drapers’ Academy saw the borough’s biggest increase in good GCSE grades last year, and was among the country’s 20 fastest improving schools, figures released today show.

Sixty-three per cent of GCSE students at the Harold Hill school, which opened in 2010, gained five or more GCSEs – including English and maths – at grades A* to C.

The figure compares with 36 per cent in 2011 – that’s a three-quarters increase, or an extra 27 per cent of year 11 achieving the top grades.

Just 17 of the UK’s 6,592 schools reported an upward trend on the same scale, making Drapers’ the country’s 18th fastest improving school.

Principal Matthew Slater said he was “delighted” with the news.

“There’s no easy route to school improvement – it’s about hard work, commitment and a focus on study,” he said.

“We’re delighted for the pupils that their hard work and dedication has paid off with such superb results.”

But it’s less good news elsewhere, with half Havering’s 24 mainstream secondaries seeing a drop in results.

Some, like St Edward’s C of E in Romford, believe they were hit by the controversial government-led change in English grade boundaries between January and June.

The shift, which prompted national uproar, saw exams taken in the summer attracting significantly lower grades than those taken just months earlier.

Head Alan Perry slammed the Department for Education for “moving the goalposts” and said the situation had hit St Edward’s particularly badly because of its decision to enter no students in the January exams.

Overall, St Edward’s reported a 19 per cent drop in the English-and-maths-inclusive five A*-to-C figure – the borough’s biggest decrease.

“We got 59 per cent A* to C grades in English, but 75 per cent in maths,” he told the Recorder. “Normally those results are comparable.”

He added a change in information from exam boards about grading coursework had also affected the figure – but said the school was “optimistic” about next year’s results.

Overall, Havering’s A* to C rate has dropped 2.4 per cent to its lowest since 2009 – 61.5 per cent compared with 63.9 in 2011.

That still places it 2.1 per cent above the national average, but the gap – which was 10 per cent in 2009 – is closing steadily.

One reason for that could be the controversial change in English exam marking between January and June that saw pupils all over the country missing out on expected grades.

Council leader Cllr Michael White said: “Our students and teachers worked extremely hard to achieve the best GCSE results possible. In many subjects, there was an improvement on previous years. We remain above the national average, with none of our schools or academies below the government’s minimum standard.

“Our English A* to C pass rate did fall but this was part of national marking issue which has yet to be fully resolved. We will continue to support all our schools and academies to achieve the best results possible.”


Latest Romford News Stories

Yesterday, 12:00

A look back at the biggest local stories from this week 20, 40 and 60 years ago.

Yesterday, 10:00
Athlete Christine Ohuruogu visited her secondary school St Edwards Church of England School in Romford to present a piece of the London 2012 Olympic track.

A former Olympic athlete wants to encourage young people to aim high as she presented her school with a piece of track from the London 2012 games.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

A theatre has taken a bold step to ensure that suffering from dementia should not be an obstacle to enjoying the excitement and delight of a stage 

Saturday, October 22, 2016
From left jewellery students Carol Carne, Gina Savill-Turner, Jo Golledge, chainmail queen Linda Parkyn. Daphne Freeman and tutor Carol Allen at the Fairkytes Arts Centre.

It started life in the mid-18th century as a private house for occupants including Joseph Fry, son of the famous prison reformer Elizabeth Fry.

Saturday, October 22, 2016
Student Alice and reporter Chloe Farand talking about the care suite at Havering Sixth Form College

Chloe Farand meets Havering Sixth Form College’s mental health officer and the care team, who support students day to day

Saturday, October 22, 2016
Ardleigh Green Road, Photo: Google Maps

CCTV footage of two men sought in connection with an incident where a woman was robbed and dragged along a pavement has been released by police.

Friday, October 21, 2016
Residents from Orchard Village warn against plans for 750 homes in New Road, Rainham

People angered by a host of problems on their estate have staged a protest about the housing association as it presented new plans for 750 homes.

Friday, October 21, 2016
Police were called after reports of an incident at the Thomson travel agency in Upminster this morning

Police are attending an incident at a travel agents with reports that the building has been cordoned off.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news


Show Job Lists

News from your area


Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.


£3,000 goes a long way at Boots

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

Kit yourself out and go Apple mad!

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now