Boys at a Sunderland secondary have smashed the national average of GCSE grades 7 and above. Almost 30% of all grades achieved at St Aidan’s Catholic Academy, which is part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, were grades 9 – 7 compared to the national average of 21.6%.

Kristof Mayamaya scooped top grades across the board with nine grade 9s. “I knew the grade boundaries were going to be higher this year but this just shows that with hard work you can achieve anything,” said Kristof, who is excited about continuing his studies at St Aidan’s and St Anthony’s Sixth Form College. “I am going to continue to set my sights high.

Hard work paid off for Sitaram Chitneni, who studied for three hours or more a day for his GCSE exams. He achieved three grade 9s and five grade 8s. “I’m delighted as I can now take four A Levels at St Aidan’s and St Anthony’s Sixth Form,” he said. “I worked for three hours or more a day for these exams and it has paid off with these results.

Another student, Adam McKenzie, achieved one grade 9 and six grade 8s and is now off to study maths, business studies and economics at Sixth Form. “I’m excited to be moving onto the next chapter and my dream of being an accountant,” he said. “I have worked so hard for this.

Also celebrating was Nayan Nair, who achieved two grade 9s and six grade 8s. Now looking forward to studying A levels in biology, chemistry and physics at Sixth Form, he said: “I’m extremely happy and grateful for my results and looking forward to pursuing my plans for studying medicine at university.

Despite a sleepless night of nerves, Reece Pilkington was happy to have achieved three grade 7s in English language, English literature and RE. “I didn’t sleep well last night thinking about my results, but I’m so happy now and I can pursue my dream of being a lawyer,” he said.

Executive headteacher Glenn Sanderson said: “We are incredibly proud of our students’ achievements this year. Their hard work and dedication, along with the support of our talented staff, have resulted in outstanding results. These results reflect the commitment to excellence in education at our school. We congratulate our students and look forward to supporting their continued success in the future.

With almost 30% of all grades achieved at the school being 9-7 (old A* – A) and 77% of St Aidan’s pupils achieving a grade 5 and above in English, they are delighted with the pupils’ success.

Despite national press indicating poor male performance, over 30% of our boys achieved the top grades of 9 – 7 in maths,” said Mr Sanderson. “In addition to these outstanding outcomes, and in a different exam climate to previous years, it was also pleasing to note that the initial calculations for progress 8 demonstrate all pupils at St Aidan’s make outstanding progress from their starting points. 72% of pupils completed the EBACC pathway – a group of seven subjects which keeps young people’s options open for further study and a future career; this is significantly higher than national, with some of our pupils completing three languages.

This level of excellence doesn’t happen by accident; the boys and staff have worked extremely hard, living and breathing our core values, dedicating time to their studies and climbing to the top of their mountain – most importantly the grades they have achieved will open many doors, enabling them to continue their journey either academically or to pursue a good career.

Nationally, GCSE results have fallen for a second year running with 68.2% of all grades marked at grades 4 and above. The fall in passes is due to England’s plan to bring grades back down after a spike in top results during the Covid pandemic.

In England, GCSEs are now graded using a numerical system from 9 – 1 rather than A – E. Students need a grade 4 for a “strong pass”.

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Press release issued by SASS media on behalf of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust. For more information, contact Sarah Dale on 07814 976582.