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Record A*/A Grades in GCSES at South Dartmoor – Summer 2016

GCSE results in August 2016 are the best ever results for A*/A grades at South Dartmoor.  We have made this a key area of focus and it is exciting to see these outcomes.

I would to congratulate our last-year’s Year 11 students for all of the hard work and dedication they have put into attaining the following exceptional outcomes:

Number attaining at least 1 A*/A, representing an element strength for an individual student:  60.7% (up by 6.2%)

Number attaining 3 A*/A: 31.9% (up by 4.7%)

Number attaining 5 A*/A: 20.2% - this is a key measure for schools and we have made 20% our threshold target; with an increase of 3.8% this is the first time we have met this level of excellence.

Number attaining 8 A*/A: 11.3% - this is the second key measure and our target for this has been 10%; again, we are up by 4.2% in this level of excellence, which is amazing.


This is significantly positive for the college and demonstrates a high level of success with our high performing students. We have increased our A*/A performance in all the areas measured which can only be achieved through high quality teaching and learning, excellent differentiation and through stretching our able students but especially through genuine hard work by the students.



 Some students managed 11 A*/As with their results – exceptional!

Coupled with our outstanding academic success at Sixth Form (in the top 10% of Sixth Forms for value added nationally), South Dartmoor is genuinely successful with its High Performing academic students. This also comes across in our excellence in the Arts, in Sport, in our school community, and in the outstanding behaviour of the students.

In our flagship ‘extended thinking’ programme, high levels of thinking skills are integrated across all subjects. Where students have specific Extended Thinking lessons, students also excelled. In both GCSE General Studies and the Level 2 research Higher Project Qualification, students gained 100% A*-C. One of the projects about The Probation Service (Anna S), has been given special mention by the exam board and passed with 100%. These projects have been commended by the examiner across the board. We will continue to deliver Extended Thinking programme to our High Performing academics through Impact Days in Year 8-10, and with our excellent Year 10 group who started the whole process when they were Year 8s. Some of their projects are awe-inspiring and I will share these with you later this year.

However it is only effective if our departments match this work. Fantastically, this year many of our departments are also enjoying outstanding A*/A pass rates. 14 departments exceeded their A*/A target thresholds, and 8 departments gained 90+% A*-C pass rates.

An amazing 23.1% of all exams taken last year were marked as an A* or A.

I hope you will be as excited and thrilled with these results as we are and join us in revelling in the fact that our young people have bucked the national trends this year; revelling in their successes and feeling immensely proud of them going into a new year.  I look forward to continuing to work with very many of these students as they continue into our outstanding Sixth Form, confident that they will continue to grow and progress through their A Levels and that our teaching and learning approaches to thinking are developing and bearing fruit.

Ralph Wickenden
Assistant Principal, Curriculum