The race for university places through clearing has begun, as teenagers ripped open their A and AS Level grades across the region this morning.
Mill Hill School in Ripley, posted record results, with 43 per cent of students achieving A* to B grades – of these 21 per cent were A or A* – which is another record.
Head teacher Sarah Graham, said; “I’m particularly pleased with the improving trend in the A* and A grades.
“Now nearly 50 per cent are in the A* to B bracket - that’s a rise of 13 per cent in the last three years.”
Mrs Graham said the improvement can be contributed to good teaching, stricter performance monitoring and “students motivated to do well.”
But the head of the Peasehill school felt youngsters faced tougher tests this year - following an Ofqual assessment published in April, stating that grade inflation is ‘impossible to justify’ because of increasingly easier examinations.
She said: “I think the exams are more rigorous this year. The exam boards are facing a barrage of complaints from all different kinds of areas. I do think they are more challenging now.”
National results show that pupils achieving the top grades has fallen by 0.4 per cent, with 26.6 per cent result issued this in the A to A* bracket.
Overall pass rate at all grades has risen for the 30th successive year, to 98 per cent, but pupils achieving the standard needed for a spot on a university course has fallen by six per cent this year.
At Heanor Gate Science College however, head teacher Rob Howard said all sixth form pupils achieved either their first or a secondary choice university place.
The academy school’s 2012 results showed an improvement in A* and A grades, but Mr Howard said the increased uptake of vocational BTEC courses this year has been a major success.
He said: “What we wanted to do was to broaden our offer in the sixth form.
“Many of our students now do a mixed economy of vocational and academic subjects now - to some a BTEC course will suit their ‘playing style’ a bit better.”
Mr Howard said an increasingly tougher jobs market has lead to an increase in the number of pupils taking a sixth form spot, more than double the 80 pupils in 2008, and to more teens taking vocational courses.
He said: “They realise they are in a competitive world now – gone are the days where you could just walk into a job.”
For more reaction from the pupils themselves, grab a copy of this week’s Ripley and Heanor News, out Thursday, August 23.