First GCSE results at Beccles and Saxmundham Free Schools

Beccles and Saxmundham Free Schools have announced their first set of GCSE results today.

At Beccles Free School, 39% of students achieved 5 GCSEs at A*-C including English and Maths. 29% achieved the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) performance measure, this is A*-C grades in the five core EBacc subjects (English, maths, history or geography, the sciences and a language). In total, 49 Year 11 students sat GCSEs at the school.

Nigel Youngman, Headteacher at Beccles Free School, said: “This group of students joined us as Year 9s when the school first opened and our aim has been to help each young person develop their ambitions and to reach their personal as well as academic goals. Whilst we are disappointed with the overall results, a number of students have received outstanding results and each individual should be congratulated for their hard work and achievement.”

At Saxmundham Free School, 28% of students achieved 5 GCSEs at A*-C including English and Maths. 19% of students achieved the EBacc performance measure. In total 47 Year 11 students sat the first GCSE exams at the school, which opened in 2012 at the same time as Beccles Free School.

David Lees, Headteacher at Saxmundham Free School, said: “The group of Year 9 students who joined us when the school opened in September 2012 faced a lot of individual educational challenges with 45% at the time being below the expected levels in literacy and 55% below the expected levels in numeracy. Over the last three years we have been able to increase the expected attainment levels of these students, who should be congratulated for their hard work.”

Year on year growth of Beccles and Saxmundham Free Schools, which were both rated ‘Good with outstanding features’ by Ofsted in 2014, means that from September 2015 there will be 330 students enrolled at Beccles and 315 enrolled at Saxmundham, with around 100 new Year 7s being welcomed at both schools.

The Seckford Foundation Free Schools Trust is disappointed with the overall statistics and recognises that it hasn’t done as well as it wanted or expected to. However the Trust stresses that both schools have added considerable value to their students’ education since opening in September 2012, and there are some fantastic results for individual students. An external review will begin when term starts in September 2015 so that the Trust can put in place and take all the actions it needs to seek to improve on these results next year.

Dr Robert Cawley, Principal and CEO of The Seckford Foundation Free Schools Trust, commenting on the GCSE results at Beccles and Saxmundham Free Schools, said:

“Each of our schools has a shared sense of ambition and a broad and balanced traditional curriculum. They are underpinned by strong pastoral care and an exceptional breadth of enrichment activity which challenges each student to aspire to personal and academic goals. Our expectations are for each student to make above average progress and achieve to the very highest level in all that they do.”

The Seckford Foundation Free Schools Trust opened Beccles and Saxmundham Free Schools in 2012 and a third Free School in Ixworth in September 2014. Students at Ixworth Free School, which recently celebrated a successful first year, will sit GCSE exams for the first time in 2017.