Family & Education

JFS pupils hail GCSE success

Students overcome challenges posed by grading changes to post record results


The UK's largest Jewish school has posted record GCSE results after battling with the challenges caused by a revamped curriculum and new grading system for English and Maths.

For the first time, English literature and language, as well as maths, were graded between 1 and 9, with 9 representing the highest achievable grade.

How students were assessed also changed, which meant there was uncertainty over which questions would come up.

Emma Sherrard, 16, said: "Both English and maths were really difficult. In maths especially the questions were really unexpected. No one knew what to expect. It was really hard to prepare.

"I'm over the moon with my results. I expected the worst. It really takes the edge off all the worrying. I can enjoy the rest of my summer now."

Ben Shefi said learning resources such as past exam papers had been thin on the ground.

His twin brother Nimrod said: "We didn't have too many resources to learn from as I would have wanted.

"But the actual changes to the grading system didn't actually bother me. As long as I get the results I needed I don't care."

He added that the elimination of coursework this year was "a bit annoying".

Across all grades awarded, 92 per cent were above a C grade - or a 4 for English and Maths. Fifty-two per cent were either an A*, an A, or above a 7. Both figures are a record for the school.

Headteacher Simon Appleman said: "The challenges posed by the new reformed curriculum can't be underestimated.

"There was potential for considerable volatility in these results. Against this background we are deeply proud of all our students' achievements and their hard work, and the hard work of the teachers too.

"Much of the new curriculum has been delivered without clear marking schemes, practice papers or exemplary material from the exam boards. This adds to the pressure teachers face and adds to their workloads.

"I think what I would say is that across the sector there's been considerable unease about the new specifications and this reflects in the uncertainty over this year's results and grades."

Yosef Besso-Cohen, who got six A*s, three As, and two 8 grades, said the changes were "quite confusing".

He said: "Our teachers couldn't really tell us what we would get in terms of questions. We knew mark equivalents but it was still pretty hard.

"But I'm pleased with my results. It's very rewarding, after all the hard work."


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