Sir James Smith's Community School

A comment from the Headteacher

Staff and governors are pleased to extend their congratulations to all our students who have met and in most cases exceeded their challenging personal targets across a range of GCSE subjects.  Staff are especially delighted for those students who have managed to overcome considerable challenges and personal difficulties to achieve success.  Ours is a comprehensive school and the fact that 94% of students left with 5 or more GCSEs shows how students of all abilities can succeed at Sir Jim’s – we want to do our best for all our students.

Many of our subjects did especially well this year. Fifteen out of twenty examination subjects met or exceeded their challenging target with Art, Biology, Chemistry, English Language, Geography, German, History and Physics, and double award Science doing especially well. 

Now that Mr Gove has drawn attention to the importance of the English Baccalaureate (EB) – a collection of traditional academic subjects - success in these subjects matters. Our EB score is likely to see Sir Jim’s in at least the top ten in Cornwall (last year we were 4th out of 31 secondary schools).

Unlike many schools, here at Sir Jim’s we have kept to a fairly traditional, therefore more challenging, curriculum.  We actively encourage our students to continue studying Geography, History, French and German.  We believe these subjects provide the best starting point for further and higher education and we know Sixth Form College colleagues appreciate our efforts.  The following is an extract from an e-mail to our Subject Leader for Modern Foreign Languages (MFL):

“I hope you've had a great summer and are now raring to go. As I told you, I'm teaching A level German at St Austell..... mainly to ex Sir Jims students! You must have done a fantastic job with these youngsters, I've got Jessica, Bethany, Suzannah, Joseph, Kathryn and Elizabeth, + 5 others on my list. So thank you very much for whatever you did with them; MFL numbers would be brilliant if every school had the same effect! Keep up the good work”.

Staff were really pleased with the success of our high fliers. This year about 28% of students managed to achieve at least one A*/A grade and nearly 9% notched up 5 or more A*/A grades – that is a fantastic achievement and just shows how well bright and able students can achieve at Sir Jim’s. 4 students – Joe, Megan, Rosie and Amy - bagged 10 or more A*/A grades with an average A grade overall. Well done to all those high fliers and all the other students who did so well.  And well done to the teachers and support staff whose dedication and great teaching resulted in such good grades.

We were rather disappointed with our score on the governments preferred measure of 5+A*-C grades including English and Mathematics.  Our target was 47%; because just 9 students just missed converting a D to C grade our final percentage comes out at 38% which really does not reflect the excellent performance of most students and most subjects. In a small school, 9 grades or 0.8% of all exam entries can have a devastating impact on the whole school result. But this is just one performance indicator.

Staff and governors would like to wish all our Year 11 students good luck with their Post 16 applications and hope to see them all in education, employment or training and read about their continuing success in two years time when they have completed their A levels or equivalent qualifications.  We look forward to inviting our students back to celebrate their splendid results in November’s Achievement Celebration Evening (ACE).