SECONDARY schools in West Sussex are celebrating after the majority saw improvements in GCSE results achieved by students last summer.
Of the 13 schools in the Herald and Gazette catchment area, nine equalled or bettered performances from 2012, which is rated by the percentage of pupils achieving five GCSEs at grades A* to C, including English and maths.
West Sussex as a whole achieved a percentage of 59.9 per cent compared to the national average of 59 per cent.
Sharing the top spot in the county was The Towers in Upper Beeding, an independent convent private school for girls.
In the same way as last year, all pupils at the school achieved five GCSE grades A* to C including English and maths.
Headmistress Clare Trelfa said: “News that The Towers Convent School shared top position swept through the school like wildfire.
“So how do we do it? The answer is easy to give but incredibly hard to deliver; dedicated, diligent staff and Sisters who, nurture and cajole and maintain the highest standards of behaviour and work, a strong family ethos deeply embedded in Gospel values and an unswerving belief in our pupils. All this is supported by the latest technology and high specification equipment.
“The staff and girls knew the 2013 results were phenomenal and a source of great pride but to move up the tables too is such a bonus.
“By way of celebration we shall be giving the pupils a treat and shall be celebrating at a staff meal later on this half term.
“Success at The Towers is defined initially by happy pupils.
“Our success grows as their self-confidence is boosted and we know we have done a good job if our pupils blossom into responsible, well-rounded and well qualified young citizens ready and able to face the challenges of adulthood in the 21st century.”
Second was Our Lady of Sion School in Worthing, with 97 per cent of pupils achieving the five A* to C grades including English and maths.
The school also improved on its 92 per cent rate last year.
Headmaster Michael Scullion said: “It was very pleasing to note the positive achievements of our students.
“I am grateful for all the hard work of staff, students and parents.
“We strive to create a positive learning environment within the school, which also includes developing a spirit of encouragement for all, so each person can do their very best.”
Other schools that showed large improvements were Shoreham College, where 90 per cent of pupils achieved five GCSEs grade A* to C including English and maths compared to 74 per cent last year, and Steyning Grammar School, up from 60 per cent in 2012 to 73 per cent this year.
Sir Robert Woodard Academy in Lancing had similar success, with 56 per cent of pupils securing the five grades compared to 37 per cent last year.
Smaller improvements were seen at Durrington High School, with 65 per cent compared to 60 per cent last year, Chatsmore High School, who this year had 59 per cent of pupils achieving the five grades, up from 50 per cent in 2012 and The Angmering School in Littlehampton, where 59 per cent of pupils hit the target this year, up two per cent on 2012.
Shaun Allison, deputy headteacher at Durrington, said: “As we continue to strive for excellence in everything we do, we were delighted to see another increase in our results for 2013. This is all down to the hard work and focus of our staff and students.”
No schools in Worthing, Arun and Adur fell below the Government’s new guidelines which state that schools where less than 40 per cent of pupils are achieving five GCSE grades A* to C including English and maths are failing.
Littlehampton Academy has the lowest percentage score in the area at 42 per cent, which is the same as last year.
St Andrew’s High School for Boys came in at 48 per cent, down from 54 per cent last year and Shoreham Academy was 48 per cent, down from 51 per cent last year.