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Changes to GCSE results create even greater barriers for deaf children

Sometimes it can be easy to forget that the young people at Mary Hare School are deaf and have to overcome many difficulties to access the curriculum, unlike their hearing peers.  This year’s GCSE results  are low compared to national averages, but the grades are in line with expectations.  100% of grades were A*-G (or 9-1).

Notable successes include Alex Courtney-Guy (2 Grade 7's, a 4, 2B's, a C, a Merit and 2D grades) and Jack Potter (7,6,5, an A, 3 B's a C and a Merit).  Alex Courtney-Guy and Pollyanna Begbie both achieved more than half a grade better across all subjects than expected from baseline measures.

The greater English language demands of the curriculum and assessment following the GCSE reforms, as well as the move to linear assessments and away from coursework, all work to the disadvantage of the school's profound and severely deaf students who typically suffer significant language delays and working memory issues. 

Mary Hare continues to look at ways of overcoming these additional barriers.  One significant move in this area is the increase in curriculum time devoted to English at Key Stage 3, with the aim of better equipping  students for the linguistic challenges they may face when they reach GCSE. 

Peter Gale, Principal said “Mary Hare has been working for the last few years to respond to the extra difficulties that the changes to the exam system present.  We continue to strive to ensure all our students are given the skills and knowledge they need to give them the best opportunities for a fulfilling life once they leave school.  I am very proud of what they have achieved”.

In comparison, the school saw the best A' Level and BTEC results in recent years.  The overall pass reate for grades A*-E was 100% with 60% of A' Level results at grade C or above.  Individual students did particularly well including Callum Medlock who achieved two A*'s and an A in Mathematics, Further Mathematics and Physics.  Eddie Cleere achieved three A grades in English, French and History. 

In the BTEC subjects Alex Ash achieved three D's (distinctions) in Computing; Habiba Bernier a D* in Science and a D in Computing.  Jack Brockhurst achieved a D in his LAMDA Gold Award.  Peter Gale, Principal, praised the students and staff for their hard work and determination to achieve good results.  Mr Gale acknowledged that deafness often has a severe impact on language development making exams all the more challenging.  He added that, as a result of their exam success, the great majority would be able to follow their chosen path for higher education, apprenticeship and employment.