Kenilworth sixth-formers praise teachers after earning rare top grades

From left: Lucy Taylor, headteacher Hayden Abbott, and James Wilding
From left: Lucy Taylor, headteacher Hayden Abbott, and James Wilding

Two Kenilworth Sixth Form students praised the hard work of their teachers after they earned a rare set of top grades in their GCSEs.

James Wilding and Lucy Taylor, who both attended Kenilworth School, achieved three grade 9s in Maths, English Literature and English Language - which only around 2,000 pupils managed in the whole country. None of the subjects involved any coursework.

The new numbered grade system came in this year for those three subjects only, meaning schools did not have resources such as past papers to help teach pupils taking the new exams.

A grade 9 is considered better than the old A*, but teachers did not know exactly how well pupils needed to do to achieve one.

Lucy said: “Our teachers didn’t know what a 9 grade would be. They pushed us hard so it was more likely we would get them.

“But if the teachers were stressed, they didn’t show it.”

James echoed Lucy’s thoughts. He said: “I think they dealt with it well. They didn’t know what could be a grade 9 or 8.”

Headteacher of Kenilworth School Hayden Abbott also spoke highly of how well James and Lucy got involved with other parts of school life despite having to cope with exams.

He said: “Lucy took part in the school production of Billy Elliot and James played football and sang in the boy’s choir. It gives a bit of balance to school life.”

“From my point of view they both really contributed to the school. I think they coped extremely well.”

Numbered grades are being introduced across all GCSE subjects this year, and Hayden believed James and Lucy’s year had it the toughest because of how new it all was.

He added: “It was not just about what they did on the exam day - it was about how they worked iwth the staff as well. They worked as a team.

“The teachers were learning almost as much as the pupils.”