THE executive headteacher of a Basingstoke secondary school which refused to share its GCSE results last month has now revealed the number of pupils who hit the benchmark.

Betty Elkins explained why Fort Hill Community School declined to provide The Gazette with its overall figures on results day, saying staff were trying to understand why there had been a drop in grades.

As previously reported, only two schools in The Gazette area saw an increase in their GCSE results from last year – The Clere School and Everest Community Academy.

Mrs Elkins said 40 per cent of pupils achieved five GCSEs between A* and C, including English and maths at Fort Hill, which was a three per cent drop from 2014.

A total of 59 per cent achieved five GCSEs between A* and C in any subject.

Mrs Elkins said part of the problem was changes to grade boundaries, particularly with the International GCSE (IGCSE) English language exams, adding: “It explains a little bit why all of the schools had a drop which they weren’t expecting.”

Nationally, the proportion of UK students gaining top grades in the subject, run by Cambridge International Examinations, fell, while entries rose by two-thirds.

Mrs Elkins said: “We were expecting higher results without a doubt. When you start to unpick it, it’s down to the national picture and the changes that were made.”

She added: “They put up the grade boundaries significantly and therefore we have 12 per cent of our students who were within one or two marks of a grade C.”

She said the school, in Kenilworth Road, Winklebury, will be appealing the results, and added: “It’s frustrating and very disappointing in terms of how you prepare for these changes when they are sprung upon you.”

A spokeswoman for Cambridge International Examinations was quoted in the national press saying: “This year we have seen a significant increase in entries for our IGCSE First Language English.

“It is extremely difficult to draw comparisons between cohorts as each is so different from the last and small changes in grade distributions are to be expected.”

Speaking of results day, Mrs Elkins added: “You are managing staff and students who are clearly devastated, it gets quite difficult.”