A HOST of Southend schools have secured a spot in the top 15per cent of schools in the country following impressive exam results.

Provisional Progress 8 ratings have been published for the 2019 year, with six top Southend school’s being branded as “well above average”.

The data, released by the Department for Education, marks student ability using the Progress 8 and Attainment 8 figures from the latest GCSE results.

Attainment 8 is an average score across eight subjects taken at GCSE.

The Progress 8 figure is reached by measuring the predicted grades of students against their actual Attainment 8 score.

The town’s grammar schools continued to thrive, although other schools appeared to struggle, with two being branded “well below average”.

St Bernard’s High School, in Milton Road, Westcliff, came out on top of Southend schools ranked by their Progress 8 score.

Headteacher Tony Sharpe said: “We are delighted with the results, but it’s a combination of the hard work of students, high-quality teaching and our Catholic ethos that all children are important and we want them to make the most progress as possible.

“We put all these elements together, combined with support from the parents, and it is clear why the results are so high.

“Our results are always high, but it’s brilliant to know these are the best results in the school’s history for these measures.

“We will continue to work hard to support every year group and hopefully the next set of results will be even better.”

St Bernard’s High School was followed by Westcliff High School for Boys, in Kenilworth Gardens, Westcliff High School for Girls, in Kenilworth Gardens, Southend High School for Girls, in Southchurch Boulevard, Southend High School for Boys, in Prittlewell Chase, and St Thomas More High School, in Kenilworth Gardens, Westcliff - all being branded “well above average”.

Paul Hayman, headteacher at Westcliff High School for Girls, said: “We were once again very pleased to be recognised for the tremendous progress that pupils make while at Westcliff High School for Girls and this is a reflection of the hard work both by students and the support they receive from all the staff at school.

“This year’s results were very pleasing with 75per cent of all GCSE graded 7-9 (the old A* and A grades).

“Progress 8 is just one measure; we are equally proud of all the other opportunities we provide for developing our pupils - with a wide range of sport, music, drama and extra curricular societies, plus the tremendous success so many of them achieve through the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.”

Jason Carey, Southend High School for Girls headteacher, added: “We are pleased with the school’s Progress 8 score.

“As a grammar school, Southend High School for Girls aims to achieve the highest grades for our students. These are very bright students; the fact that our progress score is ‘well above average’ reflects the hard work, dedication and tenacity of staff preparing and supporting students ready for their exams.

“The score illustrates that the school is very good at adding value for the brightest students.

“This is a great foundation for me to build upon with staff as the new headteacher of Southend High School for Girls.”

“We have a very ambitious agenda for the school and our students.

“Congratulations to the students on these results, and thank you on behalf of the school to all the teachers and support staff for their superb work with students on this journey.”

Elsewhere in Southend, The Eastwood Academy was rated “above average” while both Belfairs Academy and Southchurch High School were rated as average.

Elsewhere in south Essex, no other schools were rated as “well above average” or “above average”.