Penrice Identified as Cornwall’s Top-Performing State School for a Second Successive Year

Newly published school performance data once again highlights Penrice Academy as Cornwall’s top state school for a second successive year for both Progress 8 and Attainment 8 scores.

The Saint Austell based academy also has the highest pass rates at Grade 4 and above in English & Maths at 81%. This compares to the Cornwall average figure of 61%.

Students open results on GCSE Results Day 2023


What is a Progress Score? (Progress 8)
This score shows how much progress pupils at School X made between the end of Primary School and the end of Secondary School, compared to pupils across England. The score is based on how well pupils have performed in up to 8 qualifications, which include English, maths, sciences, computer science, history, geography and languages.

What is an Attainment Score? (Attainment 8)
Schools get a score based on how well pupils have performed (final grades) in up to 8 qualifications (same as previously listed).

Views from the Executive Headteacher

Ms Lucy Gambier
Executive Headteacher

“We are incredibly proud to share that, for the second year in a row, our Year 11s were the top-performing GCSE cohort in Cornwall. Huge congratulations to the students for their extraordinary achievements. We want to thank the whole Penrice community, especially our parents, carers, staff and governors, for the amazing care and support they gave to the Class of 2023.

More important than grades, these fabulous young adults also leave us ready to be exceptional citizens. The Class of 2023’s Summer Prom was a shining example of this with so many heartfelt words of thanks and expressions of gratefulness from students towards our teachers. Our Year 11s certainly left Penrice as proud, respectful and successful individuals; we have every confidence that they will go on to flourish in further education and beyond.”

Removing Barriers to Education in St Austell

The school performance data also demonstrates that both Penrice Academy and Poltair School, both in Saint Austell, are excelling at supporting their disadvantaged students.

Both schools are part of Cornwall Education Learning Trust’s family of schools and achieved positive Progress 8 scores for disadvantaged students. This means that their disadvantaged students are outperforming non-disadvantaged classmates across the country. Penrice and Poltair are two of only four schools in Cornwall to achieve positive Progress 8 scores for disadvantaged pupils.

Miss Gambier said:

“We are particularly delighted that our disadvantaged students made incredible progress, putting them significantly ahead of all students nationally. We are a truly inclusive community, ensuring all our young people access an extraordinary education.”

Parent Feedback

Penrice credits a huge proportion of their success to strong Teacher-Parent-Pupil relationships, with all three parties consistently working in the same direction to help children achieve both in and out of school.

When Penrice announced the news on social media, parents were quick to praise the school with comments including:

Zara-Louise Rogers:

Work hard play hard! Well done Penrice Class23! Proud to be a parent of one of those students, who is – as a result of hard work and a supportive community, very much doing what he wanted and looking towards University…

Samantha Stevens:

That’s brilliant huge congratulations to the Class of 2023. Our oldest was part of the Class of 2023. Penrice made him into the confident hard-working young man he is now. He is doing amazing at college and his grades are brilliant. That’s all down to the time he spent at Penrice. Thank you to all the teachers for all the work you put in for the pupils.

What’s next for Cornwall’s Top-Performing State School?

Penrice has almost completed refurbishment work on the front of their school which includes a new reception and visitor area, new student toilets, a new school library, and a new bespoke cover lesson classroom. Prospective parents were shown details of the plans at the recent Open Evening on Tuesday 3rd October.

Penrice Open Evening 2023

The school’s launch of a new Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP) in 2022 has also been a resounding success, recruiting another full class of students for this academic year. Penrice is the first and only school in Cornwall to join the Department for Education’s flagship Mandarin programme – an intensive curriculum offering in which settings must be rated Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ with strong performance in Modern Foreign Languages to be eligible to deliver.

Penrice Academy’s Mandarin Excellence Programme

Miss Gambier finished by saying:

“The Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP) is a key part of our mission to striving for excellence, offering Penrice students the very best educational opportunities”

Key Metrics

Progress 8 score

Attainment 8 score

% of pupils achieving a grade 5 or above in GCSE English and maths

% of pupils
staying in Education or Employment

% of pupils entering the
English Baccalaureate (EBacc)

Average points score for the
English Baccalaureate (EBacc)


The full data set can be found on the UK government website below:

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