Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Amazing school improvement!

Congratulations to Perry Beeches secondary school which achieved England's most dramatic improvement in its GCSE results this year!

Last year just 21 per cent of pupils gained five GCSEs, including English and Maths, at grade C or above. It led to the school repeatedly being targeted by the government as one of England's so-called "failing" schools and also a devastating Ofsted report.

This year that figure shot up to 51 per cent. That's an increase of 30 percentage points.

Perry Barr ward councillor Jon Hunt wasn't surprised at the result. As chair of the city's children and education scrutiny committee he's been taking a close interest in the school's progress.

Jon says: "I'd paid several visits to the school and the head Liam Nolan, deputy head and several pupils came to the scrutiny committee and several pupils came to give a presentation on their work in June.

"It was an impressive presentation - and these results now show that everything they said was justified.

"It also highlights the disgraceful way lists of so-called 'failing' schools were issued during the summer term by the Government just as pupils were sitting their exams."

In the press the school has stressed aspects such as hard work and discipline. But the school has pushed pupils hard. Most pupils sat some English GCSEs early last autumn. That meant that many had the crucial English exam under their belts by the time they came to sit more exams this year.

This is all good news for Perry Beeches which has traditionally been seen as one of the least successful local secondary schools.

And it has some other interesting implications.

For in Handsworth families have been complaining for some time they cannot get their children into Perry Beeches. And in July some information was compiled for the Perry Barr constituency committee on school admissions.

This showed that it was easier over the last year to get into Great Barr school (which is a much bigger school) than Perry Beeches if you lived in Handsworth. So people in Handsworth need to start applying to Great Barr rather than Perry Beeches.

For people in Perry Barr and Great Barr this means, that when applying for school places this autumn, they have an equal chance of getting access to Great Barr or Perry Beeches. And both schools now have respectable academic results - so there's going to be many families with a great deal of thinking to do about their school choices.

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