Head urges rethink on school plan

A HEADTEACHER whose school has been warned it must rapidly improve today urged ministers to rethink radical proposals which could see it replaced with an academy.

Josh Warwick

A HEADTEACHER whose school has been warned it must rapidly improve today urged ministers to rethink radical proposals which could see it replaced with an academy.

Despite being rated as satisfactory by Ofsted inspectors, Holywells High School has been targeted by education bosses in a national shake-up due to a failure to reach a benchmark in its GCSE results.

The government is demanding that schools ensure at least 30 per cent of students achieve a minimum of five GCSEs between A* and C, including maths and English, but in 2007 Holywells managed 20pc.

Three other Suffolk schools, including Chantry High, have also been told to shape up or face closure.

Today, Holywells acting headteacher, Terry Duffell, said GCSE league tables did not properly reflect his school's improvements in recent years.

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He said: “While we are supportive of the government's desire to drive up standards which is in-keeping with what we are trying to do, we feel the floor target does not take into consideration the context schools are working in.

“We serve a fairly deprived and disadvantaged area. A lot of our pupils have special educational needs and the same applies at Chantry, too

“Schools are not on a level playing field because of their varying intakes. If you are Manchester United you have a better chance of winning the FA Cup than if you are Woodbridge Town.”

Nearly one in five secondary schools in England have been warned by schools secretary Ed Balls to improve their GCSE exam results or face closure.

An extra 70 academies, costing £195m, will spearhead the reform, so that almost one in ten secondary schools will have academy status by September 2010.

Mr Duffell said the proposals relating to the provision of extra resources were what the school had been “crying out for”.

However, he added: “Our concern is that because these floor targets are not being met there's a threat we might be closed down and converted into another system.

“We are a successful school. We are categorised as failing, but that hides our achievements.

“The next few years should be the best in the school's history.”

- Is your child a student at Holywells or Chantry? What do you think of the schools? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk