School on the road to success

STUDENTS and staff at a Felixstowe school are today celebrating a dramatic turnaround in exam results which have made it one of the most improved in the country.

STUDENTS and staff at a Felixstowe school are today celebrating a dramatic turnaround in exam results which have made it one of the most improved in the country.

Three years ago Orwell High was taken to task by school inspectors about its performance.

Headteacher Peter Tomkins - who had just taken over - and his staff put in place a plan of action which has since seen the number of students gaining five or more good GCSEs rise from 37 per cent to 54pc.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families, who today released the National GCSE League Tables, said this had made Orwell High one of the 200 most improved schools in the country.


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Mr Tomkins said the increase in pass rates was equal to more than 30 extra students achieving the pass rate.

'This is fantastic news,” he said.

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“All the staff at the school have worked very hard to ensure that students achieve the highest grades possible and it is great to see that this has been recognised at a national level.

“To be among the top 200 schools out of nearly 4,000 is a real validation of all the hard work of students, staff and parents.”

He said not long after he joined the school Ofsted inspectors had visited and voiced concern about exam results.

An improvements plan was immediately put in place and when the inspectors returned a year later they were pleased at the progress being made and are now back to making their regular three-year visits.

“They recognised that we are heading in the right direction, but obviously we are not there yet and there are still further improvements to be made and we are working hard to achieve those,” said Mr Tomkins.

“I think the key has been that we are now focussing on teaching and learning and making what goes on in the classroom exciting and interesting for students - if they are interested in their work they will do far better.”

John Barker, chairman of governors, said: 'In 2004 we appointed a new headteacher and he, and his leadership team, have turned the results around. The next stage is to make sure this level of improvement continues until all our students achieve the fantastic results they deserve.”

What do you think of Orwell High's success? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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