A for effort

Great news for Hull with the GCSEs. OK, there’s a lot of work to do, but I think the way teachers, parents and pupils have risen to the challenge has been fantastic.

My mate Chris is an assistant head at Kingswood. When it was closed down as Perronet Thompson, the percentage of kids getting five good GCSEs was just 6%

Last year, Kingswood got 62%. But under the gold standard of calculating GCSEs (ensure English and Maths are two of those five A-C passes)it plumetted back down to 7% But the teachers have made a real effort to weave the importance of literacy into every single lesson.

For example, in PE, a one word reply from a student is not acceptable. They have to deliver a full sentence. You might not think that would achieve much, but it makes them work and think harder.

It’s having an effect too – this year they’ve gone from 7% to almost 17.5% That’s a big jump in a year, especially when almost half the kids are entitled to free school meals. In fact, when these factors are taken into account with the contextual value added measure, it’s actually in the top 10% of the best schools in the country.

So let’s not run our kids down saying the exams are easier and they’re taking less challenging subjects.

Hull fights with one hand behind its back – unlike other similar cities we don’t have the suburbs to raise our average. Which makes the success of Kingswood all the more remarkable and the achievement of its pupils something we should be very proud of.

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