Skip to main content

In the danger zone

WITH just 11 per cent of pupils getting five Cs or better at GCSE, Elmhirst school is in the danger zone - and its value-added figure does little to take the pressure off.

But, according to headteacher Eddie Needham, other statistics show that the Barnsley school does make a difference for its pupils.

For example, 100 per cent of teenagers who both started the school in Year 7 and have attended 90 per cent of the time pass five GCSEs; 30 per cent get five Cs or better.

However truancy, more young people with special needs and high pupil mobility - a third of children join from other schools during their secondary career - take their toll on exam results Mr Needham said: "Pupils who are disadvantaged to this level face greater disadvantage as they get older. The difference in attainment between high-performing and low-performing pupils actually widens as they get older."

At his school, he says, simply getting pupils to turn up each day is a major achievement.

Mr Needham said: "Education is not highly valued in this area. Staff don't get cards from parents at Christmas thanking them for doing a wonderful job.

"But we have children here who could achieve much more and staff make huge efforts to raise their rock-bottom expectations."

Work-related learning, a main feature of the Government's 14 to 19 strategy published this week, has made a difference for some pupils.

But courses at Barnsley College and work experience by teenagers are not rewarded in the current league tables.

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you