'This is the sort of school I wish I'd gone to'

Steve Davies wishes that he were one of his own pupils.

The deputy head of the Priory technology college says that if he were forced to relive his schooldays, it would be as a pupil at the Lincoln school.

The Priory tops this year's GCSE league tables, with all 240 candidates achieving five A*-C grades. All but 42 pupils achieved an A*-C pass in English and maths, and 220 received at least two A*-C passes in science.

Mr Davies attributes this success in part to staff commitment.

"Overachievement is praised and underachievement addressed," he said.

"Pupils are treated as individuals. We educate each one in the way we think benefits them best. It's all to do with people. People are what makes a school. This is the sort of school I wish I'd gone to."

Pupils receive reports each half-term and teachers often stay after school and during lunchtime to help tackle underachievement. Several departments also conduct residential revision sessions each year.

Seventeen-year-old Emma Graham received seven A* grades in her GCSEs last year. But the Year 12 pupil does not think her results were particularly exceptional. "I'm not outstanding," she said. "My grades were good, but there are lots of people at school who got straight A*s."

The 1,700-pupil school also prides itself on providing a good learning environment. There are gardens throughout the grounds, each with a water feature, sculpture or seating area.

An Ofsted inspection report, published in December, praised teaching at the Priory as outstanding and said that attempts to tackle underachievement were exemplary.

Mr Davies believes that the school's position in the league tables accurately reflects its highly academic ethos.

Emma agreed: "I wasn't always work-conscious," she said. "But everyone here does their work and is quiet in lessons. You get into a routine of working hard and doing your homework. In the end, you just find yourself wanting to do well."

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