Success plucked from jaws of closure

JUST two years ago, Kingsdown high school was facing closure under the Government's "three strikes and you're out" stance towards schools with consistently low results. But the Wigan comprehensive is celebrating this week after the proportion of pupils getting at least five Cs at GCSE almost quadrupled from 7 per cent in 2000 to 27 per cent.

Along with 75 other struggling schools across the country, Kingsdown feared for its future when the then Education Secretary David Blunkett vowed to shut any school where less than 15 per cent of pupils got five good GCSEs.

The Government has since softened its stance and believes Kingsdown, whose fortunes were reversed by four "superheads", could provide a model for co-operative schemes.

Using a pound;75,000 government grant, the heads of three successful schools in the area spent part of their week at Kingsdown supporting its new head Ros McMullen.

While she concentrated on the day-to-day running of the school, the three consultant heads focused on backroom management issues such as the budget, results, and curriculum changes. "It has been a massive team effort and we are absolutely delighted," said Ms McMullen this week. "It normally takes at least five years to turn around a failing school, but we have managed it in two.

"We are in an area of enormous social deprivation and when I arrived at the school morale was low and so were aspirations. We've still got a long way to go but today it is a different place."

Amanda Kelly

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