Need to exorcise excluded pupil

1st December 2000 at 00:00
I WAS interested to read your article "League standings rest on exclusions" (TES, November 17).

Northgate high school is an 11 to 18 comprehensive in Dereham, Norfolk. With two high schools serving one small market town the annual league tables take on a somewhat unhealthy importance.

Having celebrated this year's five A* to C figure of 60 per cent, the champagne bubbles suddenly went flat when we realised that the pupil from the cohort who was expelled in Year 10 would return to haunt us.

When added to the year group number the 60 per cent slithered to 59.46 - recorded as 59 per cent. Somehow the gap seemed much larger than 1 per cent.

But all was not lost. What about the Year 11 pupil who, after putting himself in a position where he could not return to his former school, was directed to u by none other than the chief education officer? Surely, the pupil should not count in our exam statistics? In spite of protestations to the Department for Education and Employment I was told that, because the boy was not technically permanently excluded from his previous school he had to be included in our figures.

Having eventually come to terms with the situation the apparition re-appeared. Since my arrival at the school in 1997 the five A* to C percentage has risen by 15 per cent. Schools with a 16 per cent rise over this period gained a place in England's most-improved schools table.

We are shortly to receive a visit from the Bishop of Norwich. I am hoping his exorcism skills might banish this spectre forever.

JL Smith

Headteacher, Northgate high school

Dereham, Norfolk

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