Takeover target?

30th June 2006 at 01:00
Jonathan Johnson is head of one of the schools that Sir Cyril Taylor aims to close and rebrand under the leadership of a high-performing neighbour.

Fifteen per cent of his pupils at Quarrendon upper school in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, got five Cs or better in GCSEs including English and maths last year, although the school is aiming to increase that to 32 per cent this year.

A third of the secondary modern's 775 pupils have special needs.

Mr Johnson said: "People think Buckinghamshire is all leafy suburbs but there are areas of deprivation and we are slap bang in the middle of them.

Pupils have low aspirations which we have to meet head-on."

Mr Johnson, who took over as headteacher in January, said that official statistics paid too little attention to vocational qualifications which engage pupils who would otherwise be at risk of truancy.

He said: "It comes down to schools providing experiences that match pupils' interests. I think it would be wrong to say schools cannot get specialist status based only on their GCSE results.

"Some schools may well perform really well on value-added measures but still get below 25 per cent A*-C grades including English and maths."

Mr Johnson said that the pursuit of specialist status could undermine schools' efforts to meet the needs of all children by encouraging them to focus on one curriculum area to the detriment of others.

"That causes us problems. I firmly believe if there was a specialist status in personalised learning this school would get it."

Mr Johnson backed Sir Cyril's call for more partnerships between high and low performing schools. But he believes it is "too early to say" whether using the Government's new trust status will help or hinder efforts to improve schools like his.

Quarrendon, currently in special measures, is part of a leading-edge partnership with two local secondaries which includes curriculum development activities on Shakespeare and jazz music and joint training for teachers.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now