What was the point of school?

6th February 2004 at 00:00
Jenna Bodaliker and Tim Goule hated going to their special measures school before the new head arrived. Here they tell their story

How do you explain to your friends what it was like to be at a school that was so bad not even the teachers would turn up?

You dreaded waking up every morning knowing that when you walked out of the front door in the school tie and maroon jumper you were being branded as another failing student at Hillcrest school in Dudley.

What was the point of attending a school where you knew that your potential was never going to be achieved; where your goals and aspirations were so hard to reach?

A typical day at Hillcrest would involve waiting for the teacher to arrive, and then to be told by the supply teacher that yet another teacher would not be turning up to teach our lessons. We had to make do with the supply teacher, a teacher who had no idea what the lesson would contain. This would also cause certain pupils to disrupt the entire class.

When a lesson was disrupted it would be so hard for us to concentrate as we had to listen to the teacher shouting at the individuals. The lesson would be wasted and there was no time for them to teach the subject enthusiastically.

We would never have imagined becoming head boy and head girl until the new head, Mo Brennan, took over. She was willing to give us a chance to excel in all areas of school life.

To begin with there were minor changes, like that to the school uniform and logo. We had a new identity, and we took pride in the way we looked.

We never would have thought Hillcrest could turn into a clean, friendly and exciting place. Having new teachers, new facilities and a reformed Hillcrest was the beginning of a new era.

Coming out of special measures was just the opportunity everyone was waiting for; we had the chance to be like everybody else. The school had no time for troublemakers. It was time for Hillcrest to reach for the stars and show everyone who didn't believe in us that we were made of something and that we really did have all this potential.

Jenna Bodaliker, 17, is now studying at King Edwards school, Stourbridge.

Tim Goule, also 17, is at Halesowen college. Both are studying for AS-levels

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