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High school where pupils were 'rescued from poor curriculum' sees best ever GCSE results

PUBLISHED: 14:02 24 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:35 24 January 2019

Alan Fletcher, principle of King's Lynn Academy, outside the school. The school has recorded its best ever English and maths GCSE results. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Alan Fletcher, principle of King's Lynn Academy, outside the school. The school has recorded its best ever English and maths GCSE results. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Archant

Secondary school performance in Norfolk improved in the last academic year, and many of the county’s multi-academy trusts have celebrated improvements in their results.

The Eastern Multi-Academy Trust, based in King’s Lynn, has welcomed positive results at its secondary schools despite remaining bottom of the table in the multi-academy trust leagues with an average Progress 8 score of -0.42.

King Edward VI Academy improved its Progress 8 score from -0.54 in 2017 to -0.34, while the percentage of pupils achieving grade 5 or higher in English and maths rose from 23pc to 30pc.

While record a Progress score of -0,81, below the national and regional averages, King’s Lynn Academy recorded its best ever English and maths results with 28pc of pupils achieving grade 5 or above in the subjects.

Currently, most pupils at the school study seven subjects at GCSE, which can bring down its Progress 8 score (a measure based progress in eight GCSE subjects).

An Ofsted inspection in October said school leaders “did their best to rescue pupils from a poor-quality curriculum that they inherited in 2017”, with courses with poor teaching and pupil results stopped to “prevent further underachievement”.

Duncan Ramsey, chief executive of the Eastern Multi-Academy Trust, said King’s Lynn Academy’s Progress 8 score “does not capture the strong improvements in a wide range of measures” over the past year.

The Inspiration Trust was the East of England’s top-performing trust with an average Progress 8 score of +0.10 across its five secondary schools.

But there was variance between its schools – the Hewett Academy in Norwich had a Progress score of -0.53, just below the government’s floor standard of -0.5, while Hethersett Academy had a score of +0.32.

Inspiration Trust spokesman James Goffin said: “We are pleased that the latest Department for Education figures show the Inspiration Trust remains the leading schools group operating in Norfolk, which reflects the hard work of our teachers and support staff to help pupils do their very best.

“We are working with other academy groups and council schools on curriculum and teacher development to ensure that as many local schools as possible can say the same in the future.”

A spokesman for Norfolk Academies, which runs schools including Wayland Academy and Attleborough Academy, said there had been a “marked improvement” in its results, particularly for disadvantaged pupils.

The spokesman said: “We are pleased that our academies achieved a marked improvement in their combined Progress 8 score in 2018. This increased by 0.14 from the corresponding 2017 figure of -0.15, and is now in line with the national average, at -0.01.

“For disadvantaged pupils, the improvement in Progress 8 score is even more significant – up by 0.43. This means that disadvantaged pupils within the trust’s academies are closing the attainment gap.

“We are working incredibly hard in all of our academies to build on these results and support even more students to make better than expected progress in 2019.”

Wymondham College received the best results in its history as well as the top Progress 8 score in the county.

Headteacher Dan Browning said: “Our students and staff work extremely hard and the culture of the college is such that we expect outstanding attainment and progress every year. Again, this year our students have achieved the results needed to move to the next stage in their educational careers, including many students going on to study at Oxford and Cambridge.”

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