Figures do not always tell the whole story of schools' success
STEVE DOWNES It would be easy to look at the school league tables and conclude that Heartsease High is ripe for the picking as Norfolk's first academy. Performance tables on dcsf.gov.uk
It would be easy to look at the school league tables and conclude that Heartsease High is ripe for the picking as Norfolk's first academy.
After all, the north Norwich school is 175th worst in England for its GCSE results, with only one in five (20pc) of its 16-year-olds getting five A*-C grades including English and maths.
It is also 178th worst for truancy, with students missing 3.7pc of half days.
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The figures are not impressive, and play into the hands of those who have decided to knock it down and replace it with the £20m Open Academy - subject to final government consent.
But figures do not always tell the whole story.
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The 20pc mark is well below the national average of more than 46pc, but is up from 14pc in 2005. And Heartsease High is in the top 20pc of all schools for the amount it improves its pupils between ages 11 and 16.
That means that while the school may not be blessed with as many high flyers as some of its neighbours in leafy suburbia, the staff are doing their bit in helping the youngsters to improve - at a faster rate than many schools that are higher in the league tables.
Headteacher Lindsay Knight was reluctant to discuss the tables, at a time when her school was hogging the headlines because of its apparently imminent and historic switch to academy status.
But she pointed out that 36pc of students had achieved at least a C grade in GCSE maths and 28pc in English.
"This new measure from the government of five good grades including maths and English doesn't really reflect the amount of hard work put in by both staff and students. Particularly in maths, we are having a lot of success," she said.
"And from the point students come into the school to when they leave, we are adding value all the way through."
Ms Knight added that under the old measure of five A*-C grades in any subjects, 40pc had made the mark - an all-time record for Heartsease High.
"We are going to be at 42-45pc next year and are looking at maybe 26pc including English and maths.
"This is an improving school."