St Neots school posts ‘promising’ exam results as Department for Education issues improvement warning

Year 11 students at both Ernulf and Longsands Academies are to be congratulated on their very positi

Year 11 students at both Ernulf and Longsands Academies are to be congratulated on their very positive achievements in the November 2013 examinations in GCSE English (both schools) and Mathematics (Ernulf). (l-r) Ernulf pupils Lucy, Jordan, Katie, Jack, Head Teacher Scott Preston with Longsands Head Teacher Rick Carroll, Michelle, Eleanor, William and Thai, - Credit: Archant

Both St Neots academies are looking at promising GCSE results in the summer after students achieved high scores in their early exams.

Most Year 11 students at Ernulf Academy sat the English International GCSE and maths GCSE in November.

Headteacher Scott Preston said 68 per cent achieved C or better in English – with 10 per cent getting A or A* grades – and 57 per cent got a C or higher in maths, with 11 per cent graded at A or A*.

Mr Preston said: “I am delighted with the results the students achieved in their early entry examinations. The English staff worked really hard with the students to prepare for the exam, and this has paid off, with a very high proportion achieving C grades or better.

“Most pleasing is the proportion of students who have made the ‘expected progress’, from when they started at Ernulf in Year 7. Nationally, about 70 per cent of students make the expected progress. This year, 72 per cent have already made the expected progress, and this is likely to rise, following summer re-sits.

“In English lessons, students are now focused on their English literature examinations, and we are confident of equally impressive results.

“These results really underline the big improvements that are now embedded at Ernulf Academy.”

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About 70 per cent of Year 11 students at Longsands sat the English exam, with 78 per cent achieving a grade C or higher. The school also saw 18.1 per cent get an A or A* – a 6.8 per cent increase since the summer exams.

Rick Carroll, headteacher at Longsands, said: “These results are a testament to the hard work and partnership of parents, staff and students. This set of results demonstrates clearly the impact of the continued improvements at Longsands Academy.”Extra governors could be called in by the Government to serve Ernulf Academy after the school’s performance was deemed “unacceptably low”.

The governing body was sent a pre-warning notice at the beginning of January from Under Secretary of State for Schools Lord Nash.

In it, he said that unless standards improved, the Secretary of State would issue a “warning notice”, entitling him to appoint additional governors to the academy trust.

In 2012, 29 per cent of pupils achieved five or more A* to C grades at GCSE – the Government’s minimum standard is 40 per cent.

Last year, 38 per cent of exam takers reached the required level, with just over half the expected number of pupils making progress in English and maths. An Ofsted inspection in June also highlighted serious weaknesses.

While acknowledging the academy’s plans for turning results around was “fit for purpose”, Lord Nash’s letter said the Secretary of State was satisfied standards would remain low unless he brought in more governors.

Headteacher Scott Preston described the intervention as frustrating but said he was confident results would improve, with the November GCSE results evidence of positive progress.

“The letter relates very specifically to results in 2012. It’s very much looking backwards when we are looking forwards. It does mention 2013 results, which they acknowledge is an improvement but not fast enough. We’ve been saying the same thing.

“It’s a frustration that they have not acknowledged the latest results.”

A Department for Education advisor visited in December and more visits are scheduled for this term and next. “We need to reassure the advisor that everything we are doing is bringing about improvements they are asking for and that it’s successful,” said Mr Preston.

“We have made improvements across the board and are looking forward to sustained improvement going forward.”