STAFF and pupils at a Black Country secondary are feeling justifiably proud today after emerging as the most improved school in the country in the national GCSE results.
The success of Heath Park Business and Enterprise College in Wolverhampton mirrors a significant improvement in results across the region with Dudley, Walsall and Sandwell also showing great strides forward in their GCSEs.
Heath Park is ranked top of the pile after consecutive improvements over the last three years, based on five or more A*-C grades including English and maths.
It has taken the benchmark figure from just 28 per cent in 2005 to 63 per cent last year.
Principal Doug Selkirk said: “Our students are capable of achieving and our staff have been successful in helping them fulfil their potential. I firmly believe in mantras and ours are to plan thoroughly, teach effectively and monitor rigorously.”
Mr Selkirk, who has been at the school for 30 years and head for more than ten, welcomed the increased emphasis on English and maths, adding: “That is the passport to opening doors for the rest of their lives.”
GCSE results at Dudley improved for the fifth year running, with 61 per cent of pupils now achieving five or more A*-C grades compared to 56.9 per cent the year before.
When English and maths are included, Dudley’s figures rose to 46.9 per cent compared to 43.6 per cent in 2007.
The top performing schools achieving five or more A*-Cs including English and maths include Old Swinford Hospital (89 per cent), The Kingswinford School and Science College (70 per cent), The Summerhill School (69 per cent), Bishop Milner RC (68 per cent) and Windsor High (68 per cent).
Coun Liz Walker, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “I am delighted. This is the fifth year results have increased and standards have improved at borough schools. We are working hard, in partnership with the Black Country Challenge, to ensure that all schools continue to improve. I congratulate all the pupils and staff.”
Students and staff across Walsall are celebrating their best ever GCSE results with a significant improvement of 8.9 per cent among pupils gaining 5 good grades, rising from 50.5 per cent in 2007 to 59.4 per cent now.
Walsall education officials said this makes them the ninth most improved authority in the country.The borough also made significant gains when English and maths are included, with a 5.1 percentage rise to 40.6 per cent.
Leading the improvements are Shelfield Sports and Community College, which became an academy on January 1, with an increase of 26 per cent, Blue Coat CE Performing Arts College (19 per cent), Joseph Leckie Community Technology College (15 per cent), and St Thomas More RC Business and Enterprise College (12 per cent).
Director of Children’s Services, David Brown, said: “We are delighted with the further improvements showing high commitment to making our schools great.”
Sandwell’s improvement has seen it continue to rise among all 150 local authorities, from 142nd in 2004 to 127th, based on pupils achieving at least five GCSEs in any subject. With English and maths included the figure rises from 30.2 to 31.5 per cent.
Cabinet member for children and young people, Coun Ian Jones, said: “Many of our schools have concentrated their efforts on raising attainment in English and maths and schools are continuing to set challenging targets.”
Wolverhampton Girls High, Wolverhampton Grammar, and Queen Mary’s Grammar and Queen Mary’s High School in Walsall all achieved 100 per cent at five or more top grade GCSEs including English and maths, although Pensnett High in Brierley Hill is ranked 14th from bottom an equivalent pass rate of just 11 per cent.
n PUPILS in Staffordshire were celebrating after the number achieving five or more A*-C grades including English and maths rose four per cent to 49.7 per cent – well above the average of 47.6 per cent.
And when English and maths are taken out, the five or more *A-C pass rate in any subject increased by 4.9 per cent to 64.9 per cent, slightly down on the 65.3 per cent figure for the whole of England.
County councillor Peter Beresford, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “I wish to congratulate each and every pupil."
Key: a = % of school's pupils who achieved % GCSEs at A* to C including Maths and English in 2007; b = % of school's pupils who achieved % GCSEs at A* to C including Maths and English in 2008, c = % of school's pupils who achieved % GCSEs at A* to C in any subjects 2007; d = % of school's pupils who achieved % GCSEs at A* to C in any subject in 2008