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School success

PUBLISHED: 14:20 16 January 2008 | UPDATED: 11:47 06 July 2010

Sometimes statistics only tell half the tale.

For anyone taking a cursory look at this year's GCSE performance tables may think Alderman Peel High, at Wells, is below par.

Sometimes statistics only tell half the tale.

For anyone taking a cursory look at this year's GCSE performance tables may think Alderman Peel High, at Wells, is below par.

On the key measure of the proportion of 16-year-olds getting five or more A*-C grades, including English and maths, it is on 23pc - one of the lowest marks in Norfolk and below the government's 30pc target.

But by the value-added measure - the amount it improves its students between ages 11 and 16 - Alderman Peel is 86th best of England's 3,600 secondary schools.

All of which seems to indicate that the school and its staff are getting the very best out of their students.

Headteacher Jon Platten used a sporting analogy to illustrate the progress made by his pupils.

He said: “Whose achievement was the greater in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday? Was it Chelsea, with their multi-millionaire backers, for despatching Championship strugglers QPR at home?

“Or was it Oldham, the League One outfit, for humbling Premiership high-flyers Everton, away from home?”

He said the true sense of achievement came from looking at the context and starting point of each team. To come 86th in the country for contextual value added was a well-earned “cup shock”.

As indicated by its title, contextual value added also takes into account the social and academic background of the students.

Mr Platten added: “The progress made is a reflection of a huge amount of creativity and sheer hard work by teachers, students and parents alike.”

He said the creativity was seen in various ways, such as staging English, maths and science days for Year 11 pupils to follow varied, fun and exam-focused activities.

He said pupils were given responsibility, with 74pc of year 11 students in roles including peer mentor, games captain and student council representative.

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