Schools in Fakenham and Wells celebrate improved performance

Fakenham High School head teacher Matthew Parr-Burman. Picture: Ian Burt

Fakenham High School head teacher Matthew Parr-Burman. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Fakenham Academy and Alderman Peel High Schoool in Wells are celebrating this week after improved ratings for pupils’ performance.

Alderman Peel head Alastair Ogle. Picture: Ian Burt

Alderman Peel head Alastair Ogle. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

As well as being the only sixth form in north Norfolk to have six consecutive years of students going to Oxford or Cambridge, Fakenham Academy has now had external verification that it is in the top rung of sixth forms nationally.

All sixth forms use a benchmarking system called ALPS and Fakenham Academy has been placed in the top 15pc across the country - a leap of 10pc from last year’s ranking.

ALPS measures a range of ways in which schools contribute to every pupil’s development - rather than concentrating purely on results and snap inspections.

Principal Matthew Parr-Burman said: “We have always taken the view that we are a local college serving local students and we don’t just take the most able students, like some sixth forms.

“This new evidence shows that it is possible to be local but yet ambitious and in the top group of colleges nationally. We may serve locally but we think big.”

Mr Parr-Burman said the rating showed how far the school had come since being placed in special measures two years ago.

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“It shows that the work we have done over the past two years since we went into special measures has started to work,” he said.

“We have focused on staff training - ensuring we always aimed to improve the quality of our teaching, staff observing each other and learning from them, rigorous performance management so if the standards were not high enough and could not be maintained we moved people on and we kept the student experience at the forefront of all we do.”

While ALPS does not measure exam performance, recent league tables showed that in the benchmark percentage of pupils achieving 5+ A*-C GCSEs (or equivalent), including English and maths GCSEs, results at the college have increased from 49 to 56pc since 2011.

League tables show that children at Alderman Peel High School, at Wells, have made “significantly above average” progress.

The school has climbed from 38th to 13th in the county in the past three years in terms of the progress made by its pupils.

The percentage achieving 5+ A*-C GCSEs (or equivalent), including English and maths, has climbed steadily from 45 to 51pc since 2011.

And the school’s score for “value added” which is a measure of progress made by pupils across all subjects was 1,009, which is above the national average of 1,000.

Alderman Peel head Alastair Ogle said that the improvement was down to the hard work of all of the staff at the 495-pupil school, the commitment of all of its students and the support of parents, carers and the local community.

“We are very proud that our hard work is recognised externally and with this news our drive to provide an even better education (in the widest sense of the word) for every single child has been re-invigorated.

“Every member of staff is committed to ensuring the children gain the best possible results in all subjects within a caring and supporting environment and we are forecasting even better results for 2015.”

Elsewhere, the number of secondary schools considered to be under-performing has doubled in the wake of the major overhaul of the exams system.

More than 300 schools fell beneath the Government’s target this year after failing to ensure that enough pupils gained five good GCSE grades and made decent progress in the basics, according to an analysis of new league tables.