Two schools have shown that working together can help improve educational performance.
Spirits are high at Churchill Community College and Norham High School after pupils performed exceptionally well in their GCSE exams.
The impressive results, which saw a complete turnaround at Norham High School, have been down to the help the two schools have given each other over the last year, as well as their determined staff and governors plus support from North Tyneside Council.
Last August, Churchill Community College headteacher David Baldwin and his team were tasked with changing the fortunes of Norham High School, in North Shields, after his success at the Wallsend school which saw exam results transformed and the school rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.
And with a 19 per cent increase in the number of young people achieving A* to C GCSE grades, including in English and maths, at Norham High School last month, the hard work is starting to pay off.
Coun Ian Grayson, cabinet member for children, young people and learning, said: “I would like to thank and congratulate David Baldwin, his staff, the governors and the pupils at both schools; the partnership has proved to be a brilliant success.
“We have shown that our approach, of schools working in collaboration with support from the council, can dramatically transform results and improve outcomes for our young people.”
In agreement with pupils, changes at Norham High have included extending the day by an hour for Year 11 pupils, as well as entering students into exams early.
They have also run initiatives that have been successful at Churchill Community College, including GCSE preparation and revision sessions, exam ‘survival kits’ to help pupils relax and unwind, mock interview days to prepare students for the world of work, establishing an after-school STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Maths) club and running a Women in Engineering programme.
Staff from both schools have been sharing their expertise with one another and this has had a huge impact on the educational performance.
Mr Baldwin said: “Working in partnership with the council’s school improvement service and the board of governors at each school, we have been able to bring about significant improvements. I have always been very clear – it’s much easier improving a school when you have the support of another.
“Everyone is determined to make a difference and ensure students get the education they deserve, and we were absolutely delighted last month when 72 per cent of pupils at Churchill and 54 per cent at Norham achieved five or more A*-C grades, including in English and maths.”
“Although we are thrilled with the achievements so far, we are not complacent and we will continue to work hard to raise educational standards and build on our success.”