A Strong Voice for Croydon Central - Gavin Barwell MP
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GCSE results vindicate Council's decision to close low-performing schools
03/09/2011 08:36:00

Today's Croydon Advertiser has a table showing the GCSE results for every state school in the borough (I can't find it online to link to but have listed the figures for the schools in Croydon Central below).

Across Croydon as a whole, the number of pupils achieving 5 A*-C passes including English and Maths is up from 55% last year to 61% this year, an increase well above the national average.

First and foremost, this is testament to the hard work of pupils, teachers and support staff.

But if you look at the school by school results it is also a vindication of the decisions our Conservative Council took a few years ago to close low-performing schools Ashburton, Coulsdon High, Haling Manor and Selsdon High and open new academies in their place.

Take the two examples in my constituency:

- the Oasis Academy Shirley Park replaced Ashburton in September 2009. In August 2009, 26% of Ashburton students got 5 A*-C GCSEs including English and Maths; last year 46% of Oasis pupils achieved this standard and this year 52% did so; and

- the Quest Academy replaced Selsdon High in September 2010. In August 2010, 23% of Selsdon High students got 5 A*-C GCSEs including English and Maths; this year 41% of Quest pupils achieved this standard.

They - and the other new academies in Croydon - are among the most improved schools in the country. And they haven't delivered these improvements by changing their admission criteria - they inherited the pupils who achieved these results from their predecessor schools - but through a change of leadership and ethos.

And not only are these new academies performing much better than the schools that they replaced but their establishment has pushed other schools to raise their game - as the table below shows, schools like Shirley High and Edenham have done much better this year:

Coloma 90% (+2)

Shirley High 71% (+11)

Archbishop Tenison's 68% (-9)

Edenham 53% (+9)

Oasis Academy Shirley Park 52% (+6)

St Mary's 50% (+5)

Quest Academy 41% (+18)

Addington High 36% (-2)

In the light of this successs, it is easy to forget that at the time these changes were very controversial - they were opposed by my predecessor Andrew Pelling and by my Labour opponent Gerry Ryan (who bizarrely called Ashburton a "good community school" when hardly any local parents sent their children there), although they were backed by the Labour Government of the time. So as well as congratulating the students and teachers who are primarily responsible for this success, we should also give a hat-tip to the councillors who pushed through these reforms that have already done so much to improve the life-chances of our young people.

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Readers' Comments

On 07/09/2011 09:30:00 Chris Wilcox wrote:
I have to say as a Labour supporter those results are looking good.

Obviously Labour designed the Academy Model used to turn around failing schools, so this is a pat on the back for us as well. As for Haling Manor (the only one Croydon Labour opposed) the community may have been wrong to oppose the Academy move there (in my eyes). The school was turning around under a new head anyway (John Troake?), so I get the impression they did not want the 'stigma' of Academy status as it was back then. They saw no need to turn it into an Academy. I'm wondering if the extra tools provided by Academy status helped the new head even more. One to ask him no doubt.

I do not know the details of Andrew Pelling's opposition. But I do know he does not believe all schools should become Academies. So this may have been a Haling Manor issue as well, like Croydon Labour's concerns.

So, is Academy status for every school? Apparently you Croydon Tories believe so. I must admit I am not convinced myself, but there you go. If you have a good Local Authority team and set-up why rock the boat by forcing change on them?

But the Academy design is proving very effective. And if the best schools opt in as well (Gove's plan to allow other schools to go Academy) then the stigma of being an Academy should drop as well. Further applications outside of the original Labour Party design.

A definite pat on the back for us Labour-types there. We did come up with a winner it would appear.

On 07/09/2011 18:58:00 Gavin wrote:

Tony Blair and Lord Adonis certainly deserve credit for the academy programme (it was really a development of Ken Baker's City Technology Colleges but they took it forward); Gordon Brown and Ed Balls were less enthusiastic however and locally Labour opposed the Council's decisions in relation to Coulsdon High, Ashburton, Haling Manor and Selsdon High. So it is a pat on the back for some Labour types but not all.

I don't think all schools should be academies by the way; I think all schools should have the option of academy status if they want it.

On 26/09/2011 20:00:00 Omique wrote:
Very pleased with Edenham's results, highest we've ever had in the history of the school, as MY year group worked hard for those results.
On 04/02/2012 10:08:00 Chris Wilcox wrote:
News just in:


That throws a spanner in the works. How much has Academy Status really improved these schools? Seeing as Academies can be more vocational compared to the state schools they replace.

Could this by why those parents and Croydon Labour resisted the change at Haling Manor?

On 29/01/2015 16:04:00 Aisha wrote:
im surprised you omitted Al Khair school from this article. Surely, it has helped Croydon results with 100 percent A star to C for 3 years running now?



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