League tables show Burnley schools improving

Headteacher of Shuttleworth College in Padiham, Bob Wakefield. G070711/2

Headteacher of Shuttleworth College in Padiham, Bob Wakefield. G070711/2

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GCSE marks for pupils at Shuttleworth College, Padiham, are the most improved in East Lancashire.

Pass rates for children achieving five or more A*-C grades, including English and maths, shot up by 17%. In all, 40% of pupils made the grade. The school has the highest number of disadvantaged pupils in the borough.

Building Schools for the Future - BSF 'Designed by Capita

Building Schools for the Future - BSF 'Designed by Capita

Shuttleworth’s impressive performance was predicted by former head Martin Burgess when he retired shortly after his final Year 11 pupils had taken their exams.

His successor, Bob Wakefield, said: “We’ve improved significantly on previous years, and data suggests we will leap again in the summer. We are confident we will be approaching 50%.

“Everything is settling down after the changes, and the students taking exams in summer have been through Shuttleworth from the beginning. The school has a lovely atmosphere and ethos: students work hard and staff have high expectations.

“We are very fortunate in having a new building but success is not just about a building, it is the relationship between staff and pupils. I have worked in old and new, and it’s the teaching and learning that goes in that is the real priority. We have some fantastic students and are heading in the right direction.”

With 41% of pupils getting good marks Hameldon Community College has also improved, up 5% on last year, and it is expected to do even better this summer.

Hameldon was given notice to improve after an Ofsted inspection in June, just after the GCSE exams, but a spot monitoring inspection a fortnight ago reported improved teaching methods are already showing beneficial results.

Unity College’s results were also up by 3%, with a 39% pass rate at A*-C, but there were drops in performance levels at Blessed Trinity RC College, down 4%, and at Sir John Thursby Community College, where headteacher David Burton has taken over from Elaine Dawson, who retired at Christmas. Its 38% pass rate is a 9% drop on 2010, but the decline had been expected.

Mr Burton said: “The performance tables reflect the results published last summer when Ofsted described Sir John Thursby as a good school with good behaviour and outstanding attendance, safety, partnerships, care, guidance and support.

“I am very lucky to be the new headteacher of such a good school and we are determined to help every single child to achieve the very best possible. Ofsted complimented our data tracking as they knew results in 2011 were going to be lower but said Sir John Thursby has good capacity for sustained improvement.

“We are very proud of all of our students and set ambitious targets with them. Our current data tells us the hard work of our fantastic students, staff and parents will lead to a big improvement this summer.”

Despite the 4% dip, Blessed Trinity outperformed other local schools, with a 47% pass rate.

It had the lowest percentage of disadvantaged and the highest percentage of non-disadvantaged pupils in the borough taking the GCSE examinations.

Headteacher Miss Bernadette Bleasdale said: “We have a very tight action plan in place and are all working hard to achieve it. The performance tables are produced months after the results come out in August. What matters is the work that has been in place from the beginning of term in September, and we are very hopeful about this year’s results.”