- Tower Hamlets
West Girls’ College in Upper Norwood is set to become an academy following poor exam results.
Councillor Tim Pollard, a cabinet member for Children, Families and Learners, told Eastlondonlines he wants the Department for Education (DfE) to change the status of the school “as soon as possible”.
Pollard said: “The results this year were well below the government’s floor for attainment. The target from the government is for at least 40 per cent of the school to achieve five GCSEs grades A*-C including English and Maths and at Westwood only 36 per cent of students attained those results.”
The 36 per cent figure makes the school’s GCSE results 30 per cent lower than Croydon’s average GCSE scores.
In the past five years, under the leadership of head teacher Karen Benton, Westwood College has made attempts to turn around its low attainment. It has seen some improvements but the journey has been ‘bumpy’ according to the council.
Pollard said: “Ultimately my position is that all children in Croydon deserve access to good quality education and the opportunity to gain GCSEs especially in important subjects such as Maths and English.
“This year we were disappointed with the results at the school and so the council wrote a formal letter to the board governors informing them that we want the school to become an academy.
“I think that academies benefit from being part of a chain. It does not matter what group is in charge. Failing schools struggle to attract the best teachers but academies can draft in resources and leaders from other schools.”
The progress of the school has not been helped by long-term illness among senior staff.
Sam Halin, a senior teacher at the school said: “We agree with this proposal, it something that we and the governors have wanted as it is the best way forward for the school.”
There are currently 11 academy secondary schools in Croydon, three of which are run by Harris Academies and two by Oasis.