Woodkirk Academy pupils get special treat for fantastic results

Woodkirk Academy pupils were treated to a free lunch by Jonathan White.
Woodkirk Academy pupils were treated to a free lunch by Jonathan White.

Woodkirk Academy gave its pupils a well-deserved treat after receiving fantastic GCSE exam results after controversial government plans were implemented.

It was announced in September last year that after the preliminary November exams the grades achieved would be the grade the school would be given for its performance tables.

Jonathan White, headteacher of Woodkirk, said: “A lot of pupils were entered into the exams in the September for English and maths. They were all psyched up ready to take them.
“Then on September 29, the news came that from then on the first time a pupil took an exam, the grade they received would be what counted on the performance tables.

“Before that, if, for example, a pupil achieved a grade C, then they had until the summer exams to better that grade. It gave them a second chance. If they didn’t do better, they would receive that original C.”

Mr White said the decision was to either look after the pupils or the school.

“We had meetings with governors, staff and parents and the decision was made. We had to look after our pupils.”

A total of 287 pupils were put in for the November exams, which Mr White admitted was a bit of a gamble.

“But we prepared them well.” He said. “They had more English and maths tuition and tuition in the half term holidays.

“A lot of hard work was put in by staff and the attitude of everyone was absolutely fantastic.”

And that hard work paid off as the results, released on January 9, showed.

Eighty-five per cent of those entering their English exam received A* to C.

Mr White said: “It was a big relief and fantastic for the pupils.

“They can now personalise their own education for the June/July exams and try to get their grades even higher, or if they’ve already achieved that high grade, they can concentrate on other subjects.”

In maths, 82 per cent were awarded A* to C.

Mr White said; “In my nine years of being at Woodkirk it was the most difficult decision I’ve had to make. It was a school changing decision. But we’ve been vindicated. Everyone has done really well and their attitude to it all has been brilliant.”

As a reward, Year 11 pupils were treated to an early lunch last Wednesday, which they enjoyed free of charge.

Mr White said; “The rewards will keep on coming as a thank you to them all. If they continue to do well then we’ve agreed to buy them their £20 prom tickets.

“I am really pleased we have done it. The pressure was really on and the staff have worked extra hard.

“But at the end of the day, we had to do what’s best for our pupils.”