Pioneering lessons achieve results

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A SECONDARY school that involved its pupils in a pioneering learning scheme in their first year has seen struggling students achieve results 10 times better than the Yorkshire average.

Half the pupils at Skipton’s Upper Wharfedale School who were classed as low achievers finishing primary education went on to achieve Government GCSE targets after participating in the “Learning to Learn” scheme. Those who sat their GCSEs at the school last year were the first given these lessons, which are designed to help pupils make the transition from primary to secondary schools.

The 50 per cent figure compares with a Yorkshire-wide average of five per cent of pupils on low attainment going on to earn five A* to GCSE grades.

The school’s new head teacher Andrew Taylor said that this had been achieved by focusing on ensuring all pupils make the expected progress in key subjects rather than worrying about their grades.

He warned that the Government’s crackdown on the vocational qualifications counting toward GCSE tables would affect the score of the school’s low achievers in future. Education Secretary Michael Gove has asked for hundreds of qualifications to be removed and to stop one vocational qualification being counted as the equivalent of several GCSEs.