Minister’s praise for top-class South Tyneside schools

SHIFT IN FORTUNES ... Headteacher Brendan Tapping at St Wilfrid's.
SHIFT IN FORTUNES ... Headteacher Brendan Tapping at St Wilfrid's.

TWO South Tyne-side schools have won praise from Westminster after jumping to the top of the class in education performance tables.

St Wilfrid’s RC College in Temple Park Road, South Shields, and Whitburn Church of England Academy in Rackly Way, Whitburn, received letters of praise from Schools Minister David Laws for high standards of achievement in last summer’s GCSEs.

Both ranked in the top 100 secondary schools in the country in differing categories.

The message was delivered to the schools after the release of GCSE performance tables.

Whitburn Church of England Academy was recognised for the good progress its pupils made, from starting at secondary school through to their GCSEs, based on the five best scores in their exams, including English and maths.

St Wilfrid’s RC College has been recognised for the progress made by pupils in disadvantaged circumstances, particularly in English, where 86 per cent of pupils reached the expected grade standard, and maths, where 76 per cent hit their target scores.

St Wilfrid’s, which only came out of special measures in January last year, has completed a remarkable shift in fortunes, notching up the best GCSE results in South Tyneside in terms of five passes at A* to C, putting it among the top four per cent nationwide.

Alan Hardie, Principal of Whitburn Church of England Academy, said: “Education is about so much more than the end product of exam results.

“League tables can only ever give a snapshot of how well a school is performing.

“However, we are pleased that the outstanding success of our pupils, the hard work of our staff and the support of parents and carers has been recognised by the Minister of State for Schools.”

Peter Mitchell, deputy headteacher at St Wilfrid’s RC College, is delighted with the results but pledges it is not “job done” yet.

He said: “It is job doing. We are confident that we can get even better results next year.

“We don’t give any pupils special treatment, it is a case of everyone getting the same opportunity to succeed.

“We say to parents, whatever your child’s ability or background, we will get the best out of them.”