Graduate scheme inspiring others

Hundreds of students who '˜graduated' in an innovative school scheme aiming to raise aspirations are inspiring the next generation of learners.
Hats off, students from South Shields School celebrate in style.Hats off, students from South Shields School celebrate in style.
Hats off, students from South Shields School celebrate in style.

Up to 300 students from Years 7-9 at South Shields School met a host of strict criteria last year to graduate with bronze, silver or gold honours.

Successful graduates had to meet attendance figures of at least 95 per cent, make good progress across subjects, successfully complete homework and act in a manner which reflected well on themselves and the school.

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Those who made the grade were treated to a spectacular graduation ceremony to which friends and family were invited, followed by a celebration party.

Headteacher Allie Denholm said: “The scheme has really lifted aspirations throughout the school. I was thrilled with how many of our students graduated and how that has lifted aspirations during the first half-term of the new academic year.

“It is clear to see how much it has also boosted their self-esteem and confidence. The actual ceremony also gave students a taste of further and higher education. Many were nervous about the ceremony but they still came and thoroughly enjoyed the evening.”

Tony Fowles, 15, said: “There was a real buzz about the ceremony and we could see how much parents were enjoying it. The scheme also shows that it is cool to do well.”

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Nuria Pilatos, 14, added: “It was so worthwhile and gave students something valuable to aim for. It was the talk of the school and those who weren’t graduating really felt they were missing out on something good and I am sure they are trying harder this year.”