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Struggling Voyager given 12 months to improve

EDUCATION bosses have set themselves a one-year deadline to boost results at the flagship Voyager school after it posted some of the worst GCSEs in the city.

EDUCATION bosses have set themselves a one-year deadline to boost results at the flagship Voyager school after it posted some of the worst GCSEs in the city.Just one in three pupils at the school, which opened in September, gained five or more passes at A* to C – the benchmark level – and the percentage of those including English and maths among these was just 25 per cent.

But speaking today, cabinet member for education and children services at Peterborough City Council, councillor Stephen Goldspink, said they would have "failed" if they don't turn the situation around by this time next year.

He laid bare a catalogue of problems that the Voyager, in Mounsteven Avenue, Walton, Peterborough, has faced, including:

Taking pupils from Walton Community School and Bretton Woods Community School – two schools which had been highlighted as under-performing.

A bureaucratic management system.

Vandalism.

Related:

Education - GCSEs 2008: Schools failing to close gap.

GCSEs 2008: Results by school.

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He said: "I was disappointed with these results, as I'm sure staff and pupils are.

"Obviously, they have to improve. However, in the last year, the headteacher has had the problem of bringing together two different school populations.

"Bringing together two teams from schools that have been underachieving in the past is bound to be a challenge.

"He also inherited lots of staff who were at the old school and he has also had to deal with the mechanics of running the school under a Private Finance Initiative (PFI).

"It is quite different from having a caretaker who can pop down and fix something.

"The school has to be maintained in the same condition from the day it opened from the life of the PFI.

"There could be normal wear and tear or vandalism. It is not as simple as saying they have a budget and taking the repairs out of it.

"You have to get a quote for a price. It's bureaucratic."

He added that reports of vandalism at the school were also causing concern, as they reflected pupils' attitudes to the school.

He said: "There has to be a partnership between pupils, teachers and parents, and if one of them is not pulling their weight, there will be problems.

"We have tried to support the school as much as we can, but clearly, we need to do some more.

"We will look closely at these results and see if particular groups of pupils need help."

Cllr Goldspink added that they would also be providing headteacher Hugh Howe with management support." Continues on next pageYesterday (August 22), director of children's services at the council John Richards said a local authority review of the school would be undertaken, which assesses the quality of teaching and learning and provides support to the school leadership team to help drive up results.

Mr Howe, too, admitted, that there had been issues of "pupils settling into" the new school.

But he added: "Its important for us to stress that it has been the first year for the school.

"And we have to highlight the fact we have some pupils who have done very well, including 29 pupils who got 10 or more GCSCs at A* to C.

"Also, 36 pupils are going to university, including one who is going to Oxford to read biology.

"We are disappointed with the results, but we will be working hard to improve on that."

Related:

Education - GCSEs 2008: Schools failing to close gap.

GCSEs 2008: Results by school.

 

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