Whatever I – or anyone else – think of the futility of the GCSE system, schools can only work within the parameters they are given. In that context, amid the very real and serious questions about the grade deflation this year's pupils have just suffered, any school that produced its best ever results is to be lauded.
One such school this year is Woolwich Polytechnic in one of the poorer parts of London. Out of a year 7 intake of extraordinary diversity, social problems and dozens of non-English speakers, this once struggling school has created a cohort of boys that has just achieved 74 per cent A* to C across all subjects (up from 67 per cent last year), with 99 per cent achieving five or more A* to C across all subjects. Outstanding. And, from the place they once came from: simply remarkable. Hamish McRae puts GCSEs in a global context for us today.
Why am I picking on Woolwich Poly when there are so many schools out there who have done so well? Well, regular readers may recall that after it started taking 600 copies of i for use in reading and other periods, I went to see them together with i's head of marketing, Ciara. We were bowled over by the combined sense of purpose of staff and pupils. Somehow, these results are no surprise to us. Well done to all pupils and the joint heads, Byron Parker and Tim Plumb.
Of course, if any pupils read i yesterday they will have puzzled over the page 2 image of the relatively well-behaved Charles I we ran with the copy about the noted rogue Charles II. Oops. Sorry. It's back to history lessons for us. A(nother) head will surely roll …Follow @stefanohat