GCSE results: Closure threat fails to dent motivation at Stephen Lawrence school
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Thursday 22 August 2013
The threat of closure has failed to dent the motivation of pupils at the school where murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence was taught as they achieved record results in their GCSE exams.
Blackheath Bluecoat Church of England school missed out on a move and a facelift when the Coalition Government's axed Labour's school building programme three years ago - and is now scheduled to close next year as a result of spending constraints.
However yesterday 70 per cent of its pupils achieved five A* to C grade passes including maths and English - an 11 percentage point rise on last year's figure.
For good measure, the school - whose former pupils also include footballer Rio Ferdinand - has also been rated "good" in its final inspection by education standards watchdog Ofsted.
"Obviously having to cope with the cancellation (of the building programme) and the announcement of the school closure was very difficult," said David Prescott, its chairman of governors. "But we wanted to keep the pupils motivated to achieve their very best and the result has been breathtaking."
Governors are now hoping they will be able to open a new Church of England school in Greenwich, south London, modelled along the lines of Blackheath Bluecoat in the near future.
At the time of his death, Stephen, an aspiring architect, was studying for his A-levels at the school.
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