Thursday, 21 August 2008


OK, time for some serious stuff. Did a fair bit of running around today, so haven't had time to digest the detail of Bristol's GCSE results yet, but just want to congratulate Ray at the City Academy for breaking the 60% barrier (it was 22% in 2001, before they went for academy status) and Armando at Brunel Academy for a stupendous achievement in his first year running the new school (62% getting 5 good GCSEs, compared to 30% at the old school, Speedwell, in 2007). Armando used to be Ray's deputy at the City Academy, and I suspect may be just a teeny bit pleased that his school has done just that little bit better! Of course there's still plenty of room for improvement, and there needs to be a real focus on increasing the number of pupils with 5 GSCEs including English and Maths (although this was up 11% at Brunel and 2% at the City Academy).

Just for the record, 49% of pupils at the City Academy receive free school meals, (I think the Bristol average is around 17%). It's the local school for children living in Lawrence Hill, which is the 19th most economically deprived ward in England/Wales. 38% of the pupils have English as an additional language, and 68% are from ethnic minority groups. I say this because I'm sick of hearing people rubbish what these schools have achieved by accusing them of operating selection by the backdoor. They don't - and from what I know of the two headteachers involved, they wouldn't want to, even if they could.

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