Barbara praised initiatives at Harrop Fold School in Parliament during a question session with ministers from the Department of Children, Schools and families and the Minister also welcomed the school’s recent achievements.
Harrop Fold School in Walkden is part in the National Challenge for Schools which aims to make sure at least 30% of pupils leave school with 5 GCSEs at grade A*-C including Maths and English. The school has already made some excellent progress since 2004, raising attendance, reducing exclusions and raising GCSE attainment.
The number of pupils gaining 5 GCSEs with grades A*-C in any subject went up to 47% in 2007 and further increases are expected in August.
Barbara drew attention to the innovative methods the school have used to improve their performance.
“Harrop Fold school in my constituency was already tackling the challenges, because attainment in maths on entry was only 24 per cent., compared with 48 per cent. in English, so it knew that it had some work to do. Under the excellent head teacher, Antony Edkins, it has had maths weekends, a weekly power hour and other super-learning days. Can the Minister assure me that the Government will do what they can to encourage and support schools in that situation as they work hard to meet the targets that have been set?"
In response Beverley Hughes, Minister for Children, Young People and Families responded:
“Like my hon. Friend, I welcome the improvements being made at Harrop Fold school, thanks to the hard work of the staff, the pupils and the parents. As she said, the results for those achieving five A* to C grades have improved significantly, from 24 per cent. to 47 per cent. Improvements in English and maths are still needed, but from what I know of the school I am confident that we will see even better results this summer and beyond. Certainly the Greater Manchester challenge will provide the school with the dedicated support that it needs to continue that upward trend.”