School sends out bus to make sure students turn up for their GCSEs

  • london
  • May 26, 2023
  • Comments Off on School sends out bus to make sure students turn up for their GCSEs
School sends out bus to make sure students turn up for their GCSEs thumbnail

A school has taken an extreme step to make sure their pupils make their important exams.

Waterside Academy in Hackney, east London, fears vulnerable young people and those with poor attendance may skip their vital GCSEs.

So they decided to make sure they get out of bed by knocking on their doors in the mornings.

Headteacher Francis Bray said: ‘We have had the children in every day at 7.30am studying for their exams and they are here after school every day until 4.30pm.

‘Many of our families cannot afford an expensive private tutor to help students with their GCSEs so we provide it for them for free.

‘Our teachers came in at half term, gave up their weekends. We have left nothing to chance. After all that work, we are not going to accept that some students just won’t turn up.

‘They may not know this yet because they are just 15 or 16 but they are at a critical stage of their life and education. Passing their GCSE means they can take the next step.’

The school has put several strategies in place to give pupils the best chance of passing their exams.

The measures include compulsory daily after school revision, and exam skills sessions over weekends and school holidays.

Year 11 students must arrive at school at 7.30am for mandatory revision sessions, and they stay after school for more revision until 4.30pm every day.

Waterside Academy serves one of the poorest communities in the UK. Some 60% of pupils are classed as disadvantaged and are eligible for free school meals.

The chief executive of the Community Schools Trust which runs the school, Simon Elliott, said: ‘This is a non-negotiable at all our schools.

‘There are some youngsters who can fail their GCSE exams and still succeed but the majority of children do not fall into that category.

‘Staying in full time education is crucial to their future life chance. Our job is to make sure they stay on the right track.’

The Trust is rated as good by Ofsted.

MPs heard earlier this year that children who fail GCSEs often become stuck in a vicious circle of retakes which they are statistically less likely to pass each time.

Other research found pupils whose families used food banks saw children receive lower GCSE grades than expected.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, check our news page.

Get your need-to-know
latest news, feel-good stories, analysis and more