Head asks parents to help improve grades

Sir Robert Woodard Academy's principal Peter Midwinter outside the school
Sir Robert Woodard Academy's principal Peter Midwinter outside the school

A PRINCIPAL has called on parents to help improve grades following a disappointing summer of GCSE results.

The Sir Robert Woodard Academy failed to hit its own targets last year with just 41 per cent of pupils achieving five A* to C grades including English and maths.

Principal Peter Midwinter says students need the support of the whole community to realise their potential and revealed that parents of just six out of ten year-11 children attended parents’ evening last year.

“The support of parents and relatives is crucial if they are to fulfil their potential,” said Mr Midwinter.

“One opportunity of showing support is at their parents’ evenings.

“It’s no surprise with last year’s results dropping that at parents evening, last year’s year 11 had one of the lowest attendance rates ever recorded with only 60 per cent of students being represented.”

This year, the academy has increased its target from 57 per cent to 60 per cent getting five A* to C grades.

“If that is to be achieved, we need the whole community: students, school, parents and the wider community, to support our students so that our results reflect the true talents of Lancing and Sompting,” said Mr Midwinter.

“It’s more than just the building, it’s everybody wanting their children to achieve the best.

“Many parents do exactly that. We have terrific support from so many families who are keen and interested in their children’s successes.

“But we need to appeal to those that are reluctant in driving the required standards of our students.”

The academy has made a number of new appointments this term and is trying to boost grades with steps such as more rigorous, externally-audited self evaluations.

Mr Midwinter said he hoped this would ensure evaluations and action plans were of the highest standard and, more importantly, that ‘effective teaching takes place in all classrooms, ensuring maximum learning’.

He said the drop in grades reflected a ‘nationwide reduction’ in English and maths results, and said those in the middle tier of ability were the worst affected.

The principal pledged to continue identifying ‘off target’ students and intervening to support them.

And it was not just GCSE results giving Mr Midwinter a headache. A sixth former, who wished to remain anonymous, contacted the Herald accusing the principal of placing image above results.

“He has people’s perceptions higher on his priorities list than the future career prospects of the young people he was employed to help,” wrote the student.

But Mr Midwinter denied these claims, insisting that both results and behaviour were top priorities.

“Grades are crucial but so is the parental and community perception. It boils down to perception and behaviour in and around the academy,” he said.

“If a child is in SRWA uniform, they are an ambassador and we expect behaviour to be of the highest order. There’s no point having image but no results. We want them both.”

n What do you think? Email letters@worthingherlad.co.uk or write to us at Cannon House, Chatsworth Road, Worthing, BN11 1NA.