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Suffolk: ‘No short cuts to quality’ says headteacher on GCSE league tables

PUBLISHED: 18:29 23 January 2014 | UPDATED: 18:51 23 January 2014

Stop students celebrate GCSE results with head of year Mr Cann and headteacher Mr Hurst.

Stop students celebrate GCSE results with head of year Mr Cann and headteacher Mr Hurst.

The headteacher at Suffolk’s top performing state school has called for more focus on teaching and less structural reform saying there are “no short cuts to high quality outcomes”.

Phil Hurst, headteacher at Thomas Mills High School in Framlingham, has welcomed Suffolk’s five place year-on-year improvement in the national league tables published yesterday.

But with the county still languishing well below the national average –ranked 137th out of 151 local authorities – he has called for greater focus on the fundamentals of education and less of the restructuring that has happened over recent years.

“Schools are best when they are focused on excellent teaching and learning,” he said. “When there are new schools opening, some closing and a lot of restructuring going on it takes the focus away from what matters, which is the pupils.”

The percentage of pupils in Suffolk achieving five or more GCSEs at A*-C grades now stands at 54.6%, which is 4.6% lower than the national average of 59.2%.

Although that marks an improvement on the 8.5% gap which opened up last year, Mr Hurst fears there is much work still to be done.

“There are no short cuts to high quality outcomes,” he said. “Nothing is more important than all children experiencing excellent teaching with qualified and motivated teachers.

“No restructuring on its own will ever achieve that outcome.”

At Thomas Mills, where Mr Hurst says he “continually makes it clear that teaching, learning and achievement are the priorities” 83% of pupils achieved five or more GCSEs at A*-C grade.

The results showed a 10% improvement on last year’s league tables, placing Thomas Mills at number four overall in the county, the highest ranking state school in Suffolk and well above the national average.

“I’m delighted for the pupils, teachers and the parents for what are an outstanding set of results,” Mr Hurst said.

“I congratulate the hard work of pupils and staff who thoroughly deserve this success.”

A Suffolk war hero who survived eight bomb blasts has told this newspaper a new political party launching nationwide next month aims repair the country’s public services – and give disillusioned voters a voice.

An appeal has been launched to find an Essex man wanted in connection with a failure to appear at court.

A world-renowned female harpist has denied sexually abusing a schoolboy and told a trial that he sexually assaulted her while she was in the shower.

Starstruck pupils at a Suffolk primary school gasped and cheered as The Voice contestants Tania Hambleton and Ryan North treated the excited youngsters to a mini concert.

The mother of a man with Down’s Syndrome who died at the age of just 33 says she believes her son’s death was ‘wholly preventable’, an inquest has heard.

A Suffolk MP has demanded the Government pledge emergency cash to solve an ambulance crisis which whistleblowers claim has killed scores across the region.

The University of Essex is among more than 60 institutions set to strike next month over pensions – however staff at the University of Suffolk are not expected to take part.

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