That was the news on the front page of the Evening Gazette for Thursday 9 November 2006.
Opening with the news that Macmillan Academy has been declared the best state school in England, the article went on to explain that it had topped a new league table based on research formulated by top analysts who compared the performance of 1.2 million pupils in English state schools. This is the first such league table to examine the level of good teaching and management in schools when measured against their social make-up.
Students at Macmillan Academy exceeded expectations in their value-added performance which demonstrates the progress they made between the ages of 11 and 16.
Principal Ken Fraser told the newspaper that he was not surprised that the Academy had topped the poll but that he was delighted. He explained,
“It’s not just about figures and examination performance. It’s about what quality you’re providing as a school, which is where we’re distinctive as our students exceeded expectations. Anything that allows you to get in-depth views on how you are performing is far more important and allows you to deliver the best sort of education. This top ranking has been achieved by setting students aspirational targets and encouraging them to do the highest quality work.”
Addressing the subject of students who come from underprivileged backgrounds, Mr Fraser said, “There are issues that teachers and support staff need to sort out before learning can take place and staff have to deal with these sensitively. It is challenging but really pleasing for the staff who derive an immense amount of satisfaction from achieving such results with the students.”
The Evening Gazette’s editorial concluded, “A good school isn’t just about grades. It’s about help, support and providing a place where pupils can develop and grow. Macmillan’s top of the table performance is a wonderful reward for its hard work.”